Leader's Announcements (Agenda item 5)
To receive a verbal update from Councillor Nunn, Leader of the Council.
The Leader provided Members with updates on the following matters:
· Leisure provision – the Leisure Centres based in Dereham and Thetford had already increased participation by another 3½% this year by offering special rates to residents of Breckland.
· The Glutton waste vacuum cleaner was being used to support the Market Town Initiative. Members were reminded that the Council had committed another £250k to that Initiative this year to further help and support their efforts in dealing with what was a national problem of closures in the market towns. The Council needed to focus on smaller bespoke businesses and provide them with as much support as possible such as reduced business rates. He hoped that this would continue.
· Garden Waste collections – there were now 23,500 subscribers to the garden waste scheme and nearly all subscribers were now paying on-line. It was noted that the Council was in discussion with two of its neighbouring authorities on waste services re-procurement, which would help to ensure that best value was maintained. Serco continued to do a sterling job for the District and he hoped that the new contract, whoever it might be awarded to, would provide great value for money for the authority.
· EcoTech/Green Britain Centre, Swaffham – this, in his opinion, was a beautiful building in Swaffham. The Leader reported that the current tenant had given notice to the Council that it would not be renewing its lease of the property. Enquiries from a variety of other businesses were already being received. A report would be brought back to Full Council in due course.
· Thetford ‘Music on the Green’ – the Greater Thetford Development Partnership Board had established this event which was a great initiative. The Leader said that he could remember speaking to the Town Council about this vision many years ago for a café culture in Thetford alongside the river which now seemed to be coming to fruition. Hopefully, Button Island together with all other green spaces as far as Three Bridges would be tidied up leading to further improvement in the profile of the area. This was great news and a great piece of work that was still on-going that would eventually bring the Thetford community together. He congratulated all concerned.
Councillor Wilkin asked the Leader to join him in congratulating the people of Thetford who volunteered their services to litter pick and weed etc. He was well aware that the Council, along with others, took care of general street cleaning but a lot of the towns around the district had their own volunteers to clean and look after the other areas. The Leader agreed. He knew of many volunteers across the District who were prepared to give up their own time to carry out this work and all should be congratulated. It was a great opportunity for people to come together for the good of their village or town.
Councillor Brindle mentioned the ‘Music on the Green’ in Thetford and pointed out to the Leader that the correct name for the Three Bridges was in fact Nunn’s Bridges.
Councillor Crawford also referred to Thetford and was pleased to announce that at one of the town’s access groups a regular litter pick was being organised which would hopefully bring all groups/volunteers under one umbrella.
Councillor Matthews mentioned a member of staff who had recently left the Council. Dr Zandra Waterford had given many years of good service and Councillor Matthews wished to thank her for all the work she had done.
Councillor Robert Richmond mentioned the various community sports projects that encouraged youngsters to get outside and play. He congratulated the Communities Team on the concept of the two grants awarded for such projects.