Agenda item

Questions without Notice under Standing Order No 7 (Agenda item 8)


Councillor Dimoglou asked the Leader why private & confidential meetings were not minuted.  He also mentioned the abbreviated Planning Minutes that he felt lacked transparency.   The Leader advised that the Council did not have a secrecy policy and debated everything in the public arena except for matters that contained personal and commercially sensitive information.  Executive Members met every two weeks in an informal capacity and, due to it being informal, these were not minuted as they were briefings rather than decision-making meetings.  The Leader pointed out that the Garden Town proposal, debated earlier in the meeting, had always been completely open and transparent from when he had first been contracted by Lanpro.  Meetings had then been held with all concerned and therefore he strongly refuted any accusation that everything was dealt with in private and behind closed doors.


Councillor Brindle asked the Leader if he agreed that the Council should support the retention of specialist children’s centres as he felt that it was vital that these centres be retained.  In response, the Leader advised that he had been witness to the on-going Labour Group campaigns and in support, he would respond to Norfolk County Council accordingly.  He had also sent a website link to all Members to make Norfolk County Council aware of the strength of feeling in Breckland.


Councillor Wilkin responded to the retort made about the Planning Minutes. He explained that all Minutes were taken by the Democratic Services Team and the public often attended these meetings.  He felt that there was no need to set out the Minutes in chapter and verse as the decision was the most important.


Councillor Wassell asked the Leader to confirm that nothing had changed in terms of the Briefings since his time as Leader of the Council, and at the time Councillor Dimoglou was a Cabinet Member.  The Leader said that this was his recollection.


Referring to all the children’s centres in the news, Councillor Clarke asked the Leader if he would encourage District Councillors and Norfolk County Councillors to pay a visit to these centres in their Ward.  The Leader added that he would encourage all Councillors to engage with their communities; this was the very reason that Members were elected.


Councillor Borrett directed his question to the Leader and asked if he supported Norwich City Council’s decision to spend millions on properties outside of the County.  The Leader emphasised that he did support their views.  All local authorities were challenged by such matters but all had to invest wisely for their communities.  He had been heartened that Norwich City was actually following Breckland’s lead in working with the Anglia Revenues Partnership.


Councillor Jermy asked Councillor Cowen, the Executive Member for Finance & Delivery if he would pass on some of Breckland’s advice to Elizabeth Truss MP.  In response, the Executive Member for Finance & Delivery informed Members that Breckland managed its finances very well indeed and although he had met with the said MP on the odd occasion he would not be asking how she reported her facts and figures.