Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Breckland Conference Centre, Anglia Room, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham, NR19 1EE


No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 185 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 13 March 2023.


The minutes of the meeting held on 13 March 2023 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.



To receive apologies for absence. 


Apologies were received from Councillor Paul Hewett and the Chief Executive, Maxine O’Mahony.


Urgent Business

To note whether the Chairman proposes to accept any item as urgent business, pursuant to Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.




Declaration of Interests

The duties to register, disclose and not to participate for the entire consideration of the matter, in respect of any matter in which a Member has a disclosable pecuniary interest are set out in Chapter 7 of the Localism Act 2011.  Members are also required to withdraw from the meeting room as stated in the Standing Orders of this Council.



None declared.


Non-Members Wishing to Address the Meeting

To note the names of any non-members who wish to address the meeting.


The Chairman welcomed all non-members to the meeting.


Chairman's Announcements (If Any)


The Chairman announced that as well as all the excellent work undertaken by Members and Officer to support Breckland Council’s communities under the Inspiring Communities programme, he highlighted the ongoing success of the Breckland Care campaigns that were now entering its third year.  These campaigns had been instrumental in raising awareness and shaping the Council.


At the Full Council meeting in February 2023, the significance of LGBT + History month and the importance of shedding light on the challenges faced by the LGBT+ community such as the struggle for equal rights and full inclusion had been highlighted.  The Chairman was pleased to announce that this Council continued to prioritise raising awareness on these matters and he was immensely proud that this Council had fostered open conversations about difficult subjects.


Traditionally, the month of June marked Pride month, an annual celebration of diversity and acceptance and he was delighted to share the Pride Working Group, led by Councillor Hewett as the sponsor, who had put together a comprehensive programme of activities to emphasise the significance of this important topic.


On the 1 June, staff would be raising the Pride Flag at Elizabeth House at 11am and all Members were invited to join this symbolic event. 


The Chairman hoped that this Pride month would be a resounding success and would continue to promote a culture of acceptance and respect throughout the year and in the years to come.



Breckland Community Funding Applications (Standing Item)

To consider the grants put forward (if any). 


Councillor Ashby, the Executive Member for Health & Communities was pleased to inform Members that all funds had been allocated for the financial year 2022/23 and the new round of funding would commence shortly (date to be confirmed).


Finance and Performance Report 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 354 KB

Report of Councillor Phillip Cowen, Executive Member for Finance, Revenues and Benefits and Councillor Alison Webb, Executive Member for Customer and Corporate Services.


Additional documents:


Councillor Phil Cowen, Executive Member for Finance Revenues and Benefits presented the report that provided information on the actual full year financial position of the Council as of 31 March 2023.  The performance data for the same period would be presented by Councillor Alison Webb, the Executive Member for Customer & Corporate Services.


It had been anticipated that at the end of Q3, this Council would have to draw down a contribution of just over half a million from the general fund to balance the accounts. This figure had been set against escalating housing costs and significant inflationary pressures. However, it could be seen at appendix C of the report, that the budget deficit had fallen to £196,000, a reduction of £346,000 despite the health and housing costs having risen within the same period. Furthermore, this council had invested in its emergency housing provision in Thetford and Dereham resulting in the removal of between £250-300,000 of costs that would otherwise been added to the bottom-line figure. This Council’s commitment in providing best value for money showed that the prudent fiscal policies that this authority employed served the residents of Breckland well.


The work of the finance team was commended.  All had worked diligently to deliver a very positive end of year finance report of which Members should be proud.


Councillor Webb then provided Members with a detailed overview of the Council’s Performance for the period 1st January 2023 to 31st March 2023 (Q4).  The report highlighted some of the great work that this Council was currently doing but also highlighted some areas that it wanted to improve on in the next few months.


There had been a slight format change to the report in terms of information relating to finance and performance were now included within the one report (see Appendix D).


The demand on the Council’s Housing Team continued to be high, and the number of disabled facilities grants completed within 140 days was low. As previously discussed, these numbers should improve in this new financial year once the funding had been made available.


There had been some improvement to the Freedom of Information requests and complaint response times; however, whilst these remained lower than where this Council wanted them to be, it was positive to see these moving in the right direction.


Councillor Clarke referred to section 4.2 of the report in particular the disabled facilities applications and asked Councillor Webb if further options were being investigated in terms of resource and demand.  He also asked about timescales and if there would have to be any re-configurations made to the budget.


Members were informed that all work had been put on hold until the new funding was received. The contractors responsible for these adaptations were not able to carry out the work immediately, it all took time and additional funding was being sought so more contractors could be employed.


Councillor Cowen explained that the budget for disabled facilities grant was not in direct control of this Council  ...  view the full minutes text for item 54/23


Infrastructure Levy Consultation pdf icon PDF 223 KB

Report of Councillor Sarah Suggitt, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Strategic & Operational Planning.


Councillor Sarah Suggitt, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Strategic & Operational Planning presented the report that asked Members to agree the contents and approach for Breckland Council’s response to the national consultation on a potential new ‘Infrastructure Levy’.


As part of the Planning Reform agenda, the Government was proposing to introduce through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill an ‘Infrastructure Levy’.  Whilst the Bill was going through Parliament, it had entered into a consultation exercise on the technical aspects of the proposed scheme that would run until 9 June 2023.


The Infrastructure Levy had been designed to replace the current system of developer obligations required to mitigate the impact of the development.  The current systems were either through the payment of a community infrastructure levy or the provision of a S106 Agreement, generally this was agreed through the local authority, the applicant or the developer.  The current procedure used at Breckland Council was the S106 Agreement process.    The Infrastructure Levy had been designed and would be a locally-set, mandatory charge levied on the final gross development value of completed development.  It had been designed to replace the Section 106 for the purposes of securing affordable housing and introduce a new ‘right to acquire’, where local authorities would have to determine what proportion of the Levy due would be for the delivery of on-site affordable housing.


The proposals state that the Government remained committed to securing at least as much affordable housing as currently provided.  Under the proposals, developers would still be responsible directly funding internal infrastructure and the infrastructure levy would be designed to provide strategic infrastructure.


S106 Agreements would be retained for the delivery of items that could not be conditioned or for more complex sites.


It was being proposed that the Infrastructure Levy be accompanied by an Infrastructure Delivery Strategy both the payment levels and the Strategy were proposed to be subject to consultation and independent examination.


The report sets out the broad themes and consultation document and proposes that the final consultation responses be agreed between Councillor Suggitt, the Executive Member for Strategic & Operational Development and the Deputy Chief Executive. 


The consultation document had been sent to all Members for comment by close of play on 5 June 2023.


Councillor Crane, the Executive Member for Waste, Environmental Health, Licensing & Sustainability asked if this was mandatory or could Breckland Council opt out.


Members were informed that this was not a matter of choice, this was a proposal from Government through the Levelling Up paper, and what this consultation was trying to establish was what this could look like, and it would not come into force until 2030.


Councillor Clarke referred to section 1.11 of the report as he had noticed that the infrastructure might not be provided ahead of the development being occupied but authorities would have the option to borrow against future Levy receipts to forward fund the required infrastructure and asked what this would mean.


Councillor Suggitt stated that it was very important that this authority  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55/23


Snetterton Power Programme pdf icon PDF 235 KB

Report of Councillor Paul Claussen, Executive Member for Economic Development and Growth.

Additional documents:


Councillor Paul Claussen, Executive Member for Growth & Economic Development asked Members to agree an approach and mechanism for allocating power reserved by the Council to support growth at Snetterton.


A new primary substation (PSS) at Snetterton had been completed. Delivery had been led by Breckland Council utilising grant funding from New Anglia LEP, Norfolk Business Rates Pool (BRP) and Council resources. It formed the main component of a power and distribution scheme intended to help enable significant new commercial development within one of the most high-potential growth sites in Norfolk. This was a primary piece of infrastructure capable of supporting up to 36MVA of power.


As part of the delivery of the PSS the Council reserved 6MVA of power capacity from UKPN to safeguard its application for activity which supported the objectives of the project. As a result, none of this first tranche of power would be released to any user without the Council’s express permission. With the power imminently becoming available, the Council needed to adopt a formal position for identifying the basis for approving requests to draw down power, following which, access to further power would be through the standard mechanisms operated by UK Power Networks (UKPN).


Councillor Suggitt thanked Councillor Claussen and his Team for their hard work and perseverance in getting power to Snetterton.  She felt that everyone should be very proud of this great achievement and looked forward to seeing the difference this was going to make to the district.  


Councillor Cowen echoed the above sentiments.  Snetterton sat in the tech corridor b between Norwich and Cambridge and could only be good news in terms of infrastructure and growth and was absolutely key in terms of business rates retention, green energy production and employment opportunities and would Breckland Council on the map.


The Chairman asked Andrew Holdsworth, the Assistant Director for Economy & Growth and Stephen Scowen, the Strategic Growth Manager if they had any further updates to share.


The Assistant Director for Economy & Growth stated that there was a strong commercial demand in this area and potential for some significant expansion to existing businesses as well as some enquiries from new investments.


Councillor Claussen pointed out that this work had been delivered on budget and on time and felt that the Officers concerned deserved a great deal of thanks.


Reasons for Recommendation


To manage the process to best link to Council priorities and policies, whilst ensuring an equitable process is followed.


The growth outcomes (particularly around the creation of higher value employment opportunities, GVA and timescale for development occurring) referred to within the original application for grant finance, and subsequently reflected within the grant funding agreement, are adhered to as closely as possible.




1)    Agree recommendation.

2)    Vary the approach, to favour a different balance or configuration of options (not recommended, on the basis the proposed recommendation is considered optimal for supporting the Council’s priorities whilst materially accelerating development).

3)    Do nothing (not recommended, as the Council would have no functional way of reallocating  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56/23


Anglia Revenues and Benefits Partnership pdf icon PDF 167 KB

To note the minutes of the meeting of the Anglia Revenues and Benefits Joint Committee held on 7 March 2023.


The minutes of the Anglia Revenues and Benefits Joint Committee held on 7 March 2023 were noted.


Next Meeting

To note that the date of the next meeting of Cabinet will be held on 3 July 2023 in the Anglia Room, Conference Centre, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham, NR19 1EE.


The arrangements for the next meeting on 3 July at 9.30am in the Anglia Room, Conference Suite of Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham, NR19 1EE were noted.