Venue: Carnegie Rooms, Cage Lane, Thetford, IP24 2EA
To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 25 July 2022.
The minutes of the meeting held on 25 July 2022 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
To receive apologies for absence.
An apology had been received from Councillor Paul Hewett.
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.
Councillor Cowen declared and interest in Agenda Item 11 Breckland Bridge Business Plan report due to being a Director of the Breckland Bridge Board.
Non-Members Wishing to Address the Meeting
To note the names of any non-members who wish to address the meeting.
The Chairman welcomed non-members present to the meeting.
Chairman's Announcements (If Any)
Breckland Community Funding Applications (Standing Item)
To consider the grants put forward (if any).
Councillor Alison Webb, Executive Member for Health and Communities informed Members that a further four approvals had been given for the Bursary Scheme which had been a great initiative.
In addition, there had been a further seven grants approved for Inspiring Communities:
· £5,000 to Ashill Parish Council to install two flat swings and a basket swing.
· £4,735 to Bradenham Cricket Club to help renovate the cricket pavilion.
· £240 to Dereham Deaf Social Club to provide free taster sessions in British Sign Language (BSL) to Morrisons staff, Tesco's staff and to residents of Dereham.
· £5,000 to Eckling Grange Ltd to create a new community room.
· £5,000 to New-U Enterprises Ltd to open a community clothes shop at the Charles Burrell Centre.
· £5,000 to Norfolk Deaf Association to support the running costs of the mobile 'Cuppa Care' project.
· £4,998 to The Horticulture Industry Scheme CIC to complete 15 further garden transformations for vulnerable residents
The next round of grant funding would close on the 9th December and Members were encouraged to ensure any community applications were submitted by this date.
Report of Councillor Jane James, Executive Member for Customer and Corporate Services.
Councillor Jane James, Executive Member for Customer and Corporate Services presented the report that covered the period from April to June 2022. The report had been discussed at the Overview and Scrutiny Commission in July and a further detailed note had been added to include further information regarding customer calls.
Councillor Jermy was pleased to see that 23 fly-tipping incidents had met the threshold for investigation and had reached successful outcomes but asked how many fly-tipping incidents had been reported that had not met the threshold. He also asked what areas of enforcement related to such matters as fixed penalty notices, or court actions and if this could be monitored. He was informed that this information was not yet available but would cover how many incidents had been reported to the council and what action had been taken.
Councillor Birt also asked to see the number of enforcement actions that included warning letters, fixed penalty notices and court actions. He referred to the text alongside the Contact Centre performance that said ‘it is important to remember that residents may request a call back’ and asked for the evidence to support this statement.
Claire Burton, the Organisational Development Performance Manager said that the indicators were being reviewed to ensure that the information provided the best detail for Members.
The Chairman added that he was pleased with the improvements made to the Contact Centre, and as such capacity would be released to look into the data to understand why calls were being abandoned. He stated that this information may not be available until the end of the financial year.
Members noted the contents of the report.
Report of Councillor Phil Cowen, Executive Member for Finance, Revenue & Benefits.
Councillor Phil Cowen, Executive Member for Finance, Revenue and Benefits presented the report that provided information on the forecast full year financial position of the Council as at 30 June 2022.
He added that the CIPFA guidelines regarding treasury reporting had changed and were noted within the report and as such new prudential indicators were included. He highlighted the following key headlines of the report:
· The full year out turn showed an increase above budget within services of £122k rising to £304k when efficiencies were included.
· 61% of efficiencies had been achieved to date.
· An increase in demand within the housing sector had been seen across the district and was also a national feature
· NNDR income was tracking budget forecasts
· The general fund was sitting above the minimum level of £2.8million.
· Initial forecasts show a spend of £11,318k (101%) against the budget.
· The investment interest budget was forecasted below budget income of £39k as detailed within the appendix of the report.
Councillor Jermy noticed unexpected income of a significant number in respect of commercial property and asked if this had been budgeted for. He also asked what was meant by the re-profiling of budgets; and what would the council be doing to find the additional £340k.
Ralph Burton, the Assistant Director for Property & Infrastructure said that lease renewals and planned events were predicted where possible, but where this was not possible, income was taken from the property portfolio.
The S151 Officer informed Members that the re-profiling of the budget allowed Finance to react to the situations that arose and as such resources could be moved into where it was needed most such as temporary accommodation.
Councillor Birt referred to the new prudential indicators and asked to see detail as to exactly what was included, how they were calculated and the implications for each one. Councillor Cowen said that it was a detailed technical question and the information would be provided separately.
Members noted the contents of the report.
Report of Councillor Alison Webb, Executive Member for Health & Communities.
Councillor Alison Webb, Executive Member for Health and Communities presented the report that asked members to progress on the Attleborough Leisure Project to the point of delivery.
The leisure provision would provide an enhanced benefit for local residents and support their health and wellbeing.
James Watkins, the Project Manager added that it was an exciting project that would meet the demands for the expansion of Attleborough.
Councillor Martin said the provision would be ideal for the town centre and Councillor Dale thanked the team for their hard work in bringing the project this far.
That it be agreed to progress the project using the Academy site and use the initial plans to produce detailed designs, instruct the necessary surveys to work through pre-planning, planning submission, procurement of the main contractor and reach the point of delivery.
To agree to front fund at risk the S106 £1,640,680.
To approve the capital budget of £2,612,900 and the associated funding as detailed in the Proforma B.
To release £650,000 from the Inclusive Growth Reserve for the Attleborough Leisure Centre and seek contributions from interested parties to cover the residual funding requirement.
To release £200,000 from the Inclusive Growth Reserve for district sports provisions and delegate authority to the executive member for health and communities and the assistant director for contracts and operations to allocate these resources to designated projects.
Reasons for Recommendation:
To enable the deliverability of the project and provide an improved and enhanced leisure provision to meet the community’s needs. This does take into account the current and future population of the town.
To provide a leisure offer which will be non-subsidised in a mature year (year 5) as a minimum.
Breckland holds a strong working relationship with Academy, which enables the project team to work at pace to deliver this project.
Delivering this project now would mitigate to a certain level against the increase in project costs caused by inflation; any delay is predicted to increase project costs.
Health and well-being have been at the forefront of community support since COVID. This new leisure provision would increase residents’ available facilities to improve their health and well-being.
The location of this site would enable Attleborough to integrate the leisure and the high street to deliver “Leisure on the high street”.
The release of £200,000 for district-wide sports provisions could enable the 3G football pitch element of the project to progress along with other district sports provision projects currently in development.
1) That the project be progressed using the Academy site and use the initial plans to produce detailed designs, instruct the necessary surveys to work through pre-planning, planning submission, procurement of the main contractor and reach the point of delivery.
2) To front fund at risk the S106 £1,640,680 be approved.
CABINET RECOMMEND to FULL COUNCIL:
3) To agree to the progression of the Attleborough Leisure Project as outlined above.
4) To approve the capital budget of £2,612,900 and the associated funding ... view the full minutes text for item 82/22
Report of Councillor Paul Hewett, Executive Member for Property, Projects & Procurement.
As the Executive Member for Property, Projects and Procurement had sent his apologies, the Leader read a statement on his behalf:
“Through the Breckland Bridge partnership the Council continued to deliver and create benefits for the residents, directly and indirectly, through advice, inputs, support, and the opportunity for much needed homes. The approval of the Business Plan would support the partnership to continue its value-added work, enabling residents to thrive.
That said, undertaking construction activity was not part of the Council’s core business, and property development activities were not without risk and not always universally popular either. The risks that were faced must be balanced, especially in difficult market conditions, with the opportunities that Breckland Bridge provided. As an innovative, entrepreneurial Council, the benefits for the residents were recognised through this joint venture, and three areas of the Business Plan were highlighted:
1. The ambition of the Business Plan. In working as a Council to get the best returns for residents from our land assets, the ambition of the Business Plan was to deliver just that. There was a clear commercial focus in Breckland Bridge’s vision as previously approved by Members to ensure that every land and property asset under control of the Council worked hard for the benefit of every resident. The Business Plan, along with the ambitions for all other property related activities of the council, retained the focus as a priority aim.
However, it was recognised that the property and land that the Council owned could also help local communities meet other objectives, and the Council continued with the desire to be flexible in the partnership on how, where, and which sites within the Council’s ownership was brought forward for review and possible development. All members of this council were urged to engage locally on sites as they came forward to enable a response to the variety of views within the communities represented and helped to shape the decisions that were made as a result.
2. Secondly, the outputs that the joint venture produces. The Business Plan focussed on the available property assets for residential housing delivery. Whilst the Council was not a large housebuilder in the local area, being a partner with Breckland Bridge means that the Council could lead in the district on good design and sustainability standards in our schemes – something that members, and communities, continued to demand. Through actively participating within the market, meant the Council also directly experienced the challenges that other developers in Breckland faced. As a result, gave a deeper appreciation and understanding in our wider remit, as well as an increase in the influence through innovative sharing and partnership arrangements with landowners, developers and communities.
3. Thirdly, driving environmental change. The Business Plan highlighted those areas where Breckland Bridge recognised the impact that construction and development had both on the environment and on the business itself. Over the last year Breckland Bridge had developed a new Environmental Policy which was included as part of the Business Plan. The ... view the full minutes text for item 83/22
Report by Sarah Suggitt, Executive Member for Strategic & Operational Planning.
Councillor Sarah Suggitt, Executive Member for Strategic and Operational Planning presented the report that sought approval for an additional public consultation period for the Partial Update of the Local Plan; to revise the Local Development Scheme and delegated authority for agreement to any changes to the consultation documents following the current consultation period.
It was explained that the Council had received a single correspondence that highlighted that Regulation 18 should have been carried out before Regulation 19, and therefore it was requested that the correspondence received should be moved to regulation 18, and that a new Regulation 19 consultation should be carried out. The impact of this would not be detrimental to the timetable.
Councillor Birt was disappointed to be in this position and asked why there had not been a member briefing on this matter.
Simon Wood, Director of Planning and Building Control said that this was a mitigation of risk response and that should an Inspector seek to request to view the Regulation 18 consultation through the inspection and it was not available, it could not then be remedied.
The Chairman reaffirmed that it was to mitigate the risk and the position timeline would slip. He added that there would not be a briefing to all members
1) Do nothing: If the Council does not address this issue, then it runs the risk of the Plan being deemed to not be legally compliant with the Local Plan Regulations. The Inspector would not be able to address any flaws in process and therefore the plan would not be recommended for adoption. This would result in relevant policies within the existing local plan being reduced in weight as part of the decision-making process.
2) Accept the recommendations: This will enable the Council to ensure it complies with the Local Plan process and reduce the risk of the plan not being recommended for adoption by an Inspector and the subsequent risk to decision making.
Reasons for Recommendation(s)
ThePreparation ofa LocalPlan isa statutoryrequirement and must follow a statutory procedure, including public consultation and examination. Although this additional consultation period slightly extends the timescale for the preparation of the Partial Update of the Plan it is considered to be the best approach as it would significantly reduce the risk of failure at Examination.
It was not possible to place this matter on the Key Decision Register given the timetable for the Partial Review and the risks detailed above if that timetable was materially changed. Officers are responding to feedback received and therefore need a Cabinet decision urgently so as not to impact on the timetable.
Delegate to the Deputy Chief Executive in agreement with the Portfolio Holder:
i) to make any changes to the proposed wording of the Partial Review consultation that may be considered necessary following the end of the current consultation and having regard to any representations received;
ii) to approve and publish an updated Local Development Scheme;
iii) to agree to publish ... view the full minutes text for item 84/22
Report of The Leader Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen and Chief Executive Maxine O’Mahony.
The Leader of the Council said that the Corporate Peer Challenge involved a group of Senior Officers, as well as political Leaders who had visited Breckland Council to recognise what it did well, but to also consider what it could do differently. The report from the Local Government Association (LGA) had been received and included actions which the Chief Executive would work through and plan ahead ready for the 6-month review. The action plan would be a live document and Members would continue to be fully briefed on the progress.
The Deputy Leader said that it had been the best peer review that he had seen.
Councillor Jermy had been grateful for the briefing and was interested in recommendation 4 that would look to mobilise all Members to deliver the Council Priorities. He felt that whilst staff had the #Teambreckland approach, Members were not as engaged and asked how the Cabinet would take members along the journey. He also mentioned the fact that contractors delivered the lions share of the Councils services and asked how this would be monitored.
The Leader said he had been challenged on the contract monitoring and delivery and what it would mean if these services were delivered as part of business as usual and in particular how they all fed into one another.
Members noted the contents of the report.
To note that the date of the next meeting of Cabinet will be held on Monday 21 November at 9.30am at Swaffham Town Hall, 4 London Street, Swaffham, PE37 7DQ.
There will be an opportunity for the public to ask questions of the Cabinet from 9.30am, the main meeting will follow at 10.00am.
The arrangements for the next meeting of Cabinet scheduled on 21 November at 10.00am at Swaffham Town Hall, 4 London Street, Swaffham, PE37 7DQ were noted.
There would be an opportunity for members of the public to ask questions of Cabinet from 9.30am, and the main meeting would follow at 10.00am.