Agenda and minutes

Venue: Norfolk Room, The Committee Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham

Items
No. Item

128.

Minutes (Agenda item 1) pdf icon PDF 140 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday, 9 September 2008.

Minutes:

a)           Medium Term Financial Strategy (Minute No. 115/08)

 

Following a comment from the Lead of the Opposition, it was agreed that the fourth paragraph, last sentence, should read: “communities should be aware that the District council tax could double”.

 

b)           Adoption

 

Subject to the above correction and subject to an amendment to include an apology for absence from Mrs T Hewett, the Minutes of the meeting held on 22 July 2008 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

129.

Apologies (Agenda item 2)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Lady K Fisher and Tim Leader, the Deputy Chief Executive.

130.

Declaration of Interest (Agenda item 4)

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests they may have in any of the following items on the agenda. The Members’ Code of Conduct requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is a personal or prejudicial interest.

Minutes:

The following declarations of interest were made:

 

  • Messrs. W Smith and P Claussen – declared personal interests in Agenda item 18 – Anglia Revenues and Benefits Partnership - the nature of which related to their positions on the Partnership Board.

 

  • Messrs W Smith, S Askew, W Nunn and B Borrett and Mesdames T Hewett and A Steward wished for it to be noted that personal interests would be declared if site specifics were discussed under Agenda item 13.

131.

Non-Members Wishing to Address the Meeting (Agenda item 5)

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

Minutes:

Messrs. G Bambridge, M Kiddle-Morris, R Goreham, D Myers, P Duigan, B Borrett and Mesdames L Turner, M Chapman-Allen and D Irving.

132.

Chairman's Announcements (Agenda item 6)

Minutes:

·              Council Investments

 

The Chairman made a statement on the status of Breckland Council’s financial position, with particular regard to its investments held with the Icelandic banks.

 

Breckland Council currently had some £70m of investments, which included commercial property and cash invested with banks and financial institutions.  This level of investment had been held to support the Council’s revenue and capital programme.  All investments had been managed in accordance with the Council’s Treasury Management Policy, which mandated high credit rating investment criteria.

 

Investments of this kind were held by most local authorities.  For Breckland Council, the cash investments had generated some £10.8m of interest over the past five years and it was anticipated that it would generate some £1.8m in the current year.  This income had been used to invest in Breckland’s communities, such as the match funding request that would be considered at this meeting, to support a much needed village hall project.  Equally, investment income was used to hold down levels of council tax and to improve the Council’s services.

 

£12m of the Council’s investments was with three Icelandic banks that had been taken into receivership by the Icelandic Government and the accounts had been frozen.

 

This £12m comprised six separate fixed-term transactions which were due to be repaid at specified dates in the future.  These investments had been lodged on a one to three year investment in 2006 and 2007, at which time the rating for these banks had been ‘A’, in a rating system that ranged from ‘AAA’ down to ‘F’.  It was important to note that, under the contractual terms of the investments, their early repayment was at the discretion of the borrower and not the lender i.e. contractually the Council was unable to withdrawn these investments.

 

Breckland’s Treasury Management activity had been undertaken strictly in accordance with Treasury Guidance and Professional Codes of Practice.  Investments were only made in banks with the highest credit rating and which were considered by independent credit rating institutions to be secure in both the short term and the long term.  At the time the investments were made in the Icelandic banks, all had met the Council’s investment criteria.

 

Following a sustained period of stable high ratings of these banks, the ratings had been significantly reduced by the rating agencies as late as 30 September 2008.  Since that time, events had unfolded quickly and the banks had been taken into receivership.  Despite being aware of the changes in risk, the Council was, and still was, contractually bound not to move the funds.

 

These were unprecedented global financial times, with government intervention being taken across the globe.  Breckland along with over 100 other local authorities, charities and police authorities, not to mention private investors had found themselves exposed to the potential loss of some £1bn.

 

Breckland Council had been extremely concerned at this turn of events, in response to which the Council immediately took the following actions:

 

o             Undertook a review of all investments to reduce, where possible, any risk.  In  ...  view the full minutes text for item 132.

133.

Business Rural Initiative & Training Enterprise 2 (Brite 2) (Agenda item 7) pdf icon PDF 26 KB

Report of the Executive Member for the Economic and Housing Portfolio (Paul Claussen).

 

To receive a presentation from Ade Shaw and Edward Bales from Poultec Training and Enterprise Centre.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was introduced by the Economic Development Officer.

 

The Business Rural Initiative & Enterprise 2 (BRITE 2) had been a very successful project.  The project had been match funded by Breckland Council to the sum of £40,000 over a two year period from September 2006 to September 2008 and without this support the project would not have been able to go ahead. 

 

A presentation on how the project had been delivered was provided by Mr E Bales, Managing Director and Mr A Shaw, Business Programme Manager of Poultec Training and Enterprise Centre.

 

The BRITE 2 Project had been modelled on the success of BRITE 1 and had covered the whole of Breckland, Great Yarmouth and the North Norfolk coastal area.  It had offered small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) access to training, advice and guidance that they might not have had access to without European Social Funding (ESF) support.

 

The project differed from BRITE 1, in that an environmental theme, unlike BRITE 1, had been the central core.  To date, it had supported 82 individuals to gain nationally recognised environmental qualifications, with seven of these being at Management level.

 

Other achievements highlighted were the number of companies that had been assisted, the qualifications gained and the jobs and websites that had been created.

 

The challenge now for Poultec was how to continue to support these businesses after BRITE 2.

 

The Poultec Training and Enterprise Centre was the only work based learning provider in Breckland.  It had delivered over 3,000 qualifications in the food and drink sector between August 2007 and July 2008.  It had also delivered 244 apprenticeships and 269 ‘train to gain’ programmes.  Poultec had recently invested £0.5m in capital development and now employed over 50 people in certain programme areas.

 

The Chairman felt that it was very important that there was life after BRITE and hoped that it continued.

 

Members were informed that although Norfolk County Council had not helped to fund BRITE 2, it was looking to fund future Norfolk wide projects.

 

The Chief Executive stated that the Local Area Agreement (LAA) focused on education and economic well-being and Breckland needed to work with organisations like Poultec to underpin those LAA targets to be able to deliver more of the same.

 

The Executive Member for Economic and Housing Portfolio informed Members that Breckland Council and Poultec did already work together.  He felt that this authority was very lucky to have such a centre of excellence set in the heart of Breckland.  He thanked Mr Bales and Mr Shaw for the presentation.

 

The report was noted.

 

134.

Assistant Historic Buildings Officer - Extension to Contract (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Planning and the Environment (Ann Steward).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Environmental Planning Manager presented the report which sought Members’ approval to release the sum of £25,855 from the Planning Delivery Grant Reserve to extend the current contract of the Assistant Historic Buildings Officer (AHBO).

 

The Committee was made aware of the current workload and the immense area of historic environment that had to be covered in Breckland by the Team.   The AHBO also provided valuable assistance in the Development Control department.

 

The Executive Member for the Transformation Portfolio asked whether there was sufficient justification in terms of workload and growth in the area to support the post on a permanent basis.  In response, the Environmental Planning Manager advised that this had been mentioned at the General Purposes Committee meeting on 3rd September and although there was a case to make the position permanent there were funding issues.

 

The options available were either to agree the extension of the contract, subject to the funding being approved by Cabinet, or refuse the extension of the contract.

 

The reason for the recommendation was that the Assistant Historic Buildings Officer (AHBO) provided valuable support to the Historic Buildings Officer.  The team operated a high profile, statutory function and played a key role in the planning application process not to mention the protection and enhancement of the existing Breckland historic environment.  Without the assistance of the AHBO post the work would have to fall and be undertaken by one officer which was not felt practical.

 

RESOLVED that the sum of £25,855 from the Planning Delivery Grant Reserve be released to extend the contract of the Assistant Historic Buildings Officer by 12 months to December 2009.

135.

Local Area Agreement for Norfolk (Agenda item 9)

Presentation by the Deputy Chief Executive.

Minutes:

The Sustainable Communities Manager provided Members with a presentation on the status of the Local Area Agreement (LAA).

 

The key part of the LAA was aligning it with the Council’s own strategies and Business Plan; therefore, the Agreement had been focused around educational attainment and economic well-being.  90 indicators had been included and targets for each indicator were being negotiated.

 

The Executive Member for the Transformation Portfolio said that some local authorities had gone for lower targets and asked what the differences were between the higher and lower targets.  In response, the Sustainable Communities Manager advised that those authorities would only focus on particular areas and would accordingly put more resources into them.

 

Second home monies would be resourced to support this Agreement.

 

The Local Area Agreement for Norfolk was otherwise noted.

136.

Review of Constitution (Agenda item 10) pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Governance (Lady K Fisher).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Director for Governance presented the report.

 

Officers had carefully reviewed the Council’s existing constitutional arrangements and following consultation with the Leader, the Executive Member for the Governance Portfolio, the Chairman of the Audit Committee and the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission the following issues had been identified:

 

a)           The Constitution did not set out accurately the Council’s senior management and portfolio holder arrangements.

b)           The Constitution did not describe accurately the distribution of functions between, and the remit of, the Audit Committee, the Overview and Scrutiny Commission and the Standards Committee.

c)            Policy Development and Review Panels had a significant imbalance in their workloads, which did not always make best use of Member time and skills.  More particularly, whilst Panel 1 had had a clearly defined work load connected with the formulation of the LDF, other Panels had tended to work to a regular cycle without there necessarily having been a clear and substantial agenda to work through.  Moreover, some Members have experienced difficulty in attending these meetings, whilst others, because the composition of the Panels was fixed, had not been able to participate in the consideration of matters in which they had a particular interest or expertise.

d)           The scheme of delegation for officers and Members was in some respects unclear, incomplete and outdated.

e)           The right of non-elected independent members to remain in the Chamber whilst elected Member discussed exempt business required clarification in order to make it clear that Council might, if it wished, exclude them from the consideration of that business.

f)              Rules of procedure on the dismissal of non-statutory (“non protected”) Chief Officers had been revised to bring them in line with the Scheme of Delegation and contracts of employment. At the present time the contracts of these Officers afforded them the right to have disciplinary matters raised against them heard by a Panel of at least 3 elected Members (after a preliminary investigation, which may be conducted by an officer). Their contracts also afforded them a right of appeal against the Panel’s decision. These contractual provisions were given effect by the Scheme of Delegation, which, in the absence of any other delegation, expressly reserves the disposal of personnel issues to the General Purposes Committee (which includes either a Panel or Sub-Committee of the Committee). There was an inconsistency, however, as Standing Orders empowered the Head of the Paid Service to take all and any disciplinary action against an unprotected Chief Officer and made no provision for a right of appeal to any form of Member Panel (the Appeals Committee may only hear appeals from “protected Chief Officers”). The result of these arrangements was confusing and would render a dismissal of an unprotected Chief Officer in accordance with Standing Orders unfair (because it would deny a contractual right) and unlawful (for want of delegation of the necessary power). This anomaly needed to be corrected.

Members were informed that a Special meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission had been arranged  ...  view the full minutes text for item 136.

137.

Adoption of the Norfolk Housing and Support Strategy for Physical and Sensory Impairments (Agenda item 11) pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Report of the Executive Member for the Economic and Housing Portfolio (Paul Claussen).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Principal Housing Officer (Strategy and Enabling) presented the report which invited Members to consider and agree the Strategy to address the housing and support needs of people with physical and sensory disabilities and to recommend it to Council for approval.

 

As the lead authority within the Supporting People programme there was a requirement on Breckland to coordinate and produce a Strategy to address the housing support needs of the relevant client group.  The proposed Strategy involved working with key partners and stakeholders to measure the needs and gaps within the provision of services and map out recommendations to deal with the issues discovered.

 

There were nine key recommendations within the Strategy which had been set out with actions to deliver them.

 

The Overview and Scrutiny Commission had considered the report at its meeting on 2 October 2008 where it had been fully supported.

 

The Opposition Leader welcomed the opportunity to simplify the process and endorsed the recommendation.

 

Options

 

To agree to adopt the Strategy to address the housing and support needs of people with physical and sensory disabilities demonstrating Breckland Council’s commitment to its role on the commissioning body for Supporting People and its role as lead authority for client group.  This would recognise the commitment to deliver and improve services for vulnerable client group through the Local Area Agreement.

 

Not to agree to adopt the Strategy to address the housing and support needs of people with physical and sensory disabilities would undermine the role the Council had undertaken as lead authority for the client group and present difficulties in demonstrating partnership working in delivering against the recommendation and the indicators for the Local Area Agreement.

 

Reasons

 

The Supporting People programme was the predominant funding stream for housing support services for vulnerable people across the County.  A range of strategies for the various categories of vulnerable clients had and were being produced.  Specialist strategies were the key for delivering to the relevant client group.

 

The Council was part of the commissioning body for delivering new and improved services and was required to sign up to the strategic approaches for each client group.

 

Breckland was the lead authority for this client group and would be working to deliver better opportunities for residents of its district with physical and sensory impairments.

 

RECOMMEND to Council that the Strategy to address the housing and support needs of people with physical and sensory disabilities be adopted.

138.

Choice Based Lettings Policy(Agenda item 12) pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Report of the Executive Member for the Economic and Housing Portfolio (Paul Claussen).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Principal Housing Officer (Strategy and Enabling) presented the report which advised Members of the changes that would be made to the allocations policy to meet the requirements of Breckland Key Select and to advise them of the key development points in the process until the system went live.

 

There were currently 3000 people on the Housing Register.  Each housing application took, on average, 8 days to process (the contractual time limit was 7 days).  Since April 2008, 349 vacant dwellings had been made available to rent.  These vacancies accounted for a high number of newly built social housing.  Additionally, on a number of private developments some housing had been passed over to social landlords and housing that was already socially owned was becoming available due to private purchases and shared ownership schemes.

 

This internet based scheme allowed people to register an interest in an individual property.  Information could be easily accessed on what homes were available and where, together with key details about the property itself e.g. photographs, the number of bedrooms, the rent to be charged and council tax banding.    New properties would include floor plans and a map link would also be made available. There had been lots of support and assistance in the development of this process.   A language facility would also be provided.

 

Every applicant would have his or her own login name, and as well as housing information, the site would also be linked to homelessness advice.  Eligibility would be limited; for example, a single person could not bid for a three bed house.  Applications would also be put in priority date order.

 

Applicants could then ‘bid’ to be considered for a property within their ‘band’.  Members noted that the banding system was much easier than the current points system.  A person would have to have a local connection before a ‘banding’ could be given.  Many checks would be carried out to ascertain whether that person did indeed have a local connection.

 

The Choice Based Lettings Scheme offered a variety of bidding and information platforms including the use of the internet, text message and free bidding hotline numbers. In response to a question concerning homelessness, Members were informed that for those people who had urgent housing need an emergency card would be issued and would take priority.

 

Affordable housing stock was a very precious commodity so it was very important to ensure that the right people were allocated the right property. 

 

There was a Government target for every local authority to have a Choice Based Lettings Scheme in place by 2010.

 

It was anticipated that the Choice Based Lettings Scheme would be live by 31st December in time for New Year applications.

 

Due to the time frames for going live, Members were requested to consider whether decisions relating to the development of the scheme and working practices with the Council’s key partners, could be delegated to the Executive Member for the Economic and Housing Portfolio.   In response, the said Executive Member proposed that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 138.

139.

Local Development Framework - Core Strategy and Development Control Polices Development Plan Document - Submission Document (Agenda item 13) pdf icon PDF 130 KB

Report of the Executive Member for the Planning and the Environment Portfolio (Ann Steward).

 

Members may wish to bring to the meeting their copy of the Preferred Options of the Core Strategy and Development Control Policies for reference purposes.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Principal Planning Policy Officer explained that as the Core Strategy and Development Control Policies document had been looked at in some detail by a number of Breckland Committees the intention was to go through the key issues only.

 

The Cabinet then proceeded to consider each key issue and made comments on various aspects of the appendix and in response to comments received and the further amendments recommended by the Panel and the Overview and Scrutiny Commission.  The Officers’ response was also provided in respect of each item.

 

All policies as recommended were agreed subject to the following further amendments:

 

·              Revised CP1: Housing (pages 108-111) – there was much debate with regard to the dwelling threshold for Local Service Centres in conjunction with the question of a community infrastructure levy for every house.  A Member felt that if the recommended minimum of 25 dwellings allocation in Local Service Centres was approved it would effectively create a mini urban setting in a rural area.  It was agreed that the 25 dwellings threshold should be reduced to 10 dwellings, or an acre of land, for Local Service Centres in conjunction with a community infrastructure levy for every house with a contribution for open space.

 

·              Revised DC3: Replacement Dwellings and Extensions in the Countryside (pages 227-228) – it had been recommended that the revised policy be adopted subject to the deletion of paragraph a. on page 227 (i.e. delete the words “the scale of the replacement is not disproportionate to the original dwelling”).  The Officers response to this recommendation had been that this subsection not be removed as to permit replacement homes in the countryside that were significantly larger than the existing stock would allow for the numbers of smaller homes to be further reduced.  Such a policy did not accord with the Council’s evidence base.  After much debate, it was agreed that the Officer’s recommendation should be accepted against the recommendation of the Commission.

 

·              Revised Policy DC5: Affordable Housing on Exception Sites (pages 241-242) – Members agreed with the Officers recommendation that paragraph 4.35 should be amended to include the word “directly” before “adjoining” in the second sentence of the paragraph.

 

·              Revised Policy DC16: Design (pages 294-295) – this policy was supported, subject to the words “in the District” being added after the suggested wording of the Commission.

 

Option 1

 

To consider the proposed Submission Core Strategy and Development Control Policies (with or without amendments), and agree its content for publication prior to submission to the Secretary of State in February 2009.

 

Option 2

Do not consider the Submission Core Strategy and Development Control Policies (with or without amendments), and do not agree its content for publication prior to submission to the Secretary of State in February 2009.

 

Reasons

 

Option 1 of the report would allow the Core Strategy and Development Control Policies to be submitted in accordance with the milestones in the Local Development Scheme and to ensure that there was a Planning Strategy in place for Breckland in 2026.

 

The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 139.

140.

Gt Dunham Match Funding Application - A New Village Hall (Agenda item 14) pdf icon PDF 23 KB

Report of the Executive Member for the Communities Portfolio (Stephen Askew).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Community Development Officer presented the report which concerned a request for £20,000 capital match funding towards the development of a new village hall in Great Dunham.

 

A revised Proforma B had been circulated.

 

The Ward Member for Great Dunham stated that the project had been on-going for ten years and was only now coming to a head.  There were many surrounding hamlets that would benefit from this hall if permission was granted.  The Executive Member for the Communities Portfolio fully supported the recommendation and felt that this was a prime example of communities working together.

 

Options

 

To approve the application for funding on the grounds of the high score or award funding at a reduced level or reject the application.

 

Reasons

 

This project had been well researched with evidence of extensive consultation with a variety of stakeholders.  There was a good chance that the Big Lottery would fund the 2nd stage of this project as it had already invested a lot of time and money in the development phase.  This was a small but very active community that, like many others, had recently seen the closure of many life supporting amenities, i.e. post office, shop, pub, garage and public transport.  The project was an example of a community working hard to help themselves and keep community life alive.  There is extensive support from the whole community and hinterland parishes.  If this project did not go ahead another life line would be lost and community life would suffer beyond repair.

 

RESOLVED that a capital match funding sum of £20,000 towards the development of a new village hall in Great Dunham be approved, subject to:

 

1)           a maximum of £20,000 or 4.6% of the project total whichever is the lower;

 

2)           confirmation of the total cost of the project;

 

3)           the balance of all other funding being confirmed;

 

4)           confirmation of planning consent; and

 

5)           the funding being allocated from the 2008/09 capital match funding reserve.

141.

Breckland Council Owned Land to the Rear of 23-25 and 31-33 Cyprus Road, Attleborough (Agenda item 15) pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Report of the Executive Member for the Economic and Housing Portfolio (Paul Claussen).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report sought Cabinet’s approval for the transfer of Council-owned land to the rear of nos. 23-25 and 31-33 Cyprus Road, Attleborough to Attleborough Town Council at nil consideration, to be retained as amenity for the benefit of the community.

 

Option 1

 

That the Council-owned land to the rear of nos. 23-25 and 31-33 Cyprus Road, Attleborough be transferred, at nil consideration, to Attleborough Town Council, subject to a covenant being imposed restricting the use to amenity purposes only and that the legal costs associated with such a transfer be borne by Attleborough Town Council.

 

Option 2

 

That the Council-owned land to the rear of nos. 23-25 and 31-33 Cyprus Road, Attleborough be transferred, at or above the District Valuer’s valuation, restricting the use to amenity purposes only and that the legal costs associated with such a transfer be borne by Attleborough Town Council.

 

Option 3

 

That the Council-owned land to the rear of nos. 23-25 and 31-33 Cyprus Road, Attleborough be sold on the open market, for a minimum income of £1,250.00 plus VAT.

 

Option 4

 

That the Council-owned land to the rear of nos.23-25 and 31-33 Cyprus Road, Attleborough remains within Breckland Council’s ownership.

 

Reason

 

The residents of Cyprus Road and Estcourt Road felt that both pieces of land were important amenity areas in Attleborough and were much enjoyed by the town.

 

RESOLVED that

 

1)           the transfer of Council-owned land to the rear of nos. 23-25 and 31-33 Cyprus Road, Attleborough to Attleborough Town Council at nil consideration be approved;

 

2)           a restrictive covenant be imposed restricting the use of the land to amenity purposes only; and

 

3)           the legal costs associated with such a transfer be borne by Attleborough Town Council

142.

Budget Papers for consultation (Agenda item 16) pdf icon PDF 173 KB

Report of the Executive Member for the Governance Portfolio (Lady K Fisher).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The budget papers had been circulated.

 

Cabinet was asked to endorse the recommendations in the report which sought to consult upon proposals for revenue budgets, capital budgets and the setting of fees and charges.

 

The Assistant Director for Governance was obliged under the Local Government Act 1972 to provide an opinion on the robustness of the budget whilst recognising that there were variable elements outside of the Council’s control.

 

The assumptions used had been clearly stated and the proposals assumed that the Government would honour the provisional allocations made in the three year settlement.

 

In line with the Medium Term Financial Strategy of the Council a zero collection fund balance would be sought.  The tax based used was provisional and had been based on growth on 1.3%.

 

The Council would be consulting upon options for new budgets alongside opportunities to trade.  A full review of the Council’s reserves had been undertaken and it was believed that they were robust.

 

The draft proposals would lead to an indicative 3.35% council tax rise if adopted.

 

A range of consultation events had been set up to positively seek opinions and the Council had fully integrated its approach to Value for Money and delivering efficiencies into the budget setting process.

 

Spending proposals between statutory and discretionary services and corporate priorities had been analysed and a full and frank assessment of the Council’s risks had been undertaken.

 

The intention was for Cabinet to receive a revised report in November once the thorough consultation process had been completed.

 

Options

 

See report.

 

Reasons

 

The Local Government Act 2003 introduced a requirement that the Chief Financial Officer reported on the robustness of the budget.  The estimates had been prepared in a prudent manner, although it should be recognised that there were a number of variable elements outside of the Council’s control.  These had been identified in section 17 of the report and would be mitigated through the ongoing budgeting processes of the Council.

 

RESOLVED that

 

1)           the report for consultation as an indicative revenue and capital budget for 2009/10 be endorsed; and

 

2)           the report for consultation on indicative fees and charges for 2009/10 be endorsed.

 

143.

References from the Overview and Scrutiny Commission (Agenda item 17) pdf icon PDF 92 KB

To consider references, if any, from the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 2 October 2008.

Additional documents:

143/071

A Strategy to Address the Housing and Support Needs of People with Physical and Sensory Impairments - Reference from the O&SC

Minutes:

This matter had been discussed under Minute No. 137/08 above.

143/072

Delivery of the Choice Base Lettings Scheme and Allocation Policy Changes - Reference from the O&SC

Minutes:

This matter had been discussed under Minute No. 138/08 above.

143/073

Local Development Framework - Core Strategy and Development Control Policies Development Plan Document - Reference from the O&SC

Minutes:

This matter had been discussed under Minute No. 139/08 above.

143/074

Breckland Voice - Review of Distribution - Reference from the O&SC

Minutes:

The Member Services Manager explained that the Commission had considered a report from the meeting of the Policy Development and Review Panel 2 on 3 September 2008 on the review of the distribution of Breckland Voice.

 

The Commission had noted the Panel’s views and supported its proposals.

 

The Executive Member for the Transformation Portfolio agreed that everyone should receive a copy of Voice.

 

Options

 

See report.

 

Reason

 

To ensure delivery of Voice to all Breckland residents whilst demonstrating that the Council sought the most cost-effective solutions when spending council taxpayers’ money.

 

RESOLVED that

 

1)           the Council continued to deliver Breckland Voice with the wheelie bins, but pay an additional £650 per edition to provide postal delivery to properties sharing a bin.  This cost would be met from within existing budgets for the remainder of 2008/09.  This would have to be met by either virements from another existing budget, or a growth bid put forward into this year’s budget process;

 

2)           a suitable budget be allocated for distribution costs in future years.

144.

Anglia Revenues and Benefits Partnership (Agenda item 18) pdf icon PDF 66 KB

Report of the meeting of the Joint Committee held on 10 September 2008.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting of the Anglia Revenues and Benefits Partnership held on 10 September 2008 were noted.

145.

Next Meeting (Agenda item 19)

To note that the date of the next meeting of Cabinet will be held on Tuesday, 25 November 2008 at 9.30am in the Norfolk Room.  .

Minutes:

The next meeting of the Cabinet would be held on Tuesday, 25 November 2008 at 9.30am in the Norfolk Room.

146.

John Room House Redevelopment (Agenda item 21)

Report of the Executive Member for the Economic and Housing Portfolio (Paul Claussen).

 

Proforma B to follow.

Minutes:

The Principal Housing Officer (Strategy and Enabling) presented the report which set out proposals for the redevelopment of the homeless hostel in Thetford that was owned by the Council.

 

Planning permission had been submitted for the development and would be considered at the Development Control Committee meeting on 3 November 2008.

 

The staffing structure for the new proposals was also being considered.

 

The Executive Member for the Transformation Portfolio asked whether there would be potential to take on other homeless people from other districts.  He further asked about the Council’s partnership arrangements. In response to the first question, Members were informed that if there were vacancies to be had Breckland could recharge the relevant district.  As far as the latter was concerned, there were opportunities to explore the management of this service; however, there was more than one partner to consider so a tendering exercise would have to be carried out.

 

The Executive Member for the Economic and Housing Portfolio fully supported the resettlement programme (see Appendix B of the report) which would be implemented once the redevelopment had been completed.  He felt that this programme would help break the mould of people who suffered repeated homelessness through unemployment.  However, although he was in support of the redevelopment, he had concerns with the staffing structure for the new proposals and suggested that this part should be taken out and discussed further at a later date.  He further suggested that the partnership issue should be explored.  In response, the Principal Housing Officer explained that if the Council decided to go down this route, the required management tendering process would affect the costs.

 

Options

 

See report.

 

Reasons

 

It was recommended to redevelop John Room House with 10 self contained units for the Hostel and 12 self contained flats for move on accommodation incorporating the green initiatives which would contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of the buildings, reduce energy costs and reduce the maintenance in the longer term.  The proposals would use the land in a more efficient and effective way providing accommodation of a high standard to that which was already on the site.

 

It was recommended to implement the new staff structure of one full-time project worker and two part-time project workers on completion of the project which would enable a higher level of support to the residents within the scheme and ensuring a better level of security for the residents and staff.  This would reduce the risks associated with temporary accommodation to customers and staff with whom the Council had a duty of care.

 

Taking the aforementioned suggestions into account, it was

 

RESOLVED that

 

1)           the plans for the redevelopment of John Room House with the additional provision of “move-on” accommodation be approved;

 

2)           a planned approach be taken to look at the future management of the scheme;

 

3)           the financial plan for the service be approved, subject to maintaining the existing staffing arrangements; and

 

4)           the staffing and management arrangements be reviewed post-facility.