Agenda and minutes

Venue: Anglia Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham

Items
No. Item

40/13

Minutes (Agenda item 1) pdf icon PDF 85 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 7 May 2013.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 7 May 2013 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman, subject to the following word being amended under the 6th paragraph at Minute No. 36/13 to read: ‘premature’ rather than ‘prudent’.

41/13

Apologies (Agenda item 2)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

None.

42/13

Declaration of Interests (Agenda item 4)

Members are no longer required to declare personal of prejudicial interests but are to declare any new Disclosable Pecuniary Interests that are not currently included in the Register of Interests. Members are reminded that under the Code of Conduct they are not to participate and must leave the room, for the whole of an agenda item to which they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest. 

 

In the interests of transparency, Members may also wish to declare any other interests they have in relation to an agenda item, that support the Nolan principles detailed within the Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

Mr P Cowen declared an interest in item 9 of the agenda by virtue of his profession as an architect in practice.

43/13

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:

Marion Chapman-Allen, Shirley Matthews, Gordon Bambridge, Paul Claussen, Philip Cowen, Phillip Duigan, Terry Jermy, Robert Kybird, Mike Nairn, William Richmond, Mark Robinson, Frank Sharpe and Nigel Wilkin.

44/13

Breckland Community Funding Applications (Standing Item) (Agenda item 7) pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To consider the grants put forward (if any) from Share Point the on-line grant process.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Localism, Community & Environmental Services presented the report that summarised the funding recommendations made by Officers and Executive Members under the new Sharepoint system process.

 

Councillor Chapman-Allen raised concerns about the funding conditions made by the Executive Members under section 3 of the report and highlighted the fact that East Harling Sports & Social Club already hosted outside events and would continue to do so.  She also highlighted the fact that Harling was not used for many of the holiday activities, mentioned under paragraph 3.1 of the report and said that the Club would be more than happy to accommodate such activities to make more use of the hall.  She asked if the word ‘conditioned’ under this section could be changed to ‘reviewed’ so not to tie the Club down too firmly.

 

The Executive Member for Localism, Community & Environmental Services said that the reason these conditions had been included was to ensure that these organisations contributed to their communities.   Members were informed that the Club already did through hosting many regular activities.  This funding would encourage more sports clubs/activities to use the improved facilities that East Harling Sports & Social Club had to offer.

 

Options

 

(1)         To approve the Match Funding for East Harling Sports & Social Club to the value of £12,892.00.

 

(2)         To approve a lesser amount of Match Funding.

 

(3)         To decline the Match Funding application.

 

Reasons

 

The Executive Members have recommended approval for East Harling Sports & Social Club subject to the following conditions:

 

  • To agree some hosting of events/coaching during the next 12 months;

 

  • The grant from East Harling Parish Council to be confirmed before payment was made; and

 

  • The hosting of children’s holiday activities be conditioned.

 

RESOLVED that the Capital Match Funding application of £12,892.00 towards electrical, plumbing and heating work at East Harling Recreation Club be approved, subject to:

 

(1)   confirmation that all other funding sources were in place prior to release of the funding;

 

(2)   a maximum sum of £12,892.00 or 19.96% of the cost of the project whichever was the lower; and

 

(3)   any other conditions that arose from Member comments from Sharepoint.

45/13

Localism Act 2011 (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Report of Mark Kiddle-Morris, Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development presented the report that updated Members on the work undertaken thus far that ensured the Council’s full compliance with the Act.  The report also sought Members’ agreement to introduce a Community Asset Register in line with the aforementioned legislation.

 

The Localism Act introduced the Community Right to Bid.  This allowed communities to nominate buildings and land that they considered of value to the community, to be included on a local authority maintained list - the Community Asset Register.  If any of these assets were put up for sale, the community then had a window of opportunity to express an interest in purchasing the asset, and another window of opportunity to bid. 

 

The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development said that it was quite a long process to go through and made reference to the Community Asset Register process attached at appendix 1 of the report.  He then highlighted the recommendations, one of which was to establish a Community Assets Register and the other to agree a policy of no compensation payments.  The reason for such a policy was explained and for clarification purposes he felt that paragraph 4.2 of the report should be included in the first recommendation.

 

Councillor Sharpe knew that the right of appeal by a landowner would be to Breckland Council but in the Act it stated that an appeal was linked to an individual tier tribunal.  He asked when this process applied.  In response, Members were informed that a tier tribunal was part of a two stage court process, the first being the appeal to the Council and the second being part of the court system.  Councillor Sharpe asked if a community registered a building, was it the actual building they would be registering or the use.  In terms of the regulations, the Joint Deputy Planning Manager explained that any land or buildings could be added to the register with exemptions. If it was a building or a piece of land that had community value and was, for example, changed from a public house to another use, it would still have to have the same community value; in other words, it was the use that was registered and not the building.

 

The Chairman asked if a change of use to a building was applied would it then trigger the community right to bid.  The Joint Deputy Planning Manager explained that some change of use did not require planning permission but if a building had been included on a community register it would not preclude the planning process if a change of use was submitted but it would have to be taken into consideration.

 

The Executive Member for Internal Services stated that Breckland Council operated a policy against change of use over a period of time to allow such uses to be protected for the community. He gave an example of what was happening in Rocklands in relation to the White Hart Association that was intent in purchasing the White  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45/13

46/13

Thetford Town Centre MasterPlan (Agenda item 9) pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Report of Mark Kiddle-Morris, Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development.

 

Please note that the Thetford Town Master Plan (Development Framework and Delivery Plan) is attached as a separate document due to its size and colour content.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development presented the report that asked Members to consider the outcome of the Thetford Town Centre Masterplanning process and to agree that the Thetford Town Centre Masterplan be adopted as a Council document to coordinate investment and regeneration activity in Thetford town centre.

 

It was noted that Norfolk County Council had not part funded this Masterplan.

 

A presentation was provided by the Joint Deputy Planning Manager and the Growth Programme Manager.

 

The Thetford Town Centre Masterplan work followed a number of studies and plans commissioned and prepared in the last decade that had sought to promote developments within the town centre.  Following a robust and transparent procurement process, Allies and Morrison – Urban Practitioners had been appointed as consultants for the Masterplan and the delivery framework.  A key stakeholder consultation event had been held early on in the process attended by an array of representatives from Breckland Council, Norfolk County Council, Thetford Town Council, retailers, businesses and local groups.  The Masterplan had responded to all the issues and opportunities that had been identified from the event.

 

In terms of the process, the Baseline report had identified that traditional methods of delivery would be unlikely to happen. Thetford was going to have to concentrate on changing the area from retail to leisure activities within the town centre.

 

Sections of the Masterplan on the supplementary agenda were highlighted.

 

The Growth Programme Manager gave a detailed explanation on the transport section.

 

Questions were then invited.

 

The Vice-Chairman referred to the Masterplan status and asked if the Masterplan document would hold any weight in the planning process.  He also asked where the funding was coming from.  In response to the first question, the Joint Deputy Planning Manager explained that the adopted Masterplan document would not hold full weight in the planning process unlike the Local Development Framework and the Thetford Area Action Plan (TAAP); however, it would be of material consideration in the planning process alongside the TAAP.  In terms of the funding available, there were a number of legal agreements/S106 agreements through planning to deliver the Masterplan.  The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development said that the document would have some weight as it would be used in pre-planning to assist the developers with the vision.

 

Councillor Kybird pointed out that the Stakeholders/Consultation part of the report was incorrect as he, as a Thetford Town Council Member, had only received a presentation and had not been suitably consulted on the document. He further pointed out a number of inaccuracies within the Masterplan itself that required urgent attention and suggested another loop of consultation including the Moving Thetford Forward Board.

 

The Chairman of the Planning Committee had issues with the lack of car parking provision within the document and felt that town centres should be provided with ample parking to attract more visitors.  He gave Bury St Edmunds as an example of how a good shopping centre should be. The Growth Programme Manager advised that transport matters were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46/13

47/13

Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) (Agenda item 10) pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Report of Elizabeth Gould, Executive Member for Planning & Environmental Services and Mark Kiddle-Morris, Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development presented the report that asked Members to consider and agree the revised Statement of Community Involvement and recommend the document to Council for adoption.  It was noted that the Overview & Scrutiny Commission had been content with the document and had not recommended any changes.

 

Option 1

 

To approve the SCI at Appendix B of the report including the changes made as a result of the consultation.

 

Option 2

 

To approve the SCI at Appendix B of the report including the changes made as a result of the consultation and any additional changes from Council.

 

Option 3

 

Not to approve the SCI at Appendix B of the report and further amendments and reconsideration be requested.

 

Reasons

 

The SCI met the requirements of the regulations, and reflected existing practices as well as setting out clearly how the Council would engage with communities and stakeholders on development management decisions and planning policy.  The SCI had been set out in a logical manner with the use of plain English to make it accessible.

 

Should Members approve one of the alternative options listed, this would result in the need for an alternative timetable for the adoption of this document.

 

RECOMMEND to Council that Option 1 of the report be endorsed and the Statement of Community Involvement (2013) including changes made as a result of the public consultation as a Council document be approved (this replaced the current SCI (2006) which would then be defunct).

48/13

Quarter 4 Performance Report (Agenda item 11) pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Report of Ian Sherwood, Executive Member for Performance & Business Development.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Performance and Business development presented the new style Performance report generated by the Performance Plus system.  He felt that the overall performance of the Council had improved and was happy to take questions.

 

The Vice-Chairman had concerns in relation to some of the figures.  The Deputy Chief Executive stated that the figures under indicator reference BC-AP-CI 03 on page 91 of the report should read: £2,000,000.00 and £2,245,000.00 and would be amended accordingly.

 

Councillor Claussen said that he had heard that the Performance Plus system was not generating the information required.  Members were informed that the general feeling was that the information generated was not easy to understand and the Performance Team had acknowledged this concern and was trying to make it more user friendly.  The Executive Member for Internal Services said that performance needed to be monitored as it was not currently working as Members would like.  The Deputy Chief Executive advised that the functionalities of the Performance Plus system was being reviewed over the next six weeks and a revised report would be produced in terms of Members’ requirements.

 

The Overview & Scrutiny Commission Chairman said that the information currently being generated was of a very serious concern to the Commission.  It was no good finding out three months down the line that something had gone wrong three months ago.  He mentioned the previous system that the Council used to have which was in a simpler format and was much easier to use.  The Executive Member for Internal Services agreed that simple and easy to use were the key words. 

 

Members were asked to note the report.

 

Options

 

(1)         To continue to report at the level provided in Appendix A.

 

(2)         Not to continue to report at the level provided in Appendix A.

 

Reasons

 

N/A. 

 

The report was otherwise noted.

49/13

Quarter 4 Financial Performance Report (Agenda item 12) pdf icon PDF 66 KB

Report of Michael Wassell, Executive Member for Finance & Democratic Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report provided information on the actual full year financial position of the Council as at 31 March 2013.

 

The Vice Chairman presented the report.

 

Referring to the Revenue Budget, Table 1 on page 95 of the agenda, it was noted that the Council had under spent £51,396 of an already optimised budget; this was after contributing £585,000 into a new Communities Reserve which would allow the Council to fund community based projects, and also make provision for future expenditure.

 

Table 2 on page 96 of the agenda - Members were asked to note that in 2012-13 the identified efficiencies in the budget were £748,380 but in fact the Council actually achieved an additional £515,693 worth of efficiencies making a total of over £1.14m; this was something that all Members and Officers should be proud of.

 

Table 4 on page 97of the agenda noted some of the significant variances; one in particular was the Housing Benefit Grants of £364,066 much of which had been a subsidy from Central Government based on the accuracy of the claims process which was a credit to the staff at the Anglia Revenues Partnership.  Members were also asked to note an under spend of over £105,400 for waste collection, and an additional income of £155,000 from the garden waste scheme. Despite some overspent items, it was noted that from the continuance of table 4 onto page 98 of the agenda, the total of the combination of additional income and under spend was £982,000.  It should also be noted that it was expected that approximately £184,000 of this year’s saving would continue into future years, thus reducing the pressure on forthcoming year’s budgets.  However, it was still emphasised that the Council would still need to make significant further efficiencies and increases in its income in order to prudently manage these future year budgets.  Members were asked to recall that Breckland Council had a projected budget deficit by 2017-18 of £2.5 million which all were working hard to reduce and hopefully this deficit would be eliminated without being complacent.

 

The Reserves shown on table 5 on page 99 of the agenda showed the level of unallocated Reserves was prudent and commensurate with the level of risk that the Authority was required to mitigate.  The level of Reserved Matched Funding Reserves would allow continued support for community projects.  This authority had also been prudent in maintaining a healthy Organisational Development Reserve, which had been originally created as part of the Shared Management policy and the new Communities Reserve had been created as a result of the contributions made this year. 

 

The Capital section of the report commencing on page 100of the agenda, had been reported to Cabinet before but had been included for completeness, however, Members’ attention was drawn to table 2 on page 101 of the agenda,the Capital Financing Requirement (CFR), where it was highlighted that in 2013-14 there was a figure of £7.39m against Property (Land and Buildings), of this, £6.20m related  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49/13

50/13

Recommendation from the Planning Committee (Agenda item 13) pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To consider the attached recommendation from the Planning Committee meeting held on 8 May 2013 (minute reference and report attached).

 

Minutes:

The Planning Committee at its meeting on 8 May 2013 had recommended to Cabinet that the Council’s Policies on Gypsy and Travellers sites and facilitation of provision of suitable site(s) be brought forward for urgent resolution.

 

The Executive Member for Planning & Environmental Services stated that the Gypsy and Traveller Assessment had been on-going and would be discussed at the Local Plan Working Group in September 2013.  She advised that Local Authorities no longer had to accept the pitch figures from Government and the Policies for the Travelling Community were currently being updated.

 

The Chairman asked by doing this piece of work would it help to address the issue in this particular application.   Members were informed that it would.

 

The Joint Deputy Planning Manager advised that there was already a Policy within the Core Strategy that dealt with Gypsies and Travellers and general criteria within the Local Development Framework (LDF).

 

In response to a question about the type of work that was currently being undertaken, Members were informed that surveys were being carried out with the gypsy and traveller communities and discussions were on-going with Norfolk County Council, in relation to education to support such families, charities and liaison with neighbouring authorities.  Councillor Sharpe asked if local and towns and parishes would be involved.  In response, the Joint Deputy Planning Manager explained that all Members would be involved as part of this process.

 

Councillor Claussen said that he had never known a barrister to be involved in a planning application.  He explained that locals required some kind of certainty of what they would end up with.  He thought that community engagement was key but the residents of Mattishall had been ignored and were fearful of the end result which, in his opinion, was unacceptable. 

 

The Chairman of the Planning Committee stated that he envisaged an escalation of gypsies and travellers on this particular site and as a planning committee, sites such as these were gradually popping up all over the place.  A suitable solid policy was urgently required.

 

The Executive Member for Internal Services said that Breckland Council had to make sure that it had enough of these sites but not near to settled communities.  He felt that Planning needed to establish exactly what the requirements were as there was not sufficient capacity through national routes.

 

The Chairman once again asked if this document would help prevent adhoc opportunistic developments, if not the Council’s policies needed to be strengthened as there seemed to be some strange discrepancies between travellers and the settled communities.

 

Options

 

N/A

 

Reasons

 

N/A

 

RESOLVED that the Council’s policies on Gypsy and Traveller Sites and facilitation of provision of suitable site(s) be brought forward for urgent resolution.

64/13

Reference from the Overview and Scrutiny Commission (Agenda item 14) pdf icon PDF 42 KB

To consider references, if any, from the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 6 June 2013.

Minutes:

This item had been discussed under Minute No. 47/13 above.

65/13

Next Meeting (Agenda item 15)

To note that the date of the next meeting of Cabinet will be held on Tuesday, 30 July 2013 at 9.30am in the Anglia Room.

Minutes:

The arrangements for the next meeting were noted.