Agenda and minutes

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

Items
No. Item

69/14

Minutes (Agenda item 1) pdf icon PDF 121 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 1 July 2014.

Minutes:

1)     Broadband Breckland Investment (Minute No. 63/14)

 

The Chairman was pleased to announce that Breckland Council had been successful in terms of match funding to secure the additional monies offered by the Government.  This would mean that Breckland Council had £1.9m to invest in Superfast Broadband across the District which was by far the largest amount due to the fact that the Council had taken the initiative to sign up at such an early stage.

 

2)     Minutes

 

The Minutes of the meeting held on 1 July 2014 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

70/14

Apologies (Agenda item 2)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from the Chief Executive.

71/14

Urgent Business (Agenda item 3)

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.

Minutes:

None.

72/14

Declaration of Interests (Agenda item 4)

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:

The Executive Member for Communications, Organisational Performance, Development and Public Protection declared an interest in an application under agenda item 7.  The reason for his interest was due to him knowing the applicant.

73/14

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:

Mesdames M Chapman-Allen, S Matthews and J North and Messrs G Bambridge, B Borrett, T Carter, P Duigan, A Joel, K Martin, M Nairn and M Robinson.

74/14

Breckland Community Funding Applications (Standing Item) (Agenda item 7) pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Report of Lynda Turner, Executive Member for Community & Environmental Services.

 

To consider the grants put forward from the Share Point on-line grant process.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Vice-Chairman and Executive Member for Community & Environmental Services summarised the funding recommendations that had been made for both Match Funding and Pride Funding grants since the last meeting.

 

She emphasised the benefits that these three grants would bring to the applicants.  All had met the Council’s corporate objectives and all could generate a vast amount of match funding particularly in relation to the Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse.   The smaller grant for Mundford Bowls Club would strengthen the community.

 

Members’ attention was drawn to the various grants that had been awarded to other organisations for various activities (see section 1.21 of the report) as well as the applications that had been rejected which included the very first submission from Mundford Bowls Club (see section 1.22 of the report).

 

There were a further 19 applications in the pipeline all of which were taking the opportunity to enhance their own communities. 

 

The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development declared an interest as a Member of the Area Museums Committee and as a Member of the Friends of Gressenhall.  He said that he had reminded Dr Robin Hanley, the manager of Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse about these grant schemes and had pointed him in the right direction.  Gressenhall Museum was the second largest attraction in Norfolk and this project would enhance the display in main building and Gressenhall, in his opinion, would become a national leading light in terms of museums.

 

Councillor Duigan, an Executive Support Member stated that Breckland Council could take a great deal of credit for the success of the Museum as it was the first project that Breckland outsourced.  He felt that Gressenhall would become a Museum of national importance and was glad to support the recommendation.

 

Councillor Borrett thanked the Cabinet for giving this money to Gressenhall.  He felt that the Museum was a beacon in Norfolk and there was nothing else quite like it and it showed that Breckland Council had faith in what museums were trying to do.  This grant was a very important gesture and set the tone for other funding bodies and he felt that it was a very efficient use of the Council’s money.

 

The Chairman said that it was also an indication that the Council supported tourism and other elements of business in the Breckland District.

 

Councillor Joel mentioned the grant awarded to Old Buckenham Church Rooms.  He said that the cinema, which had now opened, would totally enhance the village.

 

Options

 

  1. Fully fund one, two or all of the funding applications as set out in the report.
  2. Part fund one, two or all of the funding applications as set out in the report; or
  3. Do nothing.

 

Reasons

 

  1. All three applications met Breckland Council’s corporate objectives.
  2. Two of the projects will increase tourism, boost the local economy and create civic pride.
  3. One of the projects will enhance a local community facility.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1)     the Pride Funding application of £19,974 towards a programme of WW1 Commemorative Season in Breckland for Creative Arts East be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 74/14

75/14

Financial Performance Quarter 1 (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Report of Ellen Jolly, Executive Member for Finance & Democratic Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Finance Manager presented the report that covered the first quarter ending 30 June 2014 covering revenue, capital and treasury management.

 

The revenue budgets were showing a below budget spend of £230k and the full details of the major variances could be found at table 2 of the report.  The efficiencies achieved to date had been detailed in table 3 of the appendix highlighting a £200k shortfall; however, recycling rates would increase and the shortfall should be recovered by year end.  The virement decisions that were being proposed were shown at Table 4 of the report, these budget amendments were requested in order to reflect the latest forecasts of spend and income to ensure reported budget performance remained updated.  The forecast capital outturn was showing an expected 29% spend at this time, with many projects looking like they would not be carried out in this financial year; however, any firm requests to carry forward budgets would be included in the quarter 2 report.  Cabinet was being asked to release £50k from the ICT Strategy Projects approved but un-released funding, to cover the costs of the Public Sector Network (PSN) project.  Section 3 covered treasury management performance.  Members were informed that a revised treasury management policy in relation to the Council’s counterparty selection would be reviewed by the Audit Committee later in the year.  The Executive Member for Finance & Democratic Services explained that due to the changes in the economic climate it was imperative that this policy be reviewed.

 

Councillor Martin asked if the Council still had confidence that it would receive the remaining Icelandic monies back.   The Finance Manager advised that the vast majority of money had been recovered the remaining monies were held in an escrow account and would take longer to be released.

 

Options

 

  • To note the report and appendix, approve the virements detailed in Table 4 of Section 1 of the appendix and release £50k from the ICT Strategy Projects approved but un-released funding, to cover the costs of the Public Sector Network (PSN) project.

 

  • To note the report, but not approve the virements or the release of capital funding.

 

Reasons

 

To provide timely information to Members on the overall finances of the Council and to make the best use of resources available, anticipating future years expenditure.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1)     the virements detailed in Table 4 of Section 1 of the appendix be approved; and

 

2)     £50,000 from the ICT Strategy Projects (approved but un-released funding), to cover the costs of the Public Sector Network (PSN) project be released.

76/14

Municipal Bonds Agency (Agenda item 9) pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Report of Ellen Jolly, Executive Member for Finance & Democratic Services.

Minutes:

This report was deferred as further information was being sought.

77/14

Discretionary Rate Relief - New Build Empty Properties (Agenda item 10) pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Report of Ellen Jolly, Executive Member for Finance & Democratic Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Finance & Democratic Services presented the report which was to consider and adopt the Discretionary Rate Relief Guidelines in relation to new build properties.  She proposed new wording for the recommendation as she felt it was not entirely clear that it was for business rates only.

 

The Government had introduced a new temporary measure for unoccupied new builds with the intention of giving the construction sector renewed confidence by making such properties exempt from unoccupied property rates for up to 18 months.

 

The Executive Member for Finance & Democratic Services said that this was encouraging news for Breckland’s business community as this exemption would allow developers extra time to find tenants. 

 

The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development said that this was good news for entrepreneurs, for those people who wanted to build commercial properties as they would not be subject to business rates for 18 months. He hoped that this would increase the local economy.

 

Councillor Joel felt that communication was key and he urged the Cabinet to get this message out to all concerned.  The Chairman assured Members that a list of contacts was being created and the planning department was preparing to write to individuals advising them of this change. Councillor Borrett pointed out that the Chamber of Commerce should be added to the list of contacts.

 

It was suggested that BT should be approached to ask if superfast broadband could be connected to businesses free of charge as it already did for residential developments.

 

Options

 

  • Not to agree this additional guideline; however, this would not help the authority to support businesses and encourage economic growth in the District.

 

  • To agree the Discretionary Rate Relief Guidelines for New Build Empty Business Properties as attached at Appendix A of the report.

 

Reasons

 

It is good practice for local authorities to have up to date Discretionary Rate Relief guidelines.  Schemes using the localism provisions need to be properly adopted.

 

RESOLVED that the Council’s Discretionary Business Rate Relief Guidelines to include New Build Empty Business Properties Relief be adopted.

78/14

Reference from the Overview and Scrutiny Commission (Agenda item 11)

To consider references, if any, from the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 28 August 2014.

Minutes:

None.

79/14

Anglia Revenues and Benefits Partnership (Agenda item 12) pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Report of the Joint Committee meeting held on 30 June 2014.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Anglia Revenues and Benefits Partnership meeting held on 30 June 2014 be noted.

80/14

Member Development Panel (for information) (Agenda item 13) pdf icon PDF 60 KB

To note the Minutes of the meeting held on 3 July 2014.

Minutes:

The Chairman of the Member Development Panel advised that the Panel were just entering into the phase of training and simulation in relation to new Members.  This work would be taking place over the next few months.

 

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Member Development Panel meeting held on 3 July 2014 be noted.

81/14

Next Meeting (Agenda item 14)

To note that the date of the next Cabinet meeting is Wednesday, 22 October 2014 at 9.30am in the Anglia Room.

Minutes:

The arrangements for the next Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, 22 October at 9.30am in the Anglia Room were noted.