Agenda and minutes

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

Items
No. Item

31/15

Minutes (Agenda item 1) pdf icon PDF 91 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 24 February 2015.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 24 February 2015 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

32/15

Apologies (Agenda item 2)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Mark Kiddle-Morris and Ian Sherwood.

33/15

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.

34/15

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:

None.

35/15

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:

Councillors M Chapman-Allen, S Matthews, B Borrett, P Claussen, P Cowen, P Duigan, J Rogers and F Sharpe.

36/15

Chairman's Announcements (Agenda item 6)

Minutes:

The Chairman announced that he had appointed Councillor T Carter to the Local Plan Working Group.

37/15

Performance Overview Report - Quarter 3 2014/15 (Agenda item 7) pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced Greg Pearson, the Council’s new Corporate Improvement & Performance Manager.

 

Members were provided with an update on the Council’s performance for the period 1 October 2014 to 31 December 2014.

 

The Quarter 3 Performance Report (attached at appendix A) provided Members and residents with information about the Council’s delivery against its Corporate Priorities and on the Council’s Corporate Health.  A summary was provided.

 

Areas of concern, where performance was below anticipated outcome or was worsening had been discussed at the Officer led Performance Board and had been reported through to the Corporate Management Team in February 2015.

 

The number of Corporate Projects had increased since Quarter 2 due to a review of the projects being undertaken following the closedown of the 2011-2015 Corporate Plan. 

 

The key performance indicators were highlighted.  There had not been any areas of significant improvement during Quarter 3 with the status of the majority of indicators remaining unchanged.

 

The areas of concern were highlighted.  These indicators were either not achieving minimum standards or performance had fallen significantly since Quarter 2.  Remedial action was being taken.

 

Referring to the areas of concern in relation to the net capital expenditure and the overall income against the budget, the Executive Member for Finance advised that the expenditure element was in relation to projects that had not as yet been delivered.  This was largely made up of £6.5m for Riverside which had been carried forward to 2015/16.  In relation to the overall income against the budget, Members were informed that the budget had recently been recast and in doing so closer monitoring of the net budget position would be built into the Performance Framework for 2015/16 onwards.  The Executive Member for Finance thanked the Finance Team for all their hard work on these matters.

 

The Chairman of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission (O&SC) said that he would be reserving his questions until the O&SC meeting on Thursday, 26 March 2015.  The Corporate Improvement & Performance Manager explained that in normal circumstances the Performance Report would have been discussed at the O&SC meeting first but due to the Cabinet meeting being brought forward from April, due to the Purdah period, on this occasion it had not been possible.

 

The report was otherwise noted.

38/15

Breckland Community Funding Applications (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 62 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Vice-Chairman and Executive Member for Community & Environmental Services presented the report.

 

She informed Members that applications for the Participatory Budget Scheme had now closed and the results were being analysed on Wednesday, 25 March 2015.

 

The Match Funding applications received since the previous meeting were highlighted, these included:

 

  • £3,000 towards Wayland Festival
  • £1,400 towards Garboldisham Amateur Dramatics Society; and
  • £1,215 towards new steps into the graveyard at North Elmham Church.

 

The Cabinet was being asked to support the Match Funding grant of £20,000 for Carbrooke Parish Council towards the Blenheim Grange Play Area.   

 

Councillor Chapman-Allen, the Ward Member for Garboldisham, was very pleased to receive the award for the Amateur Dramatic Society as it would enable them to purchase roving microphones. 

 

Councillor Rogers, the Ward Member for Carbrooke, urged the Cabinet to support the recommendation as there were not any play areas in this vicinity. 

 

Councillor Borrett, the Ward Member for North Elmham thanked Members for the funding awarded to North Elmham Church.  Although a small sum it was crucial for the work that needed to be done.

 

The recommendation for the Carbrooke application was highlighted and was unanimously supported.

 

Options

 

  • Fully fund the funding application as set out in the report
  • Part fund the funding application as set out in the report
  • Do nothing

 

Reasons

 

The Grant Panel has looked at this funding application and the majority supported this funding request with an overall average score of 25 which is above the minimum required.

 

RESOLVED that a Match Funding grant of £20,000 be awarded to Carbrooke Parish Council for the Blenheim Grange Play Area project, subject to:

 

·         confirmation that all other funding is in place

·         a maximum of £20,000 or 26.5% of the total project costs whichever is the lowest; and

·         any other conditions arising from Member comment on Sharepoint.

39/15

Delegated Powers under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 (Agenda item 9) pdf icon PDF 6 MB

Report of Gordon Bambridge, Executive Member for Democratic Services & Public Protection.

Minutes:

The Licensing & Business Support Manager presented the report that asked Members to amend delegated powers in respect of the functions under the Scrap Metal Act 2013.

 

The initial interpretation which had been shared by many other authorities had been to delegate such powers to a Committee.  Limited information had been received from the Home Office; however, following best practice and further legal consultation, it was proposed to amend the delegation in accordance with the most recent legal advice received.  It had been confirmed that this was an executive function and therefore, Cabinet was being asked to delegate all the powers and functions of the Council under the Scrap Metal Act 2013 to Chief Officers.  In respect of determinations where representations were received and there was a proposal to refuse an application or revoke a licence, the Portfolio Holder for Democratic Services and Public Protection in consultation with the Chief Officer would hear the representations with the applicant/holders representation before determining the application.

 

The Monitoring Officer suggested that the wording contained in the recommendation should be amended to reflect the wording at paragraph 2.3 of the report.

 

Councillor Kybird asked if this removed any right of appeal.  Members were informed that there was a mechanism in place for the right of appeal to the Magistrates court.

 

The Executive Member for Democratic Services & Public Protection assured Members that these representations would not be entirely a Chief Officer’s decision there would be a gathering with the Portfolio Holder.  In fact, all rights would remain the same; it was just about taking a slightly different path.

 

It was agreed that the recommendation should be amended to reflect the wording at paragraph 2.3 of the report.

 

Options

 

  • Make amendments to the Constitution as proposed;
  • Make alternative amendments to the Constitution; or
  • Leave the delegation in respect of the Scrap Metal Act 2013 as it currently stands.

 

Reasons

 

To meet legislative requirements and to ensure all decisions are correct.

 

RESOLVED that the amendments to the Breckland Council Constitution to exercise functions in accordance with the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 be authorised as follows:

 

“All the powers and functions of the Council under the Scrap Metal Act 2013 to be delegated to Chief Officers from Cabinet”.

40/15

Neighbourhood Plan Resource - Role and Scope (Agenda item 10) pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Report of Michael Wassell, Leader of the Council.

Minutes:

At the Cabinet meeting on 24 February 2015 and subsequent Council meeting on 26 February, Members had agreed to support top-up funding for Town & Parish Councils that had committed to produce a Neighbourhood Plan.  Members had also recognised that this would likely increase demand for Plans to be prepared with consequential impact on resources and had therefore agreed to release a sum of £50,000 from the Organisational Development Reserve to provide a fixed term resource to be a single point of contact within the Council’s retained Planning function.

 

The Deputy Planning Manager highlighted the benefits that this post would bring.

 

Option 1

 

To consider the report and agree the role and scope of the proposed Neighbourhood Plan Coordinator role which will provide a single point of contact for communities preparing Neighbourhood Plans.

 

Option 2

 

Do nothing.

 

Reasons

 

To provide a framework for the scope of the proposed Neighbourhood Plan resource and its duration. 

 

RESOLVED  that the role and scope of the Neighbourhood Plan Coordinator role be endorsed to provide a single point of contact for communities preparing Neighbourhood Plans.

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Changes to Neighbourhood Plan Area Designation (Agenda item 11) pdf icon PDF 68 KB

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

Minutes:

The Deputy Planning Manager presented the report that advised Members of the changes to the Neighbourhood Planning regulations and sought delegation to officers to confirm Neighbourhood areas.

 

The Government had consulted on a range of changes to various aspects of the Planning System to further streamline a range of regulatory processes.  As part of that consultation, it had been proposed that the current regulations relating to the designation of Neighbourhood Areas should be amended.  The effect of these changes was a reduction in the time specified for consultation on Neighbourhood Plan areas submitted on a single Parish basis.  The publication period had been reduced to 4 weeks and in addition, a ‘backstop’ deadline now applied that for a single Parish application for a Neighbourhood Plan area to be confirmed must be within a total time of 8 weeks from first publication.  Furthermore, a multi-parish Neighbourhood Plan application must be subject to a minimum of 6 weeks.

 

The recommendation contained in the report asked for delegation in a number of circumstances to speed up the process.  The proposed approach had been highlighted in section 1.13 of the report.

 

Councillor Borrett did not have any questions to ask but wanted to make a statement of support.  He felt that these changes would add clarity to the whole process and involving local communities in developing their communities was, in his opinion, excellent.

 

The Chairman pointed out that Neighbourhood Plans were not always the correct solution for every parish and gave an example of what Shipdham was putting forward. 

 

Option 1

 

To delegate authority to Officer to confirm or refuse Neighbourhood Plan areas that are submitted on a single Parish basis, and confirm multi-area Neighbourhood Plan applications that meet the criteria set out in the Town & Country Planning Act (1990) as amended, and have received no adverse comment to the contrary during the publication period.

 

Option 2

 

Cabinet delegate authority to Officers to confirm or refuse all Neighbourhood Plan area designations.

 

Option 3

 

Do nothing.

 

Reasons

 

Option 1 would enable the Council to ensure that Neighbourhood Plan applications are fully considered and designated within the prescribed periods set out in the regulations. Failure to do so would grant these applications in default.

 

RESOLVED that authority be delegated to Officers to confirm or refuse Neighbourhood Plan areas that are submitted on a single Parish basis, and confirm multi-area Neighbourhood Plan applications that meet the criteria as set out in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) and have received no adverse comment to the contrary during the publication period.

42/15

Mattishall Neighbourhood Plan - Plan Area Designation (Agenda item 12) pdf icon PDF 64 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Planning Manager presented the report and explained that the Council had received this valid application from Mattishall Parish Council before the new regulations.

 

The report asked Members to consider any strategic issues or consultation responses and to formally designate the Mattishall Neighbourhood Plan Area.

 

One objection in relation to an operation issue had been received. 

 

Councillor Claussen, a Ward Member for Mattishall urged the Cabinet to endorse this Neighbourhood Plan.  He mentioned the Group that had recently been formed called Mattishall Matters.  This Group was committed to supporting Breckland Council and the Parish Council in the creation of this Neighbourhood Plan and saw it as influencing the whole Planning Policy in relation to the lack of a five year land supply and the lack of infrastructure.  The Chairman felt that this was a great example of a community working together.

 

Councillor Borrett in his capacity as a Norfolk County Council Ward Member for Mattishall supported what had been said as there was a real concern about the level of development in Mattishall and he felt that the parish boundary proposed was perfectly correct for the village.  He had been very pleased to see sight of this report at the Cabinet meeting today and as such, felt that the support would be gratefully received.

 

The Chairman pointed out that Mattishall Parish Council should be encouraged to apply for funding from the Department of Communities for Local Government (DCLG) to enable the funding from Breckland Council to be applied.

 

Option 1

 

To endorse the Mattishall Neighbourhood Plan area boundary, following the full extent of the parish boundary as set out in Appendix A of the report.

 

Option 2

 

To consider the contents of the report and the Neighbourhood Plan area as submitted and designate an alternative plan area within Mattishall.

 

Reasons

 

The proposed boundary was considered appropriate to be designated without modification.  The area was considered to represent a logical boundary which would be suitable to meet the Plan aims as set out within their Neighbourhood Plan Statement and assessed against the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act.

 

RESOLVED that the Mattishall Neighbourhood Plan area boundary as set out at Appendix A of the report be confirmed.

43/15

BT Broadband Communications - Mundford Road, Thetford (Agenda item 13) pdf icon PDF 244 KB

Report of Trevor Carter, Executive Member for Assets.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Asset Management presented the report which concerned agreeing to a request from BT for the installation of a junction box on Council owned land at Mundford Road in Thetford for a fee of £750 which formed part of the Better Broadband for Norfolk project.

 

If Members were mindful to approve the recommendation it would highlight Breckland Council’s commitment to the roll-out of Broadband by BT.  Most of the junction boxes had been installed on Norfolk County Council’s land but this particular installation was not.  The Executive Member for Asset Management had no issues with this request; Breckland Council would be waiving its ability of process asking BT to pay at the price on offer and purchasing this plot for £750 without undertaking a valuation and it showed the goodwill between BT and the Council.

 

Councillor Kybird felt that the broadband speed was crucial for businesses on that estate and there was an insistence to improve Broadband availability across the District.

 

Councillor Borrett pointed out that Elsing had already had its junction boxes installed which had made a great deal of difference.  This proposal was the most common sense way forward in supporting the Broadband contract.  It had been a long time coming but it was now happening in villages across Breckland and he commended the Cabinet’s approach.

 

The Chairman of O&SC made a plea on behalf of the 1000s of people in the District who still did not have broadband.  He mentioned the meeting that he had attended in Snetterton with Karen O’Kane, the Programme Director for Better Broadband in Norfolk, where it had been found that farmers in the vicinity were having real issues with making payments on-line and had to employ agents at a cost.  He felt that BT could not have comprehended the difficulty of delivering broadband in rural communities and felt that all should lobby as much as possible to get broadband installed much faster.

 

The Chairman assured Members that Council Leaders were completely aware of these issues and were putting pressure on BT.  The importance of broadband was vital nowadays but was unfortunately very much in the hand of the deliverers (NCC and BT).  He would ensure that such pressure was maintained.

 

The Executive Member for Democratic Services & Public Protection endorsed option 1 of the report and pointed out that he had found that one of his parishes in his Ward would be the last village in Norfolk to receive broadband.  He agreed entirely to everything that had been said.

 

Option 1

 

Agree to the Standard Wayleave Agreement and fee of £750, without undertaking a valuation for the application from BT for a Wayleave at Mundford Road, Thetford and for all other applications for Wayleaves from BT where they form part of the Better Broadband for Norfolk project only. 

 

The Council affectively subsidises the Wayleave application against its real value and also contributes to the legal fees which would in any normal application be paid by the applicant  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43/15

44/15

Land at Oaks Close, Swaffham (Agenda item 14) pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Report of Trevor Carter, Executive Member for Assets and Elizabeth Gould, Executive Member for Planning Building Control and Housing.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Planning, Building Control & Housing presented the report which concerned the redevelopment of a redundant garage block resulting in the regeneration of an area of Swaffham through the creation of 6 new affordable dwellings.  A Restrictive Covenant would be lifted to release the rights of way and access on land previously owned by Breckland Council.

 

The Executive Member felt that this was a very exciting prospect as the garage blocks did not get used and Flagship was now in a position to develop this piece of land.  This was an amazing opportunity and a negotiating tool to get such houses, in this case, six affordable units, built in the future.

 

The Vice-Chairman supported the recommendation not only for the affordable housing but also for the reduction in anti-social behaviour which would make the area a much better place to live.

 

The Chairman of O&SC asked the Cabinet to ensure that these particular houses were offered to local people first; unlike what had happened in Thompson.  In response, the Executive Member for Planning, Building Control & Housing advised that there would be such a clause included but getting the appropriate people in the right properties was not always possible.

 

The Vice-Chairman of O&SC was very pleased with the report which should ultimately unlock additional funding.  He asked; however, that if the dwellings changed from two bed to one would six still be built.  Members were informed that the planning permission had not as yet been received but the suggestion was for six dwellings notwithstanding the amount of beds.

 

It was suggested that the words “at least” should be added to the recommendation so “at least” six dwellings would be built.

 

Option 1

 

Release the relevant restrictive covenants, rights of way and rights of access and the transfer of land within Breckland Council’s ownership to Flagship Housing for the provision of 6 new affordable housing units and obtain £35,000 as per Flagship Housing’s proposal.  In taking this option the Council foregoes £60,000 in exchange for the wider regeneration and housing supply benefits that are created in that area. 

 

Option 2

 

Release the relevant restrictive covenants, rights of way and rights of access and the transfer of land within Breckland Council’s ownership to Flagship Housing for the provision of 6 new affordable housing units for £95,000.

 

Option 3

 

To release the restrictive covenant for the rights of way and rights of access to facilitate the access to No. 8 Oaks Drive only for the sum of £35,000 and defer the request for the re-development of the garages to a later date once Flagship have secured planning permission.

 

Option 4

 

Do nothing.

 

Reasons

 

The following reasons supports Option 1:

 

  • Enable the provision of 6 much needed affordable housing units.  Flagship has confirmed that 100% of these units will at first be let to people on the Breckland Council housing waiting list.  Flagship has confirmed that they are unable to pay anything more than £35,000, else the scheme is unviable.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44/15

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Breckland Open for Business Report (Agenda item 15) pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Report of Michael Wassell, Leader of the Council and Mark Kiddle-Morris, Executive Member for Strategic Development.

Minutes:

The Economic Development Manager presented the revised report. 

 

Breckland Council clearly had a pivotal role within the District’s growth agenda to fulfil its commitment to developing the local economy to be vibrant with continued growth.  This approach if adopted would help sustain and deliver the Council’s recently approved Corporate Plan over the next 4 years.

 

The second recommendation concerned the Meet the Buyer event which would generally help inform local businesses of the range of contract opportunities available at the Council and would demonstrate how it could help local awareness and ability to win business for its goods and services contracts.

 

The Chairman mentioned the very successful Open for Business event held in Snetterton and felt that there should be more as the Council had received many enquiries from this meeting.

 

Roger Atterwill was in attendance on behalf of the newly formed Dereham Business Forum.  The Forum’s aim was to engage with, promote and support the Dereham Business community. 

 

Mr Atterwill had taken the trouble of reading the recently published Breckland Retail Study which he had found to be a very comprehensive piece of work for which, he felt the Council should be commended.  He felt that its findings had been very interesting but not surprising as at the time of the 2014 Land Use survey there were 26 vacant units in Dereham town centre representing 11.1% of the total units.  Since the Retail Study was published in December 2014, much had been written in the local press highlighting an alarming further increase in the number of units becoming vacant.  Another statistic worth noting in the report was that 14.1% of the town’s retail units were now occupied by Charity or second hand shops.  This was not a situation that was unique to Dereham.  Charities wishing to move into empty units had a distinct advantage as they were entitled to 80% relief on business rates.  He was not trying to deprive the good work undertaken by such shops but he hoped that the Cabinet would agree that it was imperative that wealth creating small businesses should be encouraged to get a foothold in the town and perhaps provide some financial support in the early months and years whilst they tried to establish their businesses.

 

The Retail Study paragraph 7.26 stated that “the capacity projections suggest around 7,500sq.m gross of Class A1 to A5 could be provided in Dereham by 2036 of which around 4,400sq.m gross was for comparison goods floorspace.  The reasonable proportion (perhaps 25%) of this projection could be accommodated in vacant premises.  The short term priority up to 2021 should be reoccupation of vacant shop units.

 

With all this in mind, and having regard for Breckland’s new “Open for Business” agenda, Mr Atterwill said that he would be grateful if Members could advise him of how the Council could help prospective small retail businesses in Dereham to help the targets set in the study to be achieved.  One key area where he thought Breckland Council could help was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45/15

46/15

Next Meeting (Agenda item 16)

To note that the date of the next Cabinet meeting will be Tuesday, 9 June 2015 at 9.30am in the Anglia Room.

Minutes:

The arrangements for the next meeting on Tuesday, 9 June 2015 at 9.30am in the Anglia Room were noted.

 

As this was the last meeting until after the Elections, the Chairman thanked all Members of the Cabinet past and present as all had achieved a great deal over the past four years.