Agenda and minutes

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

Items
No. Item

104/15

Minutes (Agenda Item 1) pdf icon PDF 106 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 3 November 2015.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 3 November 2015 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

105/15

Apologies (Agenda Item 2)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

None.

106/15

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.

107/15

Declaration of Interests (Agenda Item 4)

Members are reminded that under the Code of Conduct they are not to participate in 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 that they have, in relation to an agenda item that supports the Nolan principles detailed within the Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

Councillor Wilkinson declared an interest in Agenda Item 10, as Ward Member.

108/15

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 Bambridge, Borrett, Claussen, Cowen, M Chapman-Allen, Darby, Duigan, Jermy, Joel, Martin, Matthews and Sharpe were in attendance.

109/15

Chairman's Announcements (Agenda Item 6)

Minutes:

None.

110/15

Breckland Community Funding Applications (Agenda Item 7)

Verbal update from the Executive Member for Place.

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Place advised that there was currently one application under consideration.  It was for a grant to strengthen the roof of Tittleshall Village Hall.

 

111/15

Draft Budget setting, Medium Term Plan (MTP) and Capital Strategy (Agenda Item 8) pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Finance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Finance introduced the report which was presented at the last Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting.

 

The draft budget presented no issues and a balanced budget for 2016/17.  The recent Government Autumn Review Statement had announced a phased reduction of the Revenue Support Grant (RSG).  This had been budgeted for and therefore caused no issues.  The New Homes Bonus (NHB) would be phased out over 4 years.  The revenue from the RSG and the NHB would provide funding for an Investment Fund and a Growth Fund.  A gap of £806k needed to be met by savings/additional income over the coming four years, but it was thought this would be met by generation projects from Breckland Bridge.

 

Councillor Jolly congratulated the Section 151 Officer and the team for anticipating the budget.  Breckland was in a strong position, not only with a balanced budget but also for the future in the setting up of the Investment and Growth Funds.

 

Councillor Cowen agreed and said the budget had been presented at the last Overview and Scrutiny meeting and it had been the most easily understood presentation he had seen on Finance.

 

The Chairman said this demonstrated the Council were looking to the future, and it was a credit to the Portfolio Holder and the Officers involved.

 

OPTIONS

1.    That the draft capital and revenue budget estimates, the medium term financial plan and the capital strategy are released for consultation.

 

2.    There are no alternative options presented, however amendments may be made before release for consultation.

 

REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATION

To comply with the budgetary and policy framework.

 

RESOLVED that the draft capital and revenue budget estimates, the medium term financial plan and the capital strategy be released for consultation.

 

112/15

Quarter 2 Financial Performance Report 2015-16 (Agenda Item 9) pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Finance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Finance presented the report and informed Members there was a capital budget true underspend of £190k as a result of projects not continuing.  These underspends would be utilised for future years capital budgets.

 

The Chairman said this was sound financial management, and the Council were on top of the financial performance.

 

OPTIONS

1.    To note the report and approve the virements in table 4 of section 1 of the appendix.

2.    To note the report and not approve the virements in table 4 of section 1 of the appendix.

 

REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATION

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

 

            RESOLVED that:

1.    That the report and appendix be noted.

2.    That the revenue virements in table 4 of section 1 of the appendix be approved.

 

113/15

Land at Denny's Walk, Narborough (Agenda Item 10) pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Place.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Place presented the report and informed Members that Flagship had approached the Authority with a proposal to redevelop the site; replacing the existing units with 33 properties, 31 of which would be affordable homes. 

 

In order for the development to continue, Flagship had requested the release of restrictive covenants. 

 

The District Valuer originally provided a figure of £50,000 but following changes this had been revised down to £26,000 based on Flagships proposals.  Flagship were unable to proceed for more than £1 in order to obtain funding for the redevelopment.

 

Breckland needed housing to be built and it was recommended that the council waiver the £26,000.

 

Councillor Dimoglou said it was a good proposal and the Council would receive new Homes Bonus and the properties would be included in the Council Tax base in the future.

 

Councillor Bambridge approved of the proposal but asked if there would be other forms of affordable housing.

 

The Executive Director for Place said that there would be two Private houses and the remaining would be social housing.  The makeup and style of the application had been to the recent Planning Committee where it was approved subject to conditions.

 

OPTIONS

1.    Release the relevant Restrictive Covenants contained in the Conveyances for 8 and 12 Denny’s Way, Narborough for £1 and impose new covenants requiring the land be used for affordable housing.  In taking this option the Council foregoes £26,000 in exchange for the wider regeneration and housing supply benefits that are created in that area. 

 

2.    Release the relevant restrictive covenants for £26,000.  This option would significantly limit the willingness of the Homes and Communities Agency to directly invest new grant funding into the scheme, and therefore call into question both the financial viability and local authority support for the scheme

 

3.    Do nothing.

 

REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATION

The following reasons support Option 1:

 

  • Enable the provision of 33 new homes, 31 of which are much needed affordable housing units.  Flagship has confirmed that 4 of the affordable homes will be direct lets to Flagship customers already living in existing properties that are to be redeveloped and the remaining 27 affordable homes will be allocated through people on the Breckland Council housing waiting list.  Flagship has confirmed that they are unable to pay anything more than £1 to release the covenants, due to the nature of the Homes and Communities grant funding regime for new affordable housing.

 

  • This will allow the re-development of an area in Narborough (subject to planning permission) and makes better use of sites.

 

  • Provision of energy efficient housing.

 

  • Enables development of two new private residential units.

 

  • There are currently approximately ,3 3000 households across the entire waiting list for Breckland with approximately 550 households in the priority bands of Gold and Silver (being those in most need of re-housing).  Apprximately 2400 of those households have expressed a wish to reside in Narborough.

 

114/15

Smoke Free Play Areas and Zones (Agenda Item 11) pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Public Protection.

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Public Protection proposed to introduce smoke-free zones in play areas across the district.  This was not about preventing people from smoking, but asking them to smoke more responsibly away from where children may be affected and exposed to harmful tobacco smoke.

 

The project would be delivered over two phases.  Phase 1 would introduce a voluntary code for smoke-free play areas across the district.  This would require consultation and co-operation with owners of the play areas and the Town & Parish Councils. Phase 2 would introduce a voluntary code for smoke free areas outside school entrances and children’s nurseries.  It was anticipated Phase 1 would be launched in March 2016 with Phase 2 commencing in April 2016.

 

Councillor Bambridge thought it was a good idea and had already contacted the Executive Member to say that he recently attended an event in Thetford where a member of the public had approached him overjoyed with the idea.

 

The Chairman said that there had been publicity about this, and the Executive Member for Public Protection had been interviewed on Radio Norfolk.

 

Councillor Jermy added this would have an impact on littering in that it would stop people from dropping cigarette butts.  He asked if there would be fines introduced as part of the campaign.

 

The Executive Manager for Public Protection said that at this stage the campaign would be voluntary and felt that imposing fines would impact on what the voluntary code was trying to achieve.

 

OPTIONS

1.    Do nothing. This will result in no further action being taken.

2.    To approve the proposed project.

3.    To approve the proposed action in principle but make minor amendments.

 

REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATION

Smoking in the presence of children ‘normalises’ smoking behaviour. It is widely accepted that children are more likely to smoke, if they see adults around them smoking. By introducing voluntary smoke free areas it will help reduce the prevalence of smoking in young persons and adults.

 

Medical and Scientific Opinion is that there is no safe level of second hand tobacco smoke. Successful implementation of this proposal will enable children to play in a healthy place without exposure to harmful second hand tobacco smoke. This will  lead to a particular improvement  in play areas which are walled, solidly fenced or poorly ventilated

 

Introducing a voluntary smoke free code in these areas will reduce the amount of tobacco related litter. Therefore improving the local environment and generally making the area more attractive and pleasant.

 

Encouraging local children to design signs to be displayed, will encourage Pride in Breckland and the environment generally.

 

RESOLVED that the introduction of a voluntary smoke free code at all public play areas/parks, entrances to schools and children’s nurseries throughout the district of Breckland be appointed.

115/15

Local Plan Preferred Directions (Agenda Item 12) pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Growth.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Growth introduced the report.  He updated Members on changes that had been made to the documents including the use of pastel shades; all maps would be included in the documents when they were sent out for consultation; and, the documents reflected the rural nature of Breckland District.

 

The Planning Policy Team Manager thanked Members for their input into the documents, which were now ready for consultation with stakeholders and the public.  The report provided Members with a detailed outline of how the Local Plan had been set out. 

 

The purpose of the Preferred Directions Consultation was to outline the Council’s preferred policy direction on strategic issues, its preferred development management policies and the range of emerging site options.

 

A key area was Strategic policy which was based on the level of growth and represented a reduction from the current Core Strategy target of 780 dwellings per year to 597.  68% of growth remained directed towards Thetford and Attleborough and a number of settlements had also become Local Service Centres.  A Settlement Boundary review of the rural settlements currently with Settlement Boundaries would be carried out as part of the process at later stages.

 

The Emerging Site Options document (Appendix 2) contained maps of the site options in the settlements identified as the proposed development hierarchy including Local Service Centres. Following a request from the Executive Member an assurance was given by the Policy Team Leader that the maps would be reviewed and the rural maps included before the document went out to consultation.

 

It was proposed that the Affordable Housing target would be 36% which reflected information provided from the Strategic Housing Market Assessment.  However the final figure would be subject to a viability assessment and would be reported to the Local Plan Working Group.

 

The Development Management Policies had been reviewed and updated against the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework and would remain flexible.

 

Parking standards had been incorporated as requested by the Executive Member and incorporated into the principles of Housing Policy where the issues of off-street parking provision would be addressed during the application process.

 

A Technical Standard Policy had been introduced with a requirement for 5% of properties to include disabled access and adaptability to properties in order to evoke a requirement in Building regulations through the Local Plan; however this percentage remained flexible and recommendation could change following the consultation and further evidence.

 

Updated maps of Swaffham and Dereham had been circulated to Members and would be included in the consultation documents.

 

It was proposed that a six-week consultation process would commence on 11 January – 22 February 2016.  A communications plan was in the process of being developed and Members would be informed in due course.

 

Councillor Bambridge asked if there would be public meetings within Breckland to discuss the proposals.  In addition he asked if the developments would include affordable housing and not just social rented housing.  The Chairman said that the communications plan would be discussed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 115/15

116/15

Next Meeting (Agenda Item 13)

To note that the next meeting of Cabinet will be held on Tuesday 5 January 2016 at 09.30am in the Anglia Room, Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham NR19 1EE.

 

Minutes:

The arrangements for the next meeting to be held on 5 January 2016 were noted.