Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Breckland Conference Centre, Anglia Room, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham, NR19 1EE

Items
No. Item

Opening Remarks

The Chief Executive opened the meeting to inform Members that both the Chairman, Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen and the Vice-Chairman, Councillor Paul Claussen were unable to attend the meeting.  Therefore, in line with Standing Order 34 Members of the Cabinet were asked to propose a Chairman for the meeting. 

 

Following a proposal, which was duly seconded, it was agreed that Councillor Ian Sherwood be appointed as Chairman of the meeting.

 

Councillor Sherwood in the Chair.

 

13/22

Minutes pdf icon PDF 155 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 10 January 2022.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 10 January 2022 were confirmed as a correct record.

14/22

Apologies

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Sam Chapman-Allen, Claussen and Cowen.

15/22

Urgent Business

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.

16/22

Declaration of Interests

The duties to register, disclose and not to participate for the entire consideration of the matter, in respect of any matter in which a Member has a disclosable pecuniary interest are set out in Chapter 7 of the Localism Act 2011.  Members are also required to withdraw from the meeting room as stated in the Standing Orders of this Council.

 

Minutes:

None.

17/22

Non-Members Wishing to Address the Meeting

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

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed all Members present to the meeting.

18/22

Chairman's Announcements (If Any)

Minutes:

Councillor Sherwood was aware of concerns around Dereham and in particular the increase in youths involved in violence and the unfortunate stabbing that had happened recently.   Councillor Webb reassured Members that her team were working closely with the Police, Norfolk County Council, Youth workers and Mind and it was hoped that a youth hub would be provided.

19/22

Breckland Community Funding Applications (Standing Item)

To consider the grants put forward (if any). 

Minutes:

Councillor Alison Webb, Executive Member for Housing, Health and Communities was delighted to announce that the Council had a number of schemes in place to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.  This would include a bursary scheme to provide financial assistance to access higher education for those eligible who wish to seek a formal qualification to demonstrate enrichment of the environment or wellbeing. 

Additionally, the Council buildings would be lit purple, there would be a shop-front trail, tree planting, and match-funding of up to £500 for community groups who wished to celebrate the Jubilee.  Further details would be shared over the coming weeks.

 

Councillor Birt said that there would be grants available for Parishes and yet a clerk within his ward said that there was no information available and felt that time was getting on if villages wished to do something.  Councillor Webb confirmed that there would not be grants available for parishes, but that there would be match-funding available from the 2nd June for community groups.

 

The Executive Member went on to inform members that £167,500 of the £193,200 Household Support Fund had been allocated and the scheme had been paused whilst the Council applied for further funds for the scheme. 

 

20/22

Budget Setting, Medium Term Financial Plan and Capital Strategy 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 250 KB

Report of Councillor Philip Cowen, Executive Member for Finance, Revenue and Benefits.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Ian Sherwood presented the report on behalf of the Executive Member for Finance, Revenue and Benefits. 

 

Since the draft budget had been presented at the previous Cabinet meeting it had also been discussed at the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting on the 27th January.   It was proposed to Members that the recommendations listed within the report be recommended to Full Council.

 

He was particularly highlighted that the report put forward a balanced budget for 2022-23 despite the challenging times and would continue to protect frontline services and invest in the corporate priorities and fund initiatives.  The budget proposed an increase of the annual council tax by £4.95 for a band D property.

 

The draft budget had been based on no reliance of the New Homes Bonus funding; whilst there would be a receipt of £830k of New Homes Bonus it would be allocated to the Inclusive Growth Reserve. 

 

In addition, the hardship fund had been increased by £35k to £100k.

 

Councillor Hewett said that it was a challenging time ahead for parishes, districts and county councils, and all needed to continue to pull together to work through the uncertainties.  He was pleased to see that there continued to be a balanced budget and that the Council would continue to meet the corporate objectives to ensure businesses and residents continued to thrive.

 

Councillor Jermy acknowledged that there had been significant demand on housing and homelessness and therefore an increase in cost.  He asked how robust the budget was to deal with the housing and homelessness issue.  He was concerned that the council had suspended the Household Support Fund but was pleased to hear that the additional funding had been applied for.  He asked for an update on the hardship fund as he was aware that the Household support fund was oversubscribed but yet the Hardship fund was undersubscribed.

 

Councillor Webb assured members that the team were making great strides in securing homes and recognised that there was a shortage of housing for those that required it.  She went on to say that it would be cost effective to house those that were homeless within the accommodation that was being provided at Elm Road but was aware that there were some people that were homeless that did not want to be accommodated..  Councillor Webb would update Members with the latest figures of the Hardship Fund.

 

Councillor Birt pointed out that the figures within the fees and charges for Hackney Carriage and Private Carriage were different to those that were currently being consulted on and asked why this was the case.  The Executive Member for Waste and Environment said that the Private Hire Vehicle charges had not been increased for 7-years, and that it had been calculated and based on a 5-year period not a 3-year period.  However, he would respond in detail to this question with Councillor Birt.

 

Councillor Birt had also noted that £50k had been allocated in the Capital budget to provide an access road for the wind-turbines  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/22

21/22

Armed forces mobilisation policy pdf icon PDF 211 KB

Report of Councillor Ian Sherwood, Executive Member for People, Communications and Governance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Ian Sherwood, Executive Member for People, Communications and Governance presented the report that recommended a new policy to support the mobilisation of employees who were in the armed forces. 

 

The reservist policy showed the commitment as an organisation when those in the armed forces or reservist roles applied to the Council.  There would be an offer of a guaranteed interview subject to meeting the minimum requirements, as well as providing a further 2-weeks for those undertaking reservist roles. 

 

Councillor Robinson was pleased to see the report and felt that it gave assurances that Breckland continued to provide support to those in the armed forces or reservist roles.

 

Councillor Webb also supported the report.

 

Councillor Hewett said it was fantastic that those who had achieved skills within the armed forces, would be able to utilise these and bring those skills to careers within the Council.

 

Councillor Kybird welcomed the positive support especially as part of his Ward included the Stanta training ground, where many reservists trained.

 

In response to a question, it was noted that no reservists were currently employed by the Council.

 

Councillor Sherwood appreciated that being a reservist did have an impact on family life and knowing that an employer recognised such service would enable the Council to be an attractive employer to both ex-military personnel and reservists.

 

Options

1)    Implement the reservist and mobilisation policy and any associated procedures.

2)    Do nothing

 

Reason for Recommendation

To support the Council’s ambition to be a gold armed forces covenant organisation.

 

RESOLVED that the Armed Forces mobilisation policy and associated procedures be approved.

22/22

Quarter 3 financial performance report 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 134 KB

Report of Councillor Philip Cowen, Executive Member for Finance Revenues and Benefits.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Paul Hewett, Executive Member for Property & Projects presented the report that considered information on the forecast full year financial position of the Council as at 31 December 2021.

 

Councillor Jermy noted that there were significant variances with housing benefit claims and asked for these to be explained.  He had taken a keen interest in the Elm Road development but asked what the next project would be.

 

Councillor Webb inform members that Elm Road had progressed well and hoped to open the facility in the coming weeks.  She also assured Members that her team were looking to the future and recognised that temporary accommodation was needed and safe places were provided.

 

In response to Councillor Jermy’s concern, Alison Chubbock, the Assistant Director for Finance and S151 Officer confirmed that the Housing Benefit would reduce significantly once the new facilities were in force.  The percentage figure was not something that could be sourced as it was not known how much the demand would have increased by.

 

Councillor Webb added that over the last 2-months temporary accommodation had reduced due to the hard work of the Housing Team.

 

Options:

Option 1:

1)    That the report and appendix be noted

2)    That the revenues and benefits reserve is used to smooth the financial effect of the NNDR levy and surplus between 2021-22 and 2022-23 years as detailed in paragraph 1.5

3)    That the overspend at the 31 March 2022 is funded from the Growth & Investment Reserve

4)    That the S31 Government grants additional 60% received in advance for the NNDR retail rate relief provided to businesses is held in the revenues and benefits reserve at the end of the year to cover the spend in 2022-23.

 

Option 2: Do nothing.

 

Reasons for Recommendation(s)

To provide timely information to Members on the overall financial position of the Council, enabling resource re-allocation to priorities where necessary and protecting the General fund balance.

 

To enable approved capital projects to continue to deliver in the new financial year.

 

RESOLVED:

1)    That the report and appendix be noted.

 

Recommend to FULL COUNCIL:

 

2)    That the revenues and benefits reserve is used to smooth the financial effect of the NNDR levy and surplus between 2021-22 and 2022-23 years as detailed in paragraph 1.5 of the report.

 

3)    That the overspend at the 31 March 2022 is funded from the Growth & Investment Reserve.

 

4)    That the S31 Government grants additional 60% received in advance for the NNDR retail rate relief provided to businesses is held in the revenues and benefits reserve at the end of the year to cover the spend in 2022-23.

 

23/22

Q3 Performance report pdf icon PDF 210 KB

Report of Councillor Mark Robinson, Executive Member for Customer, Digital and Performance.

 

                                                  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Mark Robinson, Executive Member for Customer, Digital and Performance presented the report that provided an overview of the Council’s performance for the period 1st October to 31st December 2021.

 

The report reflected the new suite of indicators and did not contain data for comparison due to it not previously having been recorded.  The report also included information on the Council’s Covid response statistics to show the Council’s continued commitment to respond to the pandemic and the information would continue to feed into the Resilience Forum.

 

Councillor Morton asked what unit had been used to measure the water usage shown in Appendix C of the report.  Whilst it was suggested that it had been measured using cubic metres the exact unit of measurement would be confirmed.

 

Members noted the content of the report.

24/22

High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) Swaffham Conservation Area Appraisal and Masterplan pdf icon PDF 224 KB

Report of Councillor Paul Claussen, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economic Development and Growth.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Mark Robinson, Executive Member for Customer, Digital and Performance presented the report in the Deputy Leaders absence.  The report requested approval for public consultation for the draft conservation area appraisal document and draft masterplan document for Swaffham. 

 

Breckland Council were working in partnership with Historic England as part of their High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme in Swaffham.  The programme was originally planned to start in March 2020 and had been severely impacted by the restrictions and knock-on effect from the pandemic.  However, through close work with Historic England, Swaffham Town Council and partners the programme had been reconfigured to conclude within the required timescales and operate within the budget allowed.

 

Councillor Hewett was glad to see the plan was on track and that the masterplan had been thoroughly detailed.

 

Councillor Sherwood said that as a Ward member for Swaffham he was pleased with the high level of engagement that had been undertaken and thanked the Council for enabling it to happen. 

 

Options:

1)    To approve the recommendations.

2)    To not approve the recommendations and ask for further review.

 

Reasons for Recommendations

The production and adoption of the Conservation Area Appraisal for Swaffham town centre would allow for the planning department at Breckland Council to review applications in accordance with up to date and relevant planning policy guidance. The recommendation would ensure that it was a usable and practical document that fulfils its requirements to the public. 

The production of the masterplan focused on small scale and large improvements that could be made in Swaffham town centre and in the public realm. The recommendation allowed for the document to go to public consultation to allow for members of the public to view and comment on the proposals put forward in the report.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1)    The public consultation of the draft conservation area appraisal from 8th February 2022 to 4th March 2022 (Appendix B of the report) be approved.

 

2)    The public consultation of the draft stage 3 and 4 report of the Masterplan from 8th February 2022 to 4th March 2022 (Appendix C of the report) be approved.

 

3)    The progress being made in the HSHAZ Project be noted, and that a follow-up report would follow for Cabinet to consider the results of the public consultation before adoption.

 

25/22

Next Meeting

To note that the date of the next meeting of Cabinet will be held on Monday 21 March at 9.30am, in the Anglia Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham.

Minutes:

The arrangements for the next meeting on Monday 21st March at 9.30am in the Anglia Room, The Conference Suite at Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham were noted.