Agenda and minutes

Venue: Norfolk Room, Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham

Items
No. Item

81.

Minutes (Agenda Item 1) pdf icon PDF 61 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meetings held on 5 June 2007 and 18 June 2007.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meetings held on 5 June 2007 and 18 June 2007 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.

82.

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.

82/071

Director of Transformation

Minutes:

The Chairman had agreed to take this matter as an item of urgent business in order to avoid any further delay in employing a Director of Transformation. 

 

There had been a limited number of candidates coming forward for the post of Director of Transformation.  The advice from the consultants was to review the remuneration package order to secure a more competitive field of suitable candidates to apply for the post.  In order to avoid any delay it was suggested to suspend the current process and re-advertise the post with a closing date of the 2 August 2007.  Further to this it was proposed that delegated authority be given to the Leader, Chief Executive and the Chairman of General Purposes to agree the final remuneration package which would support the advert.

 

The Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission queried whether this change in timetable would delay the appointment of a suitable candidate.  In response Members were informed that the consultants would run the process as quickly as possible in order to avoid any delay.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)         the current recruitment process for the Director of Transformation be suspended;

 

(2)         a new advert be placed for a Director of Transformation with a planned closing date of 2 August 2007; and

 

(3)         delegated authority be given to the Leader in conjunction with the Chief Executive and the Chairman of the General Purposes Committee to agree the final remuneration package to support the advert.

83.

Declaration of Interest (Agenda Item 4)

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests they may have in any of the following items on the agenda. The Members’ Code of Conduct requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is a personal or prejudicial interest.

Minutes:

Messrs S. Askew, J. W. Nunn and Lady Fisher declared a personal interest in item 17 (Minute No. 95/07) the nature of which related to their connection with agricultural businesses. 

 

Mr P. Cowen declare a personal interest in item 7 (Minute No. 85/07) and item 17 (Minute No. 95/07) the nature of which related to his connection with providing architectural services. 

 

Messrs P. Duigan and R. Goreham and Mrs D. Irving declare a personal interest in item 7 (Minute No. 85/07) and item 16 (Minute No. 94/07) the nature of which related to then being members of Dereham Town Council. 

 

Messrs P. Claussen and W. H. Smith declare a personal interest in item 19 (Minute No. 97/07) the nature of which related to them sitting on the Anglia Revenues Partnership Board.

84.

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:

Messrs P. Cowen, P. Duigan and R. Goreham and Mesdames S. Howard-Alpe and D. Irving.

85.

Dereham Town Centre Development (Phase 2) - Compulsory Purchase Matter (Agenda Item 7) pdf icon PDF 625 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Economic Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr Derek Ardern, Chartered Surveyor was in attendance for this matter. The Chairman explained the procedures for public speaking and the Chairman gave permission for Mr Ardern to speak.

 

The Acting Operations Manager (Commercial Operations) and the Commercial Solicitor for Breckland District Council presented a joint report which recommended the compulsory purchase of a piece of land near the existing Dereham High Street Development (the Order Land).

 

The Acting Operations Manager (Commercial Operations) highlighted progress made since the Cabinet meeting on 5 February 2007.   He spoke about the benefits to the public and the region generated from the construction of the existing retail development.

 

The Commercial Solicitor noted that Cabinet in February 2007 had resolved to compulsory acquire a block of land approximately 0.11 hectares in size adjacent to the High Street Development.  He explained that following that resolution the majority of the 0.11 hectare block had been acquired by private agreement by the developer that was working with the Council.  He also noted that the Order Land forms part of the 0.11 hectare block and that whilst negotiations continue with the owner(s) of the Order Land, negotiations to date had secured the sale of that site.

 

The Commercial Solicitor referred Members to the contents of the Cabinet Report.  He drew Members’ attention to the legal matters contained within the Cabinet Report.  He reviewed the enabling power of section 226(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and discussed the requirements and tests contained within that section. The Commercial Solicitor spoke about the potential benefits to the public should the Council acquire the Order Land.  He noted the matters section 226(1) required the Members to consider and asked that they turn their minds to those matters.

 

The Commercial Solicitor then discussed the Human Rights Act 1998. He referred Members to Article 8 – Part 1 of Schedule 1; and Article 1 – Part 2 of Schedule 1 (a copy of Schedule 1 had been attached to the report for information). The Commercial Solicitor examined and discussed the requirements as set out in the Human Rights Act.

 

The Commercial Solicitor examined the interference that would be caused by the compulsory purchase. He again examined and discussed the potential benefit to the public and contrasted this with the interference. The concept of proportionality in the Human Rights Act was discussed and Members were asked to consider these matters. The Commercial Solicitor advised that the Council had to consider the benefit to the public and also the rights of those that have an interest in the Order Land.

 

The Commercial Solicitor also reviewed the various options available to the Council as contained within the report.  In particular he spoke about the option put forward by the agent acting for a party who has an interest in the Order Land.  He noted that the agent had recently requested the Council to compulsorily acquire a separate parcel of land and once that replacement land had been acquired it could  ...  view the full minutes text for item 85.

86.

Review of Food Safety Service Plan 2006/2007 (Agenda Item 8) pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Environment.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Review of the Food Safety Service Plan 2006/2007 was submitted for information and approval of action taken regarding outstanding work.

 

The Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission requested to know what measures were in place to ensure that the larger supermarkets were following the law for the handling of both raw and cooked meat, fish and cheese.  It seemed that following a documentary it was revealed that some of the larger supermarkets may not always be following basic food safety and were shown to delay inspectors and thus ensuring that the workstation was up to standard by the time the inspector reached that part of the supermarket.  He also raised concern with regard to the food poisoning from undercooked beef burgers.

 

In response the Cabinet Member for Environment stated that if a supermarket was found to be flouting food safety legislation they would be prosecuted.  Further to this the Food Safety Officers were aware of the risk areas and a schedule of inspections was made on the basis of risk.

 

With regard to the beef burger issue part of the remit of the Food Safety Team was to provide training for food businesses on food hygiene and safety.  This training was given to a variety of different businesses in a variety of languages.

 

The options were either to approve or not approve the review.

 

The reason for the recommendation was to ensure that Breckland complied with the Food Standards Agency’s standard and to ensure safe food in Breckland.

 

RESOLVED that the action taken in relation to the attached Service Plan Review be approved

87.

Match Funding Progress Report as at 31 March 2007 (Agenda Item 9) pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Cabinet (inc. People First).

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Cabinet presented the report which updated Members on the progress of projects awarded match funding by Breckland Council to March 2007.

 

Members were informed that for every £1 of revenue match funding a further £14 had been invested in the area and for every £1 of capital match funding a further £15 had been invested in the area.

 

This was a valuable initiative and a successful scheme which enabled projects to access funding.

 

There would be a report in future which would outline how the scheme could be made sustainable.

 

The options were to note the report or note the report and seek further information.

 

The reason for the recommendation was that the report updated Members on progress of projects awarded match funding by Breckland Council to March 2007.

 

RESOLVED that the report, which updated Members on progress of projects awarded Match Funding within Breckland, be noted.

88.

Social Inclusion Strategy (Agenda Item 10) pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Report of the Executive Member for the Cabinet (inc. People First).

 

This is a key decision

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Cabinet presented the report and requested that the Cabinet recommend that Full Council endorses the LSP Social Inclusion Strategy for the Breckland district.

 

The Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission believed that the symptoms of social exclusion as laid out in the report needed to be addressed.  The County Council needed to be lobbied to improve transport links not only for work purposes but also to access services.  There was a need to investigate alternative methods of providing primary health care. 

 

In response the Local Strategy Partnership (LSP) Officer stated that the LSP had agreed to work toward achieving social inclusion and this included working with the County Council and the Primary Care Trust.  An action plan would now be developed to achieve the objectives contained within the document through partnership working.

 

A Member was dismayed with the low level of wages paid to workers in the District and felt that certain companies may look upon this fact as an economic advantage.  With regard to bus services the Parish and Town Councils should lobby the County Council if a bus route was in jeopardy of being discontinued.

 

Members were advised of the Travel Token Scheme which was being piloted in Breckland by the County Council.  The tokens could be used on any form of public transport and volunteers would be requested to keep diaries of their journeys and the reason for those journeys.  Volunteers would be sought from the A1075 corridor between Watton and Dereham and would be from any age group who did not have access to a car for any reason.  If successful the scheme would be rolled out to other areas.

 

The options were to recommend that Council either endorses or does not endorse the LSP Social Inclusion Strategy

 

The reason for the recommendation was that Breckland Council was a key stakeholder in the Breckland LSP and, as such, its views were important in implementing the proposed Strategy. 

 

RECOMMEND that Council endorses the LSP Social Inclusion Strategy for Breckland.

89.

Big Lottery Children's Play (Agenda Item 11) pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Community, Leisure and Cultural Services.

 

This is a key decision.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Community, Leisure and Culture presented the report which outlined the development of a Breckland Play Strategy and the potential for bringing £238,000 of external lottery funding to the District.

 

All possible groups received correspondence advising them of the opportunity to bid for lottery funding for the development of a play area which would include equipment.  Of those groups 19 had responded and from that number the Local Strategic Partnership Sub-Group selected 6 bids which were thought would be successful.  However, the unsuccessful groups were being given advice on how to access alternative funding for their projects.

 

The options available to Members were to:

 

(1)         accept the recommendation of this report and endorse the Breckland Play Strategy.

 

(2)         amend the recommendations of this report and endorse the Breckland Play Strategy.

 

(3)    decline the recommendation of this report and reject the Breckland Play Strategy.

 

The reason for the recommendation was that in order make an application to the Big Lottery Fund for £238,000 Breckland Council needed a Play Strategy setting out a commitment to work in partnership to enable and develop improved play opportunities. 

 

The report had been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Commission which supported the recommendation.

 

RESOLVED that the Play Strategy be endorsed and that the bid to the Big Lottery Fund for the sum of £238K be supported. 

90.

Eccles Children's Playground (Agenda Item 12) pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Community, Leisure and Cultural Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Community, Leisure and Culture presented a report which outlined reasons for requesting £7,000 Capital Match Funding towards the creation of play and sports facilities on the grounds of Eccles Garnier Village Hall.

 

It was agreed that this project was welcomed and would improve village life at Eccles.

 

The options available to Members were to:

 

(1)         accept the recommendation of this report and approve a grant of £7,000.

 

(2)         approve a grant at a reduced level.

 

(3)    decline the application.

 

The reason for the recommendation was that the project fitted within the policy framework of the Council.  It was a further opportunity to be involved in a project directly benefiting young people in a small rural community.  

 

RESOLVED that a match funding contribution of £7,000 for the development of a children’s play and sports area in the grounds of the Eccles Garnier Village Hall be approved from the Council’s Capital Matched Funding Reserve (2007/08), subject to:

 

(1)          a maximum of £7,000 or 29% whichever is the lower;

 

(2)          other funding being confirmed;

 

(3)          funding being drawn in the 2007/8 Financial Year

91.

Young People in Breckland - Strategic Framework (Agenda Item 13) pdf icon PDF 93 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Community, Leisure and Cultural Services.

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Community, Leisure and Culture presented a report which outlined a corporate action plan for young people in Breckland. Its aim was to identify the key challenges facing young people and to propose a plan of action which focused on key priorities.

 

It was noted that under the Local Development Framework any development whether it was one house or more would be required to make some form of contribution to the facilities of the area.  It was envisaged that the Town and Parish Councils would receive a portion of the contribution to ensure that play facilities were adequate for the area. 

 

The Section 106 Officer would be looking closely at the contributions of developers and would ensure that play areas were not in unsuitable areas and would be involved in discussions with developers, the Town and Parish Councils and Ward Representatives at an early stage of development.

 

Members were advised that Thetford Youth Council would be attending the Full Council meeting on 2 August 2007 and would be meeting Councillors and Officers.

 

The options were to either approve or not approve the recommendations.

 

The reasons for the recommendation were that the minimum legislative requirements were that the Council engages with other authorities in a structured manner to address the needs of Young People and that it has a Child Protection Policy in place. Both of the above were currently in place although the current Child Protection Policy needed to be reviewed and simplified. There were a range of other options; however, it was suggested that the Council prioritised its work around three principal themes being Engagement with Young People, Developing Strategic Partnerships and Improving the quality of play provision.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)    officers and members continue to attend partnership meetings co-ordinated by Norfolk County Council as appropriate;

 

(2)         with regard to young people consideration is given to partnership and engagement resources in preparing the 2008/9 financial plans;

 

(3)         officers review the Child Protection Policy annually and bring forward a report if necessary; and

 

(4)         the residual capital budget for play area refurbishment is re-allocated to the match funding budget.

 

RECOMMEND that

 

(1)         the Council develops a District Forum which engages Young People in the work of the District Council;

 

(2)         the Council appoints a lead elected member as Young People Champion;

 

(3)         the Council considers a revised a planning formula through the Local Development Framework (LDF) or sooner, if possible, to ensure that new housing development contributes appropriately to the provision of good quality open space and play provision.

92.

Swaffham Transport Project (Agenda Item 14) pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Community, Leisure and Cultural Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Community, Leisure and Culture presented the report which outlined the reasons for requesting£14,773 over 3 years from the Match funding reserve for the continued support of the Swaffham Transport Project and the reasons for requesting £2,000 to underwrite ‘leisure links’ scheme. 

 

The project would provide transport from the rural areas to the leisure centres in the market towns.

 

Members felt that it should be noted that the scheme was a pilot project and there was no guarantee of future funding.  If the scheme were to continue there would need to be a sustainable plan in place.

 

The options available to Members were to:

 

(1)         accept the recommendation of this report and approve a final revenue grant of £14,773 over 3 years.

 

(2)         approve a grant of a lesser amount.

 

(3)    decline the application.

 

The reason for the recommendation was that this was a successful, well established project committed to delivering demand responsive services to Breckland residents of greatest need. Swaffham Transport Project was contributing heavily towards the cost of this project from income generated through the provision of their service and contract work. The amount of income generated demonstrates that this was a well run organisation.

 

RESOLVED that a final revenue Match Funding contribution of £14,773, for the financial year 2007/08, 2008/09 & 2009/10 towards the continued service offered by the Swaffham Transport Project be approved and that a sustainable business model is developed over that period.

93.

Transfer of Play Areas to Town Councils (Agenda Item 15) pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Economic Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Senior Leisure Manager submitted a report which outlined the progress of negotiations with Town Councils with regard to the transfer of Play Areas, to outline some options depending on the current position and eventual response of Town Councils and to recommend a course of action.

 

It was felt that this was the right approach to ensuring the facilities in the play areas were kept to a standard acceptable by the Town and Parish Councils and the facilities available could be changed in response to the village and town appraisals.

 

A Member queried whether the play areas would be inspected and brought up to specification before being transferred.  In response the Senior Leisure Manager stated that Breckland would continue to maintain the play areas through SERCO until April 2015 as well as offer a contribution based on the maintenance and number of items of equipment.  In addition any new play areas of areas of open space would be transferred to Town and Parish Councils to own along with any commuted sum received from developers. 

 

The equipment was inspected weekly and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) had undertaken an inspection of all the play areas in 2006.

 

The options available to Members were to:

 

(1)         ask Town Councils to accept transfer of the play areas on the basis of the previous offer.

 

(2)         permit Town Councils to accept transfer on an incremental basis.

 

The reasons for the recommendation were that transferring the play areas to the Town Councils on an incremental basis would reduce their risks but the smaller towns may feel that the larger towns have received more favourable treatment.

 

Furthermore, the transfer of capital sum into the match funding budget would allow Town Councils a greater opportunity to bid for funds and this in itself will help to reduce their risks.  Taken alongside the proposals to continue maintenance through the Serco contract it was felt appropriate to request Town Councils to take ownership of the play areas as outlined in option (1).

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)    the play areas and open space within the towns currently owned by the District Council be transferred to the Town Council on the terms and conditions outlined; and

 

(2)    officers are authorised to transfer play areas within other towns in consultation with the appropriate Cabinet Portfolio Holders (Asset Management & Cultural Services), provided that the same terms are agreed and that the terms of the transfer accord with the Council’s constitution.

94.

Transfer of Public Conveniences to Town Councils (Agenda Item 16) pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Economic Services.

Minutes:

The Operations Manager for Community Services submitted a report which summarised the negotiations for the transfer of the freehold of one toilet block per town, plus a lump sum of money to cover refurbishment and ongoing cleaning and maintenance.

 

The only change to the report was that Dereham Town Council had requested the transfer of the toilet block at Barwell Court rather than Cowper Road and this negotiation was continuing.

 

A Member felt that public conveniences needed a considerable amount of on-going maintenance and there was the element of anti-social behaviour associated with public conveniences.  It was felt that the Town and Parish Councils may accept the offer as they may be fearful of the alternative of not having any facilities.

 

It was stated that if the transfer was in progress the toilet block may not be closed until this transfer had been complete.

 

Once transferred it would be up to the Town or Parish Council to decide how they provided the facilities whether by refurbishing the current toilet block, re-building a new block or providing financial remuneration to businesses to allow the public to use their facilities.

 

The options available to Members were:

 

(1)    transfer to the relevant Town Councils the freehold of the toilet blocks listed in clause 4.4, together with the lump sum listed in the offer column. 

 

(2)    if the Town Councils do not accept the toilets on the terms set out in Option 1, the toilet block is closed and boarded up on 1 October, 2007.

 

(3)    Breckland Council continues to operate the existing facilities

 

(4)    Breckland Council operate one toilet block in each town. 

 

The reason for the recommendation was that if the Town Councils did not take on the toilet facilities and Breckland closed down the toilet the premises could be vandalised.  This could result in capital cost to Breckland Council cleaning the site and servicing the area.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)    the freehold of the toilet blocks listed in clause 4.4 of the report be transferred to the relevant Town Councils, together with the lump sum of £275,000 apart from Thetford who would receive £360,000; and

 

(2)    if the Town Councils do not accept the toilets on the terms set out in above, the toilet block be closed and boarded up on the 1 October, 2007.

95.

Norfolk Rural Business Advice Service (Agenda Item17) pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Economic Development.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Economic Development Officer informed Members that Norfolk Rural Business Advice Service (NRBAS) had been formed in 2000 to help the County’s farmers adapt to change.  Over the years the service had continued to build on its success and was well established as the primary source of advice, information and training for rural businesses in the County.  Breckland Council had funded the NRBAS project since 2003 and this report outlined the Easton College Match Funding Reserve application for a further grant of £20,000 from 2007 - 2010.

 

Following a further survey with beneficiaries from the farming community it was apparent that the majority were pleased with the service NRBAS provided.

 

Members were advised that NRBAS sent a report to the Economic Development Section every year on the work which they had undertaken.

 

The options available to Members were:

 

(1)         Breckland Council chooses to support Easton College to provide the Norfolk Rural Business Advice Service for the District over the period 2007 – 2010 with grant funding offered as follows:

 

            Year 2007/08                         £6,700

            Year 2008/09                         £6,700

            Year 2009/10                         £6,600                       

            TOTAL FUNDING                           £20,000

 

Total project cost was £145,000 funded by the Districts and Norfolk County Council.  Via the County’s £40,000 Breckland would lever in an additional 23.53% amounting to £9,412 over the life of the project.

 

(2)    Breckland Council chooses not to fund Easton College and declines the support provided to agriculture and rural businesses in the District by the Norfolk Rural Business Advice Service.

 

The reasons for the recommendation were that the recent Norfolk Farm Survey 2006 highlights that the industry is going through a period of major change in response to pressures generated by such issues as reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and the globalisation of world trade.  The survey questioned a number of areas including training and business support.  Business management, marketing regulatory compliance and environmental management were the skills thought to be most in need of improvement. Skilled staff were reported as the most difficult type of labour to source and workshops and field days were the preferred means of receiving training and information.

 

Furthermore, Easton College and NRBAS had proven to be a very effective partner organisation in the delivery of advice, guidance and skills to rural businesses.  The project showed a clear strategic fit, evidence of need and value for money.  There was clear commitment to work in partnership to provide further services for farmers and rural businesses and to build on future delivery to the industry. 

 

This service had traditionally been the principle way the Council has supported this important sector.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)    the Council supports Easton College to provide the Norfolk Rural Business Advice Service for the District over the period 2007 – 2010 with grant funding offered as follows:

 

               Year 2007/08                         £6,600

               Year 2008/09                         £6,600

               Year 2009/10                         £6,700

               TOTAL FUNDING                           £20,000

(2)         the grant funding be subject to

(a)         A maximum of £20,000 being offered;

 

(b)         Payment of years 2 and 3 dependent on receiving a satisfactory review of outputs and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 95.

96.

Reference from the Overview and Scrutiny Commission (Agenda Item 18) pdf icon PDF 56 KB

To consider references, if any, from the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 5 July 2007.

96/071

Big Lottery Children's Play

Minutes:

This item was considered under minute no. 89/07.

96/072

Watton Horse Fair

Minutes:

The Overview and Scrutiny Commission had discussed, at great length, the need to monitor the Watton Horse Fair and the need to liaise with the Police and the organisers of the Fair to ascertain how the event could be improved.

 

The Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission stated that the Commission felt that the event had outgrown its current site and was now a major rural event rather than a village horse fair.  There had clearly been breaches of the law but there had not been enough evidence gathered to enable officers to prosecute. 

 

There were not enough facilities at the site for the number of people attending and the only water supply had been a standpipe. 

 

It was understood that to disperse the event could lead to difficulties in policing as it was easier to police when the event was concentrated into one site.

 

Members felt that the fair was a tradition to Watton and should not be discouraged but solutions to the problems associated with the event needed to be found.

 

The options were to either approve or not approve the recommendation.

 

The reason for the recommendation was to ensure that the Council was doing everything possible to aid the improvement of the Watton Horse Fair for local residents and those attending.

 

RECOMMEND that the Council be asked to appoint the Ward Representatives for Watton and the Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Commission to meet the organisers of the Watton Horse Fair and the Police ad the next liaison meeting to raise the question of whether an alternative location can be found for the Fair and to encourage the organisers to provide better animal welfare and public sanitation and other health welfare facilities.

97.

Anglia Revenues and Benefits Partnership (Agenda Item 19) pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Report of the meeting of the Joint Committee held on 21 June 2007.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 21 June 2007 were noted.

98.

Next Meeting (Agenda Item 20)

To note that the date of the next meeting of Cabinet will be held on 4 September at 9.30 am.

Minutes:

It was noted that the next meeting of the Cabinet would be held on 4 September 2007 at 9.30 am.