Agenda and minutes

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

Items
No. Item

109.

Minutes (Agenda Item 1) pdf icon PDF 76 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 4 September 2007.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 4 September 2007 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.

 

110.

Apologies (Agenda Item 2)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Mr A Stasiak and Mrs A. Steward, who was attending a Strategic Housing Seminar on the Council’s behalf.

111.

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:

Mr P. Cowen declared a personal interest in item 8 (Minute No. 114/07) and was able to speak on the item.

112.

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:

Mr R.P. Childerhouse, Mr J.P. Cowen, Mr R.F. Goreham, Mrs D.K.R. Irving, Mr D.S. Myers and Mrs L.S. Turner.

113.

Council's Project Match Funding Reserve Review (Agenda Item 7) pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Cabinet (inc. People First) and the Executive Member for Community, Culture and Leisure.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Community, Culture and Leisure presented a report which outlined a system, process and budget allocation for a revised match funding system. The report considered how a funding programme could be streamlined in terms of management process and decision making. In addition it considered the possibility of support for talented people.

 

It was noted that for every £1.00 which Breckland invested in match funding an additional £14.00 was invested in the area.

 

It was hoped that Local Ward Members would play a central role in assessing the validity of community projects and championing those projects which merited funding.  This proposal would support the ‘Community Call for Action’ component of the Local Government White Paper. 

 

It was further stated that Ward Members should be communicating with their local communities and advising them of where funding could be found.  They should also reinforce the message of the White Paper which was that a bottom-up approach of managing communities would be the future framework.

 

The Young Persons Champion hoped that Members would support the funding for gifted and talented young people.

The options were to determine that a revised grant aid/match system would be put in place; to determine not to offer grant aid/ match funding and to amend either the budget proposals

 

The reasons for the decision were as follows:-

(1)         A match funding programme would enable the council to keep in touch with its local communities.

 

(2)         The proposals supported the principles outlined in the Local Government White paper.

 

(3)         A match funding scheme levered significant external investment into Breckland Council

 

(4)         The proposed scheme provided a level playing field for both urban and rural communities.

 

(5)         The Council would need to take into account other competing priorities for funding.  As a consequence a final decision on this proposal would need to be taken by the Council’s Star Chamber.

 

RESOLVED that

(1)    a revised match funding system be approved which will contain the following key elements:-

 

(a)    a small match funding programme for projects up to £3000;

 

(b)    a large match funding programme for projects over £3000 and less than £20,000;

 

(c)     a grant programme to support gifted and talented people up to a maximum of £500; and

 

(d)    other match funding for larger sums over £20,000 for special projects.

 

(2)    a report is submitted to the Star Chamber outlining the proposals and budget implications.

114.

Planning and Building Control Request for Funding (Agenda Item 8) pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Strategic Alliance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Interim Director of Transformation presented a report which requested a virement of funding to support the delivery of the Planning & Building Control project plan.

 

As a result of the decision to proceed with a wholly owned company route the support that would have been received by developing a joint venture with Capita and Urban Vision was not longer available to the Council.  To ensure the Council’s business case was delivered effectively, there was a requirement for additional support from an organisation with business skills and a detailed knowledge of planning activity, which was Urban Vision.

 

Two options were made available to Members.  The first option was to approve the virement as detailed in the Proforma B and employ Urban Vision on a consultancy basis.  The second option was not to approve the virement as detailed in the Proforma B and not to employ Urban Vision on a consultancy basis.

 

The reason for the recommendation was that the virement of funding was needed to employ Urban Vision in order to provide the continuity, necessary business skills and knowledge of planning activity to support the project.

 

RESOLVED that the virement of £23,700, as detailed in the Proforma B, be approved and Urban Vision be employed on a consultancy basis.

115.

CCTV Review (Agenda Item 9) pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Community, Leisure and Culture.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Community, Culture and Leisure presented a report which detailed findings of the CCTV review and recommended the commencement of a procurement project to update and improve the existing  Breckland CCTV facility.

 

CCTV was introduced into Breckland in 1995.  The current system comprised 62 analogue colour cameras across 5 market towns.  No significant investment had been made to upgrade or improve the service since its installation.  Due to age and capability of the technology the system did not provide a satisfactory modern service able to provide the evidential operational performance that was now required.

 

The aims of the CCTV services were to:

 

  • enable citizens to feel safer and more secure;
  • assist the Council to achieve its responsibilities under Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998;
  • reduce crime and disorder; and
  • provide visual information to assist other Council services.

 

It was noted that there was an issue with follow-up once the police had received CCTV information relating to incidents and the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership would review the system to ensure that feedback was provided.

 

In response to Members’ queries regarding Perpetuity Ltd, who had undertaken the review of the CCTV, the Acting Operations Manager for Community and Culture stated that whilst Perpetuity had set a baseline with hindsight it may have been more advantageous to go straight to procurement, although following the review and discussion with end users the Council was more informed of the system needed to achieve its objectives.

 

The Vice-Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission supported the proposals, buthe was concerned that the cameras in crime ‘hot spot’ areas should remain as they were vital in preventing anti-social behaviour.  Cameras not in crime ‘hot spots’ should be redeployed to those areas where they would have greater impact.  He stated that although crime was low in Breckland the perception was that there was a high level of crime.  Getting cameras out to the rural district would be key in providing a safer environment for residents.  He requested examples of how the trading element would work and whether the Project Sponsor would be a private company.

 

The Acting Operations Manager for Community and Culture informed Members that Mark Stokes would be the Project Sponsor.  With regard to the trading this would be a potential additional element to the system to make both homes and businesses safe.  It would provide a cheaper but more efficient service if businesses were requested to contribute.  The location of the cameras would be reviewed and those in crime ‘hot spots’ which were proving to work would be replaced by more advance equipment to provide more enhanced picture quality.  Mobile cameras could be used for large events such as the Watton Horse Fair.

 

CCTV had proved invaluable in the past especially during large scale incidents where the police and been able to prosecute using evidence gained through CCTV.

 

Members stated that any new system would need to ensure that it would be compatible with any future  ...  view the full minutes text for item 115.

116.

Medium Term Financial Strategy (Agenda Item 10) pdf icon PDF 62 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Cabinet requested that Members consider the Medium Term Financial Strategy prior to recommendation to Council for approval.

 

Breckland still had the lowest council tax although its spending was still compatible with other similar councils.  Added to this there was an increased investment in service and an increase in performance by officers. 

 

Following consultations with the public there was a high level of satisfaction with the services provided by Breckland.  Minority groups had been consulted and were in favour of low council tax coupled with good quality services.

 

The Executive Member for Environment requested that consideration be given to include climate change as a key objective of the Business Plan.  Although this was included within Promoting Healthier Lifestyles it was agreed to include climate change as a separate objective.

 

Members were informed that the Overview and Scrutiny Commission supported this strategy.

 

The options were either to recommend or not recommend the strategy to Council for approval.

 

The reason for the recommendation was that the Medium Term Financial Strategy would provide a clear framework for officers to manage the Council’s finances over the medium term.

 

RECOMMEND to Council that the Medium Term Financial Strategy be approved with the inclusion of Climate Change as a key objective.

117.

Capital Strategy (Agenda Item 11) pdf icon PDF 62 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Cabinet requested that Members consider the Capital Strategy prior to recommendation to Council for approval.

 

The Strategy set out the policy for investment up to 2014/2015 and this could include the period of local government change.

 

Through gaining income from commercial properties the Council had been able to re-invest in its services.  Investment had been made in the Housing Section to improve services and Breckland had just been awarded Homelessness Champion Status.

 

Members were informed that the Overview and Scrutiny Commission supported this strategy.

 

The options were either to recommend or not recommend the strategy to Council for approval.

 

The reason for the recommendation was that the Capital Strategy would provide a clear framework for officers to manage the Council’s capital expenditure.

 

RECOMMEND to Council that the Capital Strategy be approved.

118.

Council-owned Land between Priory Close and Hill's Close, Sporle (Agenda Item 12) pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Economic Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Acting Operations Manager (Commercial Services) requested that Cabinet reconsider itsdecision in respect the future use of Council-owned land between Priory Close and Hill’s Close, Sporle.

 

Three options were given to Members:-

 

(1)         Cabinet reconsider the previous decision and resolve that the transfer of Council-owned land between Priory Close and Hill’s Close, Sporle be transferred at nil cost to Sporle Parish Council, subject to the following conditions:

 

(a)         that on completion, a garden licence be issued to the occupier of 45 Hill's Close, Sporle on the existing terms and conditions;

 

(b)         that a restrictive covenant be imposed restricting the use to woodland/amenity use only; and

 

(c)         that Breckland Council transfer only such rights, title and interest (if any) as it has in the land encroached on.

 

(2)         Cabinet resolve to transfer the Council-owned land between Priory Close and Hill’s Close, Sporle, to Sporle Parish Council, at nil cost, excluding the small area of land (as shown edged in red on the attached plan) which may have potential for development and release up to £15,000.00 for the grounds investigation report.  If Breckland Council was unsuccessful with their planning application on the area of land adjacent to 21 Priory Close,Sporle, this land to be transferred to Sporle Parish Council, at a later date, at nil cost.

 

(3)         Cabinet adhere to its previous decision.

 

The reason for the recommendation was to progress this long standing issue.

 

RESOLVED that the Council-owned land between Priory Close and Hill’s Close, Sporle be transferred at nil cost to Sporle Parish Council, subject to the following conditions:

 

(a)         that on completion, a garden licence be issued to the occupier of 45 Hill’s Close, Sporle on the existing terms and conditions;

 

(b)         that a restrictive covenant be imposed restricting the use to woodland/amenity use only;

 

(c)         that Breckland Council transfer only such rights, title and interest (if any) as it has in the land encroached on; and

 

(d)         Sporle Parish Council be responsible for legal costs associated with this transfer.

119.

Land Management Framework (Agenda Item13) pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Economic Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Acting Operations Manager (Commercial Services) requested an amendment to the Land Management Framework to allow surplus land to be sold without prospective purchaser(s) having to firstly obtain planning permission for change of use.

 

The Vice-Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission agreed with the recommendations.  However, as a Local Ward Member he felt disconcerted when he had been requested to comment on a piece of land but had never received an acknowledgement.  Further to this Members should be made aware that when the Council was considering the future of a piece of surplus land there were other aspects to consider in addition to the possible sale.  These factors included the health and wellbeing of the residents in the surrounding areas and exploration of alternatives to disposal. The Operations Manager (Commercial Services) agreed that Members’ responses would be acknowledged in the future.

 

Members agreed that selling the land was not always the best option and sometimes passing the land back to the Town or Parish Council to enhance community amenity was preferable. The Vice-Chairman of Overview and Scrutiny Commission added that he hoped that more Local Ward Members would attend future meetings of the Cabinet to put forward their case for the best use of surplus land in their Wards.

 

Two options were made available to Members.  The first option was to amend the Land Management Framework to allow surplus land to be sold without prospective purchaser(s) having to firstly obtain planning permission for change of use.  The second option was not to amend the Land Management Framework.

 

The reason for the recommendation was that the Framework would enable land transactions, once approved, to be completed as quickly as possible.  It would ensure prospective purchaser(s) are not incurring additional legal costs.

 

RECOMMEND to Council that the Land Management Framework be amended to allow surplus land to be sold, without prospective purchaser(s) having to firstly obtain planning permission for change of use.

120.

Restrictive Covenant - Right to Buy Properties (Agenda Item 14) pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Economic Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Acting Operations Manager (Commercial Services) requested that Members consider the formalisation of the current procedure with regard to the restrictive covenant contained within conveyances of ‘Right to Buy’ properties requiring the purchaser not to ‘use or occupy the Property, or suffer or permit the same to be used for any other purpose other than as a private dwelling in the occupation of one family…’and asked Cabinet to recommend to Council to vary the scheme of delegation to give power to the appropriate Operations Manager to approve such requests.

 

The Chief Executive wished to amend the recommendation from ‘the Operations Manager for Commercial and Community’ to read the ‘appropriate Operations Manager’.  This would negate the need to produce any future reports to amend the delegated power should job titles change in the future.

 

Two options were made available to Members.  The first was to vary the scheme of delegation and give power to the appropriate Operations Manager to approve requests for the release of the restrictive covenant requiring that the purchaser did not ‘use or occupy the Property, or suffer or permit the same to be used for any purpose other than as a private dwelling house in the occupation of one family…’ (if the property was purchased under the ‘right to buy’ provisions) subject to officer and ward representative(s) consultation being carried out and providing the occupier/purchaser has obtained the necessary planning consent; the Council to recover legal costs associated with the approval of such matters.  The second option was not to vary the scheme of delegation.

 

The reason for the recommendation was to formalise the current procedure with regard to the release of restrictive covenants.  This variation would ensure such requests were processed quickly and efficiently.

 

RECOMMEND that Council:

 

(1)    vary the scheme of delegation and give power to the appropriate Operations Manager in conjunction with the Lead Member to approve requests for the release of the restrictive covenant requiring that the purchaser does not ‘use or occupy the Property, or suffer or permit the same to be used for any purpose other than as a private dwelling house in the occupation of one family…’ (if the property was purchased under the ‘right to buy’ provisions) subject to officer and ward representative(s) consultation being carried out and providing the occupier/purchaser has obtained the necessary planning consent; and

 

(2)    recover legal costs with the approval of such matters.

121.

Restrictive Covenants - Garage Blocks, Garage Forecourts and Off Street Parking Areas on Barnham Cross Estate and Croxton Road Estate, Thetford (Agenda Item 15) pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Economic Services.

Minutes:

The Acting Operations Manager (Commercial Services) presented a report which requested that Members consider varying the scheme of delegation to give power to the appropriate Operations Manager in conjunction with the Lead Member to approve the release of the restrictive covenant on garage blocks, garage forecourts, off street parking areas and amenity areas on the Thetford Estates, at nil consideration.  The garage blocks, garage forecourts, off street parking areas and amenity areas on these estates were transferred to Peddars Way Housing Association at the same time as the housing stock transfer in March 1993.  Breckland Council and Peddars Way Housing Association were currently working in partnership to regenerate and enhance these estates, maximising the use of the garage blocks, garage forecourts, off street parking areas and amenity areas and the land adjacent to the houses.  The capital receipts of developing these garage blocks, garage forecourts, off street parking areas and amenity areas would be ring fenced for the overall regeneration schemes on these estates.

 

It was intended to create parking areas in front of the houses to enable residents to park their cars close to their houses.  At present residents were parking on the grass verges which was creating unsightly areas.  The intention was to use a brick-weave design for the parking areas to avoid the build-up of rainwater.

 

The Chairman for the Overview and Scrutiny Commission stated that parking within small scale residential areas in villages needed to be assessed and Peddars Way should be encouraged to look at all their sites across the District.  Alternatives to the brick-weave should be investigated as brick-weave could not cope with large volumes of water.

 

In response the Acting Operations Manager (Commercial Services)  stated that brick-weave was one of the options as any surface needed to be rough enough to discourage skateboarding.  The Council would be working closely with Peddars Way to look at other sites across the District.

 

The Chief Executive reiterated his comment from the previous item and wished to amend the recommendation to read the ‘appropriate Operations Manager’.  This would negate the need to produce any future reports to amend the delegated power should job titles change in the future.

 

The options were:-

 

(1)         That Cabinet recommends to Full Council to vary the scheme of delegation and give power to the appropriate Operations Manager in conjunction with the Lead Member to approve the release of the restrictive covenant on the Peddars Way Housing Association’s title (transfer dated 30 March 1993), in favour of Breckland District Council stating that “subject to Clause 7, in respect of any part of the Property described in Parts III,           IV, V and VI of Schedule A (garages, garage forecourts, off street parking areas and amenity areas) not to develop or redevelop that part of the Property and not to permit the same to be used as other than garages, parking areas or amenity areas, respectively, serving residential dwellings”, at nil consideration but with the funds to be ring fenced for investment in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 121.

122.

Mundford Play Area (Agenda Item 16) pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Community, Leisure and Culture.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Community, Culture and Leisure presented a report which outlined the reasons for requesting £12,000 Capital Match Funding towards the refurbishment and installation of a new play area at Mundford recreation ground.

 

The Member nominated as Young Persons Champion was pleased to note that children and young people had been consulted to identify what was needed within the play area.

 

Members agreed that there should be community involvement when designing play areas and those play areas should be given back to the Towns and Parishes who know the community.  That way the community would take ownership of the play area and use not abuse the facility.

 

Three options were made available which were to:

 

(1)         accept the recommendation of this report and approve a grant of £12,000;

 

(2)         approve a grant at a reduced level; or

 

(3)         decline the application           

 

 

The reason for the recommendation was that the project fitted within the Breckland Play Strategy and complemented the play development going on in other parts of the district.  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 £12,000 for the development of a children’s play area in the grounds of Mundford Recreation Ground and Village Hall from the Council’s Capital Matched Funding Reserve (2007/08)be approved, subject to:

 

(a)         a maximum £12,000  or 14.4% whichever is the lower;

 

(b)         other funding being confirmed; and

 

(c)         funding being allocated from the 2007/8 match funding reserve

123.

Code of Conduct for Procurement (Agenda Item 17) pdf icon PDF 74 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for the Cabinet presented a report which sought Members’ approval for the Code of Conduct for Procurement.  The use of resources would play a major part in the strategy and supported value for money.

 

The options were to either approve or not approve the Code of Conduct for Procurement

 

The reason for the recommendation was that by fully adopting the Code of Conduct for Procurement the Council would bring together all the relevant provisions.  The Code would be included in the Procurement Toolkit.

 

RESOLVED that the Code of Conduct for Procurement be adopted.

124.

Review of Health and Safety Policy (Agenda Item 18) pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Report of the Executive Member for the Environment.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Environment presented the report and requested that Members note the contents of the revised Health and Safety Policy and recommend its formal adoption and implementation.

 

The options available were either to adopt or not adopt the revised Health and Safety Policy.

 

In response to queries regarding health and safety of staff working from home the Chief Executive stated that health and safety checks were carried out in the person’s particular place of work be it in the office or at home.

Members queried whether the Council had a duty of care to them in respect of health and safety. 

 

In response the Chief Executive stated that as they were not employees the Council were not responsible for their health and safety.  However, with regard to equipment such as laptops, which the Council provided, he would investigate whether the Council was duty bound to ensure that this was used in line with health and safety legislation and whether adequate training was provided.

 

The reason for the recommendation was to ensure Breckland’s compliance with statutory duties.  Further to this to protect the health and safety and welfare of employees and the health and safety of visitors to Breckland’s premises.

 

RESOLVED that the revised Health and Safety Policy be adopted.

125.

References from Overview and Scrutiny Commission (Agenda Item 19) pdf icon PDF 111 KB

Report of the Operations Manager (Cabinet Office)

125/071

Post Office Network Change Programme

Minutes:

Members received the recommendations from the Overview and Scrutiny Commission in relation to its review of the Post Office Network Change Programme.

 

The Post Office was planning to close a number of post offices nationwide in both urban and rural districts.

 

The Marketing and Communications Manager advised Members that an article regarding Post Office closures would be appearing in Breckland Voice and residents would be encouraged to sign the on-line petition.

 

Cabinet agreed with the recommendation of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission.  However, in light of the Post Office Strikes it was agreed that an e-mail would be sent to all Members rather than a letter.

 

RESOLVED that an e-mail be sent to all Members of the Council to advise them of the impending closure programme and public consultation timetable and ask them to feed back guidance to the Council’s LDF and Economic Development Teams on issues of the viability, needs and associated issues within their Wards.

125/072

All Members Matter Programme for Breckland District Council

Minutes:

The Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission requested that Cabinet agree to adopt the Action Plan for the All Members Matter Programme.  The Action Plan had been considered by Policy Development and Review Panel 2 and the Overview and Scrutiny Commission supported the Panel’s views.

 

RESOLVED that the Action Plan for the All Members Matter Programme for Breckland Council be adopted.

125/073

Operation of Leisure Facilities at Dereham and Thetford

Minutes:

Policy Development and Review Panel 3 hadconsidered a report on the operation of the leisure facilities at Dereham and Thetford.  Members of the Panel agreed that the work of the Sports Development Officer and Art Development Officer had improved the availability of arts and leisure facilities within Breckland.  The Overview and Scrutiny Commission supported the views of the Panel accordingly.

 

The Executive Member for Community, Culture and Leisure hoped that the recommendation would be supported as the Arts Development Officer had brought arts and culture out to the communities both in urban and rural areas.

Members were advised that the recommendation would form part of the wider review as part of the budget setting process.

 

RESOLVED that the extension of the service term of the Arts Development Officer be considered as part of the budget setting process.

126.

Next Meeting (Agenda Item 20)

To note that the date of the next meeting of Cabinet will be held on 20 November 2007 at 9.30 am.

Minutes:

The next meeting would be held on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 9.30 am.