Agenda and draft minutes

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

Contact: Democratic Services  Tel: 01362 656870

Items
No. Item

144/18

Apologies (Agenda item 1)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Bowes, Brame, Marion and Sam Chapman-Allen, Theresa Hewett, Linda Monument, Oliver, Stasiak, Turner, Wassell and Wilkin.

145/18

Minutes (Agenda item 2) pdf icon PDF 140 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 25 October 2018.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 25 October 2018 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

146/18

Declaration of Interests (Agenda item 3)

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:

Councillor Paul Claussen declared a prejudicial and pecuniary interest in Agenda item 10, Minute No. 129/18 (i) of the Schedule of Applications as it was his application.

147/18

Chairman's Announcements (Agenda item 4) pdf icon PDF 36 KB

Minutes:

The Chairman informed Members that Helen McAleer would be retiring on 19 December 2018.     Helen had worked for Breckland Council for many years and on behalf of the Council he wished her all the very best for the future.

 

The list of engagements attached to the agenda for both the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman were noted.

148/18

Leader's Announcements (Agenda item 5)

To receive a verbal update from Councillor Nunn, Leader of the Council.

 

Minutes:

The Leader provided Members with an update on the following matters:

 

Capita

 

The Leader was aware that a number of concerns had been raised in relation to Capita with regard to staffing matters and performance.  To reassure Members Simon Wood, the Interim Director of Planning and Building Control, would be invited to attend the next Full Council meeting to inform the Council how the service was moving forward.

 

Community Funding

 

The Leader was pleased to announce a number of projects that would benefit from funding from the new Community Reserve.  Funding totalling £6.15 million had been made available over a four year period to support a number of projects and initiatives in Breckland such as:

 

·        up to £100,000 had been allocated to create a themed grant scheme based on improving social mobility;

·        up to £50,000 (for each town) had been allocated to carry out a feasibility study to explore the option of developing a commercial leisure offer in Swaffham and Attleborough;

·        up to £100,000 to be spent on transport to work schemes;

·        up to £100,000 to create a grant scheme to help support local entrepreneurs; and

·        up to £50,000 to be spent on providing digital skills training to Breckland residents.

 

Waste & Recycling

 

It had been a long-standing ambition to bring together waste collection services from across Norfolk.  The Leader was therefore pleased to announce that Breckland Council had signed an inter-authority agreement with two other Norfolk Councils – Kings Lynn & West Norfolk Borough Council, and North Norfolk District Council.  This highlighted Breckland’s commitment to procuring waste/recycling services across the three areas from 2020 onwards.  This collaborative approach should benefit everyone with an improved service and economies of scale when the contract was let and should bring substantial savings going forward.

 

Employment Support Officers

 

Two people had been offered the above roles to start their employment with Breckland Council at the beginning of January 2019, subject to references.  Both had a great deal of experience working and developing apprenticeships in Norfolk and would be focussing on developing links between schools and businesses.

 

Norfolk Skills and Careers Festival

 

Breckland Council was sponsoring the public sector zone at the Festival which was taking place on 6/7 March 2019 at the Norfolk Show Ground.  The Employment Support Officers would be supporting the Breckland presence at the Festival and would be promoting Breckland as an employer of choice for local young people.

 

Leisure Feasibility Studies (Attleborough & Swaffham)

 

Max Associates had been appointed to conduct this piece of work for both locations.  They would be asking local people about other services they would like to see developed in the towns. A draft report was expected in January 2019 followed by a final report in February 2019.

 

Young People Support Scheme

 

The Council would have to go out to a full tender process due to the value of this project.  The documentation was being drawn up with a view to going out to market week commencing 10 December 2018 with the contract being awarded at the end  ...  view the full minutes text for item 148/18

149/18

Questions on Notice under Standing Order No 6 (Agenda item 6)

Minutes:

None.

150/18

Questions without Notice under Standing Order No 7 (Agenda item 7)

Minutes:

Councillor Gilbert directed his question to the Leader.  He had recently read an article in the local press about Capita staff being based 450 miles away and that the contract was not making any savings.  He asked the Leader if he thought the article was fair and accurate and also asked whether the contract should be brought back in-house.  The Leader did not agree with the article and advised that this was about bringing pressure to bear with the contractor, not ending the contract.  Breckland Council was not alone; in fact, every authority in the Country was having difficulty in employing experienced Planners.  He was uncomfortable about staff being miles away but the Council was doing as much as it could to eliminate this and a Special Board meeting was being held with Capita in December 2018. 

 

Councillor Dimoglou posed the following questions to which he did not require a right of reply.  His questions were directed to the Leader. 

 

1)     Forgive the history but this is even more relevant today, when you were due to take over as Leader of the Council my recollection was that there was serious disquiet amongst senior officers and some elected Members that they believed that you had an undisclosed personal connection to the people who sold Barnham Broom to the Council and that you were instrumental in persuading Councillors to vote blind to commit to spend £11m of what is effectively Breckland residents’ money on what was an asset that is outside of the District and in distress. In particular and if my memory serves me correctly, I remember a brief conversation with the Chief Executive, Anna Graves, who I believe said that Barnham Broom relationship had become problematic and that you would return as Leader as long as it took to right the ship. Now that you’ve succeeded in righting this ship to your satisfaction, will you fulfil the prophecy and resign as Leader of the Council.

 

2)     If the need for secrecy in relation to Barnham Broom is an attempt by senior members of the Council to protect their own reputations over and above the needs of the 135,000 residents, did you feel it appropriate to freely discuss this on 22 October 2018 with Ian Martin, of the NHP for Yaxham and other prospective but unelected District Councillors.

 

3)     Will the Leader join me after Full Council in my lonely Councillor one person protest outside these Council offices demanding that senior officers of this Council be more open, honest and objective when writing reports so that Members can be fully informed about issues for consideration rather than being spoon fed the answers Senior Officers and Managers want to get back.

With regard to Barnham Broom, the Leader stated at the time of the purchase, he did not have any association with anything or anybody from Barnham Broom; he never had and never would have and had never played golf there.  It was a commercially sensitive deal when the Council bought it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 150/18

151/18

Cabinet Minutes (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 93 KB

Confirmed minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 16 October 2018.

Minutes:

1)    ICT & Digital Strategy (Minute No. 107/18)

 

RESOLVED that:

 

a)    the draft ICT and Digital Strategy be approved and implemented from April 2019 to align with the Council’s new Corporate Plan; and

 

b)    the Digital Work Programme associated with the Strategy be approved, and the necessary funding be transferred as detailed in the Proforma B from Moving Forward (transformation) and Growth and Investment Reserves.

 

2)    Neighbourhood Planning – Transfer of Service (Minute No. 118/18)

 

RESOLVED that Option 1, as highlighted in the Cabinet report, be approved.

 

3)    Adoption

 

RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 16 October 2018 be adopted.

152/18

Overview and Scrutiny Commission (Agenda item 9) pdf icon PDF 107 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 8 November 2018.

Minutes:

1)    Member/Officer Protocol (Minute No. 26/18)

 

This recommendation was dealt with under Agenda item 16 (see Minute No. 158/18 below).

 

2)    Adoption

 

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 8 November 2018 be adopted.

153/18

Planning Committee (Agenda item 10) pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Confirmed minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 29 October 2018.

 

Minutes:

See declaration of interest at Minute No. 146/18 above.

 

RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 29 October 2018 be adopted.

154/18

Licensing Committee (Agenda item 11) pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Licensing Committee meeting held on 21 November 2018.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Licensing Committee meeting held on 21 November 2018 be adopted.

155/18

Committee of the Licensing Authority (Agenda item 12) pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Committee of the Licensing Authority meeting held on 21 November 2018.

Minutes:

1)    Gambling Act Policy (Minute No. 21/18)

 

This recommendation was dealt with under Agenda item 19 (see Minute No. 161/18 below).

 

2)    Adoption

 

     RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Committee of the Licensing Authority meeting held on 21 November 2018 be adopted.

 

156/18

Local Plan - Main Modifications (Agenda item 13) pdf icon PDF 123 KB

Report of Councillor Gordon Bambridge, Executive Member for Growth.

 

Due to its size, the Appendix to this report, the Schedule of Main Modifications, has been attached as a separate document.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Gordon Bambridge, the Portfolio Holder for Growth presented the report.

 

He informed Members that the Council had agreed to sign-off the proposed Submission version of the Local Plan on 27 July 2017 for its final pre-submission publication (6 week consultation) and submission for Examination in Public. The Council delegated agreement of modifications during the Examination to Officers in consultation with the Leader and Portfolio Holder.

 

The Local Plan had been in Examination during the summer and, during the course of the Hearings the Inspector had requested a number of modifications be made to the Plan to ensure that it could be found sound. The full list of modifications had been set out in Appendix A to the report.

 

The vast majority of these modifications were relatively minor and uncontroversial and in many cases, helpful to the Council. However, in some areas these modifications were more significant. Councillor Bambridge highlighted the significant modifications (as below):

 

·        Use of an alternative method of calculating the housing land supply (the ‘Sedgefield method’) – this had the effect of increasing the housing requirement in the next 5 years as any backlog built up had to be dealt with more quickly;

·        An early review of the Plan to consider the housing numbers, employment policies and gypsies and travellers; and

·        Changes to the Council’s proposed rural housing policies (HOU4 and 5).

In light of these significant modifications, he felt it to be appropriate not to utilise the delegation, and that the matter be brought back to Full Council for Members’ consideration.

 

There were three options available to Members and the report set out the potential implications of each option, based on both planning advice and separate legal advice.

 

Option 1 was for Members to agree the modifications and in doing so, would result in a six week consultation process to begin in the New Year; this would allow the examination to progress.

 

Option 1 would allow the Council to progress with the Examination leading to having an adopted and up to date Plan, including new land allocations, to assist with day-to-day decision making.

 

The detriment of this option was that there would be a need to move forward with an early review of the Plan in an ambitious timeframe. This would also include policies where there could be wording introduced by the Inspector that the Council would have preferred not to have included.

 

Option 1b was essentially as Option 1, but this option sought to reopen the Hearing sessions to allow further discussion to take place on the modifications to the rural housing policies.

 

Option 1b would allow a proper consideration of the amended text of the rural housing policies to take place.  However, legal advice had confirmed that this was unlikely to be accepted by the Inspector as there was no guarantee of a different outcome. This approach would extend the Examination with the likely result that other areas of the Plan would need to be updated - potentially adding further delay to progress the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 156/18

157/18

Community Governance Reviews Carbrooke and Great Ellingham and Thetford (Agenda item 14) pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Report of Councillor Mark Robinson, Executive Member for Governance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Mark Robinson, the Portfolio Holder for Governance, presented the report which asked Members to consider and approve the recommendations from the Community Governance Sub-Committee for the parishes of Carbrooke, Great Ellingham and Thetford.

 

He thanked Members and Officers for all their hard work including Parish Councillors.

 

Councillor Gould did not support the name being proposed for the new ThetfordParish Ward and accordingly proposed that it be called the ‘Iceni’ Ward.  Councillor Kybird agreed as there was no known Saxon remains in that part of Thetford so historically it was incorrect.  Councillor Jermy was pleased to support this amendment as naming it the New Saxon Ward was illogical and there was a great deal of historical data still available on the internet from the former Saxon Ward which would be confusing for residents.  Councillor Newton knew of many companies who used the name of Iceni that could cause some confusion and felt that the original proposal should remain and due regard should be paid to the public consultation.   Councillor Brindle stated that he had the opportunity to consult with the Croxton Road Group who had supported the idea of Iceni.

 

It was proposed and seconded that the new Thetford Parish Ward be named the ‘Iceni’ Ward.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1.     the number of Parish Councillors for Carbrooke Parish Council be increased from 7 to 9;

 

2.     the boundary of the Parish of Great Ellingham be altered to extend to the southern boundary of the Parish of Great Ellingham to meet the natural boundary provided by the A11 which currently lies within the Parish of Attleborough (Queens and Besthorpe Ward) (as shown on Appendix A to the report); and

 

3.     that:

 

(a)          the Parish boundary for Thetford be extended to include all the land to the south of the A11 and west of the A1075 currently in the Parish of Croxton, with the boundary between Croxton and Kilverstone remaining unchanged (as shown at Appendix B to the report);

 

(b)             an additional two Councillors for Thetford for the new Parish Ward be approved; and

 

(c)             the new Parish Ward be named the ‘Iceni’ Ward.

158/18

Change of Parish Name (Agenda item 15) pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Report of Maxine O’Mahony, Executive Director Strategy & Governance.

Minutes:

Mark Stinson, the Executive Manager - Governance presented the report that asked Members to consider a change of name for the Parish of Garvestone.

 

Members were informed that a request had been received from the Parish Council of Garvestone to formalise a change in the name of the Parish under the Local Government Act 1972, Part IV, Section 75.  It was noted that the Parish had, for some time, operated informally under the name of Garvestone, Reymerston and Thuxton and that no consultation was required.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1.     receipt of the request from Garvestone Parish Council to change the name of the Parish be noted;

 

2.     the name of the Parish be changed to Garvestone, Reymerston and Thuxton;

 

3.     the Council make an Order to be effective immediately; and

 

4.     the making of future section 75 Orders be delegated to the Executive Director of Strategy & Governance.

159/18

Member / Officer Protocol (Agenda item 16) pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Report of Maxine O’Mahony, Executive Director Strategy & Governance and Monitoring Officer.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mark Stinson, the Executive Manager - Governance presented the report. 

 

Members were being asked to consider the updated Protocol on Member/Officer relations at Part 5B of the Constitution.  It was noted that the Protocol had not been subject to a full review since 2006.  Executive Members had been consulted and the Protocol had also been considered by the Overview & Scrutiny Commission.

 

Councillor Smith queried Section 12 of the Protocol, under Arbitration and it was proposed and seconded that this section should be amended to read:

 

“When necessary, the Executive Directors will arbitrate on the interpretation of the Protocol following consultation with the Leader of the Council and the Monitoring Officer.

 

RESOLVED that subject to the aforementioned amendment, the revised Member/Officer Protocol be approved for inclusion in the Constitution.

160/18

A report concerning the resourcing of the Council's Housing Strategy and 'Enabling' service (Agenda item 17) pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Report of Councillor Gordon Bambridge, Executive Member for Growth.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Bambridge, the Portfolio Holder for Growth presented the report.

 

He explained that the Council’s Housing Strategy and Enabling Service was a small but important team which covered a number of functions in relation to housing delivery, policy development and research.  For a number of years the Council had worked in collaboration with a neighbouring authority to deliver this function.  This had been a successful arrangement, and had led to a number of notable successes (listed within the report).  However, due to the circumstances set out in the report, there was a need to revisit the Council’s delivery model for this important function.

 

Members’ approval was sought for the creation of a Housing Strategy and Development Officer as a means of providing continuity in service delivery following the cessation of the Council’s current arrangement with colleagues at Kings Lynn and West Norfolk. This post, if created, would play a key role in continuing efforts in respect of a wide range of corporately important work in relation to housing. This would include:

 

o   Working with developers and housing associations to enable the delivery of new affordable housing;

 

o   Undertaking research to inform the Council’s understanding of housing needs and demands of residents, now and into the future;

 

o   Working on key areas of corporate importance, including:

 

§  Working with parishes to support the delivery of rural affordable housing;

§  Supporting the Strategic Property and Operational Assets Team in bringing forward Council land for development;

§  Developing the Council’s approach to matters such as custom and self-build housing; and

§  Leading on ambitions to invest in new temporary accommodation so that the needs of homeless households could be met.

This work would play a key role in helping the authority to:

 

o   meet the current and future housing needs of its residents; and

o   support the district and the authority in delivering the benefits of housing growth.

Councillor Bambridge recommended the report and its recommendation to Members for approval.

 

Councillor Jermy drew attention to section 4.2 of the report (page 79) as he felt that the demand now was even greater than in 2015 and asked if 1FTE would be enough.  In response, Councillor Bambridge assured Members that it would, and there was an improved Management Structure that sat behind it.

 

RESOLVED that, in response to the change to the current delivery model for the Council’s Housing Strategy and Enabling Service, the role of Housing Strategy and Development Officer (1FTE) be created within the Council’s permanent staffing establishment.

161/18

A report concerning the creation of an External Funding Officer post (Agenda item 18) pdf icon PDF 92 KB

Report of Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Corporate Strategy & Investment.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In the absence of the Deputy Leader, Councillor Phil Cowen, Portfolio Holder for Finance presented the report.

 

The report sought Members’ approval to create a shared External Funding Officer post as a means of supporting the Council’s activity in relation to identifying, applying for and securing external funding to support delivery of key Council objectives.

 

It was noted that the post would be shared with South Holland District Council.

 

RESOLVED that the creation of a new shared External Funding Officer post, with a view to pursuing the delivery of the expected benefits as captured within the main report, be approved.

 

162/18

Revised Gambling Act Statement of Principles (Agenda item 19) pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Report of Councillor Alison Webb, Executive Member for People & Information.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Alison Webb, the Portfolio Holder for People & Information, presented the report and asked Members to consider and approve the Council’s revised Gambling Policy (Statement of Principles).

 

The Statement had to be reviewed every three years; therefore, since the current Statement took effect in January 2016, the required process had to be completed by the end of 2018.

 

Members were asked to note that the recommendation was incorrect; it was Full Council that had to approve the proposed Gambling Policy and not the Overview & Scrutiny Commission.

 

RESOLVED that the revised Gambling Policy (Statement of Principles) as shown at Appendix A of the report be approved.

163/18

Amendments to the Constitution (if any) (Agenda item 20)

Minutes:

None.

164/18

Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent (if any) (Agenda item 21)

NOTE: No other business is permitted unless by reason of special circumstances, which shall be specified in the minutes, the Chairman is of the opinion that the items(s) should be considered as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

None.

165/18

Nominations for Committee and other Seats (Agenda item 22)

To receive nominations for any changes to Committee and other seats from political groups.

 

·        Norfolk Countywide Community Safety Partnership Scrutiny Sub Panel

 

Substitute to be appointed

Minutes:

No nominations were put forward.