Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Democratic Services  Tel: 01362 656870

Items
No. Item

18/19

Apologies (Agenda item 1)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Darby, Hollis, Oliver and William Richmond.

 

Councillor Millbank was marked as absent as no apologies had been received.

19/19

Minutes (Agenda item 2) pdf icon PDF 111 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 24 January 2019.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 24 January 2019 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

20/19

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:

None.

21/19

Chairman's Announcements (Agenda item 4) pdf icon PDF 33 KB

Minutes:

It had been quite a quiet month but one event that the Chairman was looking forward to was a 2 hour flight on the re-fuelling plane from Mildenhall.  The month ahead; however, was going to be quite busy and his diary was already fairly booked.

 

The Chairman reminded Members that under agenda item 12, if they were two months or more in arrears with their Council Tax, they must disclose the fact and not vote on any item to set tax or any decision which may affect its calculation.

22/19

Leader's Announcements (Agenda item 5)

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

 

Minutes:

The Leader made the following announcements:

 

·        Elections - Members were made aware that the Elections Team was there to support any Councillor that needed assistance.  The Leader mentioned the Prospective Councillor Event that took place recently and thanked his colleagues who supported that event and congratulated all those involved.  He felt that it was very important to get people interested in local Government and willing to stand for local Election.

·        Swaffham Air Quality – Members were aware of previous conversations in respect of this matter and the Leader was pleased to announce that the air quality in Swaffham was improving.  DEFRA was now suggesting different actions and had been pleased with what the Council had achieved to date in relation to the reduction of nitrogen dioxide. Breckland Council would continue to strive moving forwards and continue to work with Norfolk County Council to improve the flow of vehicles through the towns.

·        BreckWorld – A brand new app available to download from the App Store, backed by Stephen Fry, had recently been launched by the Council with 166 downloads already. The Leader was sure that this interest had been helped by Stephen Fry tweeting about the app to his many followers far and wide.  The app had been delivered working with Ryan Baxter, the young entrepreneur who Members met at the last Council meeting. The Leader said that since visiting the BreckWorld site he had seen many places that he never knew existed even though he had lived most of his life in Breckland and he encouraged Members to download the app.

·        Town & Parish Council Forum – this event would be taking place later, from 5.30pm in the Conference Suite.  He knew of a few District Members that were attending and he also knew that there were approximately 50 Town & Parish Councillors on the list to attend.

·        Cyber Security – the Council had received a grant from the LGA to ensure that all Members would have the opportunity for training. There would be cyber security e-learning modules for all Councillors from May 2019 onwards to hopefully address these future challenges going forward.

·        Funding for Fibre – The Leader congratulated Norfolk County Council (NCC) who had recently secured an additional £8m which would see fibre broadband rolled out to those parts of the District that were in the very rural areas.  He felt as a collective, all were trying hard to recognise the more deprived and remote areas that suffered the worst possible signals both in phone lines and broadband so the more that could be done collectively to drive that forward the better.

 

Councillor Wassell asked the Leader a question about broadband.  He believed that it was still the case that the Council had not used the £950k that had been allocated for broadband a number of years ago and asked what proportion of the NCC money was likely to be spent in Breckland.  If the amount was not sufficient, he wanted to know if the Council would be able to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22/19

23/19

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

Minutes:

None received.

24/19

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

Minutes:

Councillor Clarke asked the Leader if he would rule out completely the introduction of car park charging at Cherry Tree car park and elsewhere after the 2nd May Elections so as not to stifle initiative in the market towns.  The Leader said that he could not provide Councillors with an answer as he did not know if, following the Elections, he would be elected as Leader.  This was; however, a manifesto commitment.

 

Councillor Dimoglou asked two short questions of Councillor Cowen, the Executive Member for Finance & Delivery: 

 

·        The first question was in relation to one of the outstanding success stories of this administration, the Unsightly Sites Policy.  At a recent Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting, a presentation had been provided on the progress of some unsightly sites and although he had been impressed with the progress, the actual initiative seemed as if it could have benefited from enhanced resources.  Councillor Dimoglou asked if the Finance department intended to better fund and support this important aspect of work.

 

·        Councillor Dimoglou also asked the Executive Member to confirm if the Council Tax increase was once again, the maximum permitted by law as this had been the fourth year running that this increase had been applied despite Breckland Council having millions of pounds in Reserves which he felt would be another blow to hard pressed families living in Breckland.

 

·        In response to the first question, in relation to unsightly sites, the Executive Member for Finance & Delivery explained that the Council did not have a specific budget for unsightly sites due to the unknown factor of Government funding year on year. However, funding had been allocated in various areas of the budget, in particular, in the Place Portfolio within the Inclusive Growth Reserve.  He explained that it was impossible to allocate a specific amount for such matters as the costs were unknown and ultimately, the Council could be criticised for either over spending or under spending if a specific budget had been allocated. 

 

In terms of the budget, the Executive Director of Commercialisation & S151 Officer explained that there was a history for this authority having to deal with some difficult sites and funds had been allocated for works/legal costs accordingly; this funding could be either a one-off or for more minor cases, funding would be utilised from existing budgets.  The Executive Director of Place advised that most of these matters were part of the day job across the Communities Team and the Planning & Enforcement Team; however, if in a particular case, a more significant spend was required, Cabinet would be approached to request additional funds from the Inclusive Growth Fund. 

 

·        In response to Councillor Dimoglou’s second question in relation to the Council Tax increase, the Executive Member for Finance & Delivery explained that this authority had been given the opportunity 4 years ago to look, as a low taxing authority, how it could increase its Council Tax - given that all authorities were facing significant funding cuts from Central Government.  Council Tax had been increased  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24/19

25/19

Cabinet Minutes (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 113 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 5 February 2019.

Minutes:

Members were informed that the recommendation on page 18 of the agenda pack would be taken under agenda item 11 (Minute No. 08/19 refers).

 

resolvedthat the unconfirmed Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 5 February 2019 be adopted.

26/19

Overview and Scrutiny Commission (Agenda item 9) pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 31 January 2019.

Minutes:

Members were informed that the recommendation on page 25 of the agenda pack would be taken under agenda item 14 (Minute No. 08/19 refers).

 

resolvedthat the unconfirmed Minutes of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 31 January 2019 be adopted.

27/19

Planning Committee (Agenda item 10) pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Confirmed minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 14 January 2019.

 

Minutes:

Local Plan Update (Minute No. 7/19)

 

Councillor Borrett raised a concern as he had noticed that the Local Plan consultation had already begun.  He reminded Members that when Full Council endorsed the modification document consultation to be progressed, reservations from Members had been expressed as to the form of the amendments that the Planning Inspector had made.  Councillor Borrett believed that it had been the wish of Members that the Council expresses its concerns as part of the consultation and that these be circulated so that Members could share this information with their Parish Councils.  In response, the Deputy Leader, Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen advised that he had worked with the Executive Member for Growth and a statement would be produced in conjunction with the Executive  Director of Commercialisation to pick up the comments that had been raised at the December Full Council meeting.  This statement would then be circulated to Members and Parish Councils in due course. He reminded Members that there was also an opportunity for all Members to respond during the consultation process.

 

Adoption

 

resolvedthat the confirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 14 January 2019 be adopted.

28/19

Budget, Medium Term Plan and Capital Strategy 2019-20 (Agenda item 11) pdf icon PDF 96 KB

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Cowen, the Executive Member for Finance & Delivery presented the report.

 

All Members had been given the opportunity to follow the budget process from the start.  The draft budget papers had been considered by Cabinet at its meeting on 27 November 2018.  The report was then taken to the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting followed by the public consultation period held during December which finished in January 2019.  At the recent Cabinet meeting in February, Members were provided with an updated paper and this Full Council meeting was the final stage of the budget process.  As it was such a significant and important issue for the Council and for its residents, the Executive Member for Finance & Delivery hoped that all Members had taken the opportunity to read the final report thoroughly. 

 

Attention was drawn to page 41 of the agenda pack where the ten recommendations were highlighted. The Executive Member for Finance & Delivery pointed out that this budget was an incredibly positive budget for any Council to review and this authority had achieved a budget, going forward, that was balanced and would provide the Council with Reserves with which it could support its local communities.  He conveyed his thanks to the Officers involved for all their hard work and commitment and commended the budget to Members.

 

Prior to any questions being asked and in response to the Chairman, Members agreed to take the 10 recommendations enbloc. The Chairman also reminded Members that under the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, a recorded vote must be taken.

 

Councillor Jermy raised the following points. 

 

The Labour Group took its role very seriously within the Council; it raised opportunities when needed whilst also giving praise where it was due.  The Group also highlighted matters that could be lacking, not for the sake of it, but in the hope that it might be able to make some improvements. Looking back at last year’s Labour Group proposals, despite not being carried, Councillor Jermy had been really pleased to see some amendments around street lights where many had been or were being replaced with LED energy efficient lamps which had been welcomed.  

 

Similarly, another amendment proposed in the previous year, was to increase the availability of affordable housing which again was defeated; however, there had been a marked improvement in the focus of affordable housing that could be seen within the Annual Monitoring report and it had been confirmed that over 28% of housing within the District were affordable which again was to be welcomed. 

 

Another proposal in relation to tourism had been put forward in the previous year asking for £5k for each of the market towns to invest in tourism information services, which again was voted down; however, a few months later ShopAppy was launched but he understood that it would cost more than the Group’s initial proposal.    Its impact remained to be seen and he would remain sceptical as he would much rather have seen locally based community solutions.  He hoped  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28/19

Recorded Vote
TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
Budget Medium Term Plan and Capital Strategy 2019-20 Resolution

The Council considered the report which detailed the budget proposals for the 2019/20 Municipal year.

Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 29/19

    Council Tax Setting 2019-20 (Agenda item 12) pdf icon PDF 91 KB

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

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Councillor Cowen, the Executive Member for Finance & Delivery presented the Council Tax setting report and commended the two recommendations to Council.

     

    The Chairman again reminded Members that if they were two months or more in arrears with their Council Tax, they must disclose the fact and not vote on any item to set tax or any decision which may affect its calculation.

     

    A recorded vote was taken and it was:

     

    RESOLVED that:

     

    1.           the special expenses for 2019-20 (at paragraph 1.3 of the report) be      approved; and

     

    2.               the formal Council Tax resolutions for 2019-20 (at paragraph 1.4.1 to 1.4.5 of the report as set out below) be approved.

     

    1.4.1    It is to be noted that on 21 February 2019 the Council has calculated: -

    a) the Council Tax Base 2019-20 for the whole Council area as 43,479.8 (item T in the regulations made under Section 33(5) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, as amended) and

    b) for dwellings in those parts of its area to which a Parish precept relates as in the attached Appendix A.

     

    1.4.2    Calculate that the Council Tax requirement for the Council’s own purposes for 2019-20 (excluding Parish precepts) is £3,933,183.

     

    1.4.3    That the following amounts be calculated by the Council for the year 2019-20 in accordance with Sections 31 to 36 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 as amended (the Act):-

     

    a)

    £78,582,320

    being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the expenditure items set out in Section 31A(2) of the Act;

     

    b)

    £70,632,356

    being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the income items set out in Section 31A(3) of the Act;

     

    c)

    £7,949,964

    being the amount by which the aggregate at 1.4.3(a) above exceeds the aggregate at 1.4.3(b) above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31A(4) of the Act, as its Council Tax requirement for the year;

     

    d)

    £182.84

    being the amount at 1.4.3(c) above, divided by the amount at 1.4.1(a) above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31B(1) of the Act, as the basic amount of its Council Tax for the year (including Parish precepts);

     

    e)

    £4,087,653

    being the aggregate amount of all special items (including Parish precepts) referred to in Section 34(1) of the Act (as per Appendix A of the agenda);

     

    f)

    £88.83

    being the amount at 1.4.3(d) above less the result given by dividing the amount at 1.4.3(e) above by the amount at 1.4.1(a) above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 34(2) of the Act, as the basic amount of its Council Tax for the year for dwellings in those parts of its areas to which no special item relates;

     

    g)

    The figures shown in Appendix B of the agenda, being the amounts given by adding to the amount at 1.4.3(f) above the amounts of the special item or items relating to dwellings in those parts of the Council's area mentioned above divided in each case by the amount at 1.4.1(b) above,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29/19

    Recorded Vote
    TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
    Council Tax Setting 2019-20 Resolution Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 30/19

    Corporate Plan 2019-2023 (Agenda item 13) pdf icon PDF 86 KB

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

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Deputy Leader & Executive Member for Corporate Strategy and Investment, Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen presented the Corporate Plan for the period 2019-2023 to Council for adoption.

     

    The Deputy Leader thanked all Members and Officers within the authority for their input throughout this process.  The layout and design had been changed and it had a strategic vision throughout being ‘Breckland: A place where people and business can thrive’ and he felt that the budget presentation that everyone had seen had reinforced some of those opportunities and successes over the last four years.  The Corporate Plan was fundamentally linked to all aspects of the Council and was classed as the ‘golden thread’ that linked its strategic vision to its four Corporate Priorities – Your Place, Your Health & Wellbeing, Your opportunity and Our Council.

     

    Councillor Duigan felt that although the A47 had been highlighted on page 140 as an aspiration, it should have been included on page 142 under the priority: Your Opportunity, with an extra line similar to that of the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor.  The Deputy Leader was more than happy to take this iteration forward if Members were content with this amendment.

     

    Councillor Jermy thanked the Deputy Leader for the new Corporate Plan.  He liked the new layout and the format and was pleased with what it contained; however, the two matters that he felt were missing were; firstly, the environment specifically around climate change which he felt would be an increasing issue over the coming years and, how this authority sought to minimise its own impact on the environment and reduce its carbon footprint.  He felt that environmental issues ran across all four priorities and this would be a missed opportunity for the Council. Secondly, he would have preferred to see not just more jobs but better paid jobs in the District to allow people to have a better quality of life and work-life balance and he did not believe that the report was strong enough in that respect.  In response, the Deputy Leader reminded Members of the ‘golden thread’ that ran throughout all four priorities within the Corporate Plan and mentioned what the Council was doing for vision setting in relation to business growth in the District that was discussed at the last Cabinet meeting.  Therefore, as much as the Corporate Plan did not detail it directly and would be inappropriate to do so, the vision setting for Business Growth and the Corporate Plan, both linked the Council’s aspiration for moving forward and he thanked Councillor Jermy for his support at the last Cabinet meeting in relation to the Thetford Enterprise Park.  As far as the environment was concerned, he would be more than happy to take that back and carry out further iteration to the introductory piece in relation to the Council trying to reduce its carbon footprint.

     

    Councillor Kybird mentioned the lack of support for the military covenant within the Corporate Plan.  At a previous Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting the Executive Member in attendance had promised to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30/19

    31/19

    Pay Policy Statement 2019/20 (Agenda item 14) pdf icon PDF 61 KB

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

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Councillor Alison Webb, the Executive Member for People & Information presented the report.  The Pay Policy Statement was a statutory requirement and had already been considered by the Overview & Scrutiny Commission at its meeting on 31 January 2019.

     

    RESOLVED that the Pay Policy Statement be approved.

    32/19

    Gender Pay Gap Report (Agenda item 15) pdf icon PDF 78 KB

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

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Councillor Alison Webb, the Executive Member for People & Information presented the report.  The Gender Pay Gap report had already been considered by the Overview & Scrutiny Commission at its meeting on 31 January 2019.

     

    RESOLVED that the Gender Pay Gap report be uploaded onto the Government website in accordance with the Gender Pay Gap Information Regulations 2017.

    33/19

    Nominations for Committee and other Seats (Agenda item 16)

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

    Minutes:

    None.

    34/19

    Amendments to the Constitution (Agenda item 17)

    Minutes:

    None.

    35/19

    Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent (Agenda item 18)

    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.