Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Democratic Services  Tel: 01362 656870


No. Item

Chairman's Opening Remarks

In the Chief Executive’s absence, the Chairman introduced the Officers on the top table.  The Chairman and Members conveyed their best wishes to the Chief Executive and wished her a speedy recovery.



Apologies (Agenda item 1)

To receive apologies for absence. 


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Ashby, Askew, Brindle, Clarke, Colman, Gilbert, Grey, Hambidge, Hewett, Kiddell, I. Martin, Oliver, Sherwood and Terry.


Maxine O’Mahony, the Chief Executive and Rob Walker, the Executive Director & Monitoring Officer had also sent their apologies.


Minutes (Agenda item 2) pdf icon PDF 386 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 24 February 2022.


The Minutes of the meeting held on 24 February 2022 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


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.



None declared.


Chairman's Announcements (Agenda item 4) pdf icon PDF 59 KB


On behalf of Breckland Council, the Chairman took the opportunity to thank all the residents and members of the public who had been so supportive of the Ukraine situation.  He had received many emails from the public asking how they could donate and where the drop off donation points were.  He had been humbled by the number of businesses/companies in Breckland that had offered their assistance and highlighted a number of them.


Riches Transport and Waites and Stones of Swaffham were two companies in a position where the owner drivers filled their trucks with goods and drove to the Polish border. Another Breckland company called Camvac, a packaging company in Thetford, gave up their warehouse space and became a drop off point for donations as did the Railway Tavern in Dereham.  Camvac produced metallised film and laminates for thermal insulation normally produced on reels each weighing a tonne, so their apprentices designed a roll and cutting machine to allow the foil to be transported into manageable weights.  Other companies who helped were Chilterns Estate Agents, Morrisons, Peerless Coatings, Arrowpack, the Albion Pub in Thetford, and the Green Room Boutique in Brandon just over the border into Suffolk.  Rowlinson Packaging along with Simon Long Removals, provided boxes and crates to store the goods on the lorries.


On another matter, the Chairman was pleased to introduce Lady Kay Fisher to the meeting to present a Covid plaque to Breckland Council for its contribution made to the Breckland communities during the pandemic.  This had been organised by the Lord Lieutenant’s Office for parish councils and towns but he was delighted and proud to accept one of these at District level on behalf of Breckland Council to recognise the work the Council had undertaken throughout the pandemic.


Lady Kay Fisher then said that it was with great pride and a privilege that she had been invited to this meeting to present this plaque on behalf of Lady Dannatt, MBE, the Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk and representative of Her Majesty the Queen.  The plaque represented a unique moment in time which should be remembered when communities across the County came together to support one another and look out for each other in a time of great need.  Breckland Council, Officers and Councillors together with the Norfolk Community Foundation had led the way with the community fund to support local charities to help those in need.  This plaque was distinctly Norfolk, designed by Ruby Douglas, a graduate from Wymondham and the inspirational wording by Harriett Martineau, allegedly the first female sociologist.  The plaque had been commissioned by the Lord Lieutenant and the costs had been borne by Norfolk charities.  It was a unique Norfolk symbol through difficult and challenging times, and the sadness over those lives that had been lost and those whose lives had changed and tribute was paid to all those people who went the extra mile for their neighbours.  


The Chairman thanked Lady Fisher on behalf of Breckland Council.


Another presentation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46/22


Leader's Announcements (Agenda item 5)

To receive a verbal update from Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen, Leader of the Council.



Prior to making his announcements, the Leader, Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen, wanted to thank the Lord Lieutenancy Office for not just recognising the work of Breckland Council Officers and Members but the whole of the Breckland community and felt that recognition award for the Councillors and Parish Clerk of Swanton Morley just highlighted the community spirit across the whole of the District.  


The following announcements were then made:




The Ukraine/Russia conflict was now in its second month, with a significant number of people forced to flee their homes and he was sure that everyone had been shocked and appalled by what had been happening in Ukraine, but he was pleased to inform Members that Breckland Council stood ready to support refugees in need.


District Councils were responsible for housing provision, and all were at the forefront in the local response, working closely alongside partners and of course the communities.


The people of Breckland had responded brilliantly as ever, with a number of people offering to host refugees in the district - and he personally thanked them all.


Three officers had since been recruited to support Ukrainian refugees who came to the district together with their hosts, including checking the suitability of local properties and ongoing checks on their welfare.


Housing was just one of a number of important elements in the package of support being made available, and therefore he was pleased that through Breckland Council’s strong partnership with other local authorities all were securing access to other important provisions such as education, leisure facilities and transport.


Key information could be found on all the support being provided for the Ukrainian refugees on the Council’s website and Members were urged to make use of these resources if they received any local enquiries.


Opening of Elm House, Thetford and phase two


On the subject of helping to support the vulnerable in the District, the Leader was pleased to update Members on the Council’s temporary accommodation site in Thetford. The £1.8m Elm House site had now officially opened its doors to residents in need, providing temporary housing to single adults, couples, and families from across the Breckland district.


This major investment in services meant that even more high-quality temporary accommodation support was now available to those residents who were most in-need, including those who had been made homeless or needed short-term support whilst finding a more permanent place to live.


The Leader congratulated and thanked all Members and Officers who had played a part in delivering this important refurbishment project that would now make a big difference to local peoples’ lives.


He was pleased to announce that this project had been entered into the Norfolk Constructing Excellence Awards for the sustainable approach taken during construction, using innovative recycling of the building waste.  The Team had been able to ensure zero waste went to landfill that supported Breckland’s 2035 commitment. The winner would be announced at the end of April 2022 but even getting to this stage was indeed a great achievement.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 47/22


Questions on Notice under Standing Order No 6 (Agenda item 6) pdf icon PDF 244 KB


The Questions on Notice together with the responses had been published prior to the meeting.


Councillor Birt raised a Point of Order under this Standing Order and quoted the wording contained within the Constitution under Standing Order 6.1.


The Chairman refused to accept this Point of Order and therefore was upheld, and no further discussion was had.



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


Councillor Jermy, the Leader of the Labour Group asked Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen, the Leader of the Council, a question related to the ‘All about Local’ events that had been taking place in the District.  He was sure that all would agree given what everyone had been through over the last two years anything Breckland could do to support local traders and businesses was very important and should be welcomed. However, he asked if the Leader or the relevant Cabinet Member could confirm the aims and objectives of the ‘All about Local’ events and what they were supposed to be achieving and whether or not the Leader believed they had been achieved and also what the cost of staging such events had been.


The Leader was unsure of the costs involved but was aware that positive feedback had been received from traders and from individuals visiting the District for the first time, but a more fulsome answer would be provided in a written response.


Councillor Atterwill had recently seen a social media post where this Council had spent £5k installing 10m of ivy screens in Swaffham Town Centre.  Councillor Sherwood, the Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, had stated in that post that the greenery would help shield shoppers from air pollution.  Councillor Atterwill asked the Leader if he could explain how this installation would shield the shoppers of Swaffham and also asked if the money would have been better spent towards a project to actually reduce air pollution.


In Councillor Sherwood’s absence, the Leader explained that this project came under the Market Towns Initiative umbrella and the funding formed part of this Council’s £750k investment in Breckland’s 5 market towns where local Members decided such projects and activities without any prescription or dictation from this authority. He understood that this had been a joined-up approach in what Swaffham was trying to achieve and all 3 District Councillors/Ward Members had provided positive feedback about the street architecture.  If further detail was required and the company involved in the scheme, once again this would be provided in writing.


Back in February and again at the end of March, Councillor Birt had noticed that the EDP had reported that a number of Breckland Councillors had been cited as saying that users were abusing the car parking facilities in Attleborough.  Councillor Hewett, the Executive Member for Property & Projects, had been quoted a number of times in these EDP articles and the abuse claim had been targeted at Norwich commuters taking trains and buses into Norwich.  Councillor Birt stated that these were working people who were using more environmentally friendly public transport methods of getting to Norwich and were most likely Breckland Council taxpayers who brought income into the District and were using a facility provided entirely within the rules and should not be seen as abuse.  He felt that these accusations were highly irresponsible, and Members needed to reflect on the language being used.


In Councillor Hewett’s absence, the Leader explained that the trial that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49/22


Minutes (for information only) (Agenda item 8)

To note the following Committee Minute documents:


The following Minutes were noted enbloc.


Cabinet: 21 March 2022 pdf icon PDF 164 KB

To note the unconfirmed Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 21 March 2022.


The Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 21 March 2022 were noted.


Overview & Scrutiny Commission: 10 March 2022 pdf icon PDF 179 KB

To note the unconfirmed Minutes of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 10 March 2022.


The Minutes of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 10 March 2022 were noted.


Governance & Audit Committee: 10 February 2022 pdf icon PDF 180 KB

To note the unconfirmed Minutes of the Governance & Audit Committee meeting held on 10 February 2022.


The Minutes of the Governance & Audit Committee meeting held on 10 February 2022 were noted.


Licensing Committee: 23 March 2022 pdf icon PDF 271 KB

To note the unconfirmed Minutes of the Licensing Committee meeting held on 23 March 2022.


The Minutes of the Licensing Committee meeting held on 23 March 2022 were noted.


General Purposes Committee: 22 February 2022 pdf icon PDF 132 KB

To note the confirmed Minutes of the General Purposes Committee meeting held on 22 February 2022.


The Minutes of the General Purposes Committee meeting held on 22 February 2022 were noted.


Planning Committee: 15 February 2022 pdf icon PDF 227 KB

To note the confirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 15 February 2022.


The Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 15 February 2022 were noted.


Planning Committee: 15 March 2022 pdf icon PDF 270 KB

To note the unconfirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 15 March 2022.


The Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 15 March 2022 were noted.


Nominations for Committee and other Seats (Agenda item 9)

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




Amendments to the Constitution (if any) (Agenda item 10)




Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent (Agenda item 11)

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.


Before the meeting closed, the Chairman thanked everyone watching via YouTube and once again praised the work of Breckland Council for keeping head of the Ukraine situation.