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

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and informed Members that unfortunately, due to IT issues, the meeting would not be livestreamed but would hopefully be recorded.


Apologies (Agenda item 1)

To receive apologies for absence. 


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Askew, Bowes, Duffield, Hambidge, Hewett, Kiddell, Oliver and Terry.


Minutes (Agenda item 2) pdf icon PDF 179 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 7 July 2022.


Questions Without Notice Under Standing Order No. 7 (Minute No. 74/22)


Councillor Birt stated that the Minutes had failed to record that he had been interrupted midway through his question and was therefore unable to complete it.  However, according to the Minutes a second question was asked but this was not strictly true as he had not been able to continue with his first question and was asked to put forward an alternative question.


The Monitoring Officer asked Councillor Birt if he would like the wording changed and asked him for suggestions that would reflect what he had said at the meeting.


Councillor Birt suggested the following wording:


‘His question was interrupted, and he was asked to ask an alternative question’.


Members were then asked to vote on this amendment.


The vote was lost and the amendment failed.




A further vote was taken to approve the Minutes without the amendment, and it was:


RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting held on 7 July 2022 be confirmed as a true and accurate record. The Minutes were signed by the Chairman.


The following Members asked for their names to be recorded as voting against the Minutes:


Councillors Jermy, Birt, Clarke, Dowling, Harvey, Land, Brindle, Wickerson, Atterwill, Morton and Gilbert.



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 51 KB

On behalf of the Chairman, Ashley Burn a representative from Mind Norfolk & Waveney, will be in attendance to highlight the important work of this charity.


Members were informed of the sad passing of Albert Paines, a former Labour Councillor who had served Breckland, in the Thetford area from 2003 to 2007.  A minute silence was held.


Councillor Terry Land was welcomed to his first Full Council meeting.


Members were informed that unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, Ashley Bunn a representative from MIND, had been unable to attend this meeting but arrangements would be made for him to attend the next Full Council meeting in October to highlight the important work of this charity.


The Chairman stated that a number of his charity fund raising events would be held in the near future.


He also reminded Members of the certificate of special recognition for invisible heroes and if they knew of anyone in their community that they felt deserved such recognition to put their name forward.


Councillor Wilkin said that he had put a nomination forward and it had been very well received and had been much appreciated.




Leader's Announcements (Agenda item 5)

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



The Leader, Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen, echoed the Chairman’s previous comments in respect of former Councillor Albert Paine and conveyed his thoughts and prayers to his family.


The following announcements were then made.




Tribute was paid to all the individuals and families from Ashill affected by the fire which so tragically tore through the village earlier in the summer.


The Leader took the opportunity to thank Members from in and around Ashill, and across the district, in particular, Mr Alan Ketteringham, the Chair of Ashill Parish Council, who played such an important role in supporting members of the local community both during the fire and in the aftermath. There had been countless other community members both in and around Ashill that had played an instrumental part in supporting residents and all affected by this tragic incident and their contribution had been greatly appreciated by all involved and had been recognised. 


Officers and Members from this Council worked closely with the emergency services and partner agencies to help support the residents of Ashill.


The Housing team provided support on the night of the fire and beyond by helping displaced residents find alternative accommodation, and help went much further, including welfare support, help with funding applications, collection of donations, and simply an ear to those in distress. On-going support continued taking ad hoc queries and supporting the Parish with signposting and information.


The Leader was very proud of the response of this Council that had once again demonstrated that Breckland was a Council that put its communities first and was there for local people, in the good times and the bad.


Gold at Armed Forces Covenant


Since this Council last met, the Leader was pleased to announce that Breckland Council has been awarded 'gold status' in the Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme.


This was for its efforts to offer high levels of support to members of the Armed Forces and their families, including serving personnel, reservists, veterans, families, cadets, and the wider military community across the district.


In context, less than 1% of employers had achieved this status nationally and Breckland was one of only 60 Councils nationally to have achieved this status, and one of only a handful in the East of England.


This latest award, from the Ministry of Defence, built on the Council's previous success in achieving the silver award, a status it had held since 2017.


Members were aware of how important the armed forces community – both serving and veterans – were to Breckland, and looked forward to seeing a much richer data picture emerge later this year – when for the very first time the Census would provide exact numbers of veterans and link them to other key census data points.



Thetford Stage and Screen programme


As part of Breckland Council’s ongoing commitment to supporting its towns to thrive through their Thriving Places activity, the Leader was pleased that the inaugural Stage and Screen events in Thetford had been so well attended.


Over  ...  view the full minutes text for item 85/22


Questions on Notice under Standing Order No 6 (Agenda item 6) pdf icon PDF 442 KB

Additional documents:


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


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


Councillor Jermy, the Leader of the Labour Group, echoed the Leader’s previous comments and congratulated staff who contributed to the recent events held in Thetford.


He had heard that it had been rumoured that a deal had been made for Norfolk with regard to devolution, a deal that included an elected Leader for the County that had been discussed at a recent Leaders meeting.  He asked the Leader if he could confirm the details of that deal and whether he supported it.


The Leader advised that as Members were already aware from his previous responses, District Councils did not form part of these conversations with Government.  He was aware however, that an informal offer had been made to Norfolk County Council with the Leader and colleagues in relation to what a County deal could look like including a directly elected Leader.  He was not aware of any detail or of the final position that had been formed but further information should be available in the near future.  As the Leader of Breckland Council he believed in devolution moving forward but until he had seen sight of the detail, he could not comment any further.


Councillor Atterwill, the Leader of the Independent Group directed his question to Councillor James, the Executive Member for Customer & Corporate Services.  He was aware that in the financial year 2021/22 Breckland Council spent £348k on communications which he felt was a significant increase compared to the previous year and asked Councillor James if she felt that such an increase was justified and was a good use of taxpayers’ money.


Councillor James felt that Councillor Atterwill would agree from previous conversations that Breckland Council’s communications with its residents were paramount in letting them know what the Council was doing and what services could be provided but if a detailed breakdown was preferred to demonstrate value for money she would work with the Team and get back to him.


Councillor Atterwill said that he already had a breakdown of the figures and asked again if the increased spend was justified compared to the previous year of £205k.  Councillor James felt that the increased in spend was incredibly important to keep residents up to date with the services this Council provided and reminded Councillor Atterwill that he himself had raised this issue on a number of occasions about keeping residents informed and being able to access such information and believed that the Council had an absolute responsibility to share what the Council was spending their money on such as the website, the Call-Centre, the newsletter and various social media.  If Councillor Atterwill had any proposals in saving areas, she would welcome them.


Councillor Birt, the Leader of the Green Party pointed out that Members had a constitutional right to ask questions at this stage, but at the Full Council meeting held on 19 May 2022 his question was blocked and at the previous Full Council meeting his question had been interrupted and was therefore incomplete.  This, in his  ...  view the full minutes text for item 87/22


Motion Received under Standing Order No. 8 (Agenda item 8)

NOTICE OF MOTION: Proposed by Cllr Jermy and seconded by Cllr Birt




This Council notes the work to date on ending fuel poverty in our area but acknowledges that thousands of Breckland households are estimated to be in fuel poverty and that more can be done to end fuel poverty by 2030.


This Council resolves:


1. To instruct the Chief Executive and officers to create a strategy to facilitate ending fuel poverty in the Breckland area by 2030.


This will be achieved by:

·        improving the energy efficiency of housing association housing stock

·        enforcement of existing regulations on energy efficiency and property standards, particularly in the private rented sector

·        publishing a statement of intent and setting locally appropriate eligibility criteria to access Energy Company Obligation funding via the Local Authority Flexibility arrangements

·        levering in funds to improve the energy efficiency standards of all housing

·        working to ensure all new build homes are independently certified as meeting the Future Homes Standard.

·        providing accessible information, advice and guidance in a variety of formats to those most in need by utilising the Council’s various communication methods

·        working in partnership with other agencies and voluntary and community groups to implement and monitor delivery of the Strategy, including signpost, refer & follow-up cases of debt to ensure residents are supported.


2.     To become a Member of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition.


3.     Write to the Government in support of the campaign to introduce an energy price cap for households that use domestic heating oil.




Councillor Jermy did not read aloud his Notice of Motion as it had already been included on the Agenda.  The Motion had been seconded by Councillor Birt.


In accordance with the procedures, as stated in the Council’s Constitution under Standing Order No. 8, Councillor Jermy was then given the opportunity to put forward the reasons for the Motion.


The End Fuel Poverty Coalition was a broad network of anti-poverty, environmental, health and housing campaigners, as well as local authorities, trade-unions and consumer organisations.  He was grateful for their assistance in compiling the Motion that had been tabled.  It was a Motion that had been around for a while but it was now more pressing than ever. The End Fuel Poverty Coalition believed that everybody had a right to a warm, dry home that they could afford to heat and power and he believed that this was a matter that all would agree with. 


Sadly, there were millions of households in the UK living in fuel poverty and almost 9,000 in the Breckland district alone.  This figure had been taken from the most recent Government data, dated from 2020.  The reality was, was that this figure would have increased and would no doubt significantly increase when the rises this year in the energy price cap was taken into consideration.  Nationwide in 2020, there were 3.2 million people living in fuel poverty in England and by January 2023, that figure was estimated to be 12 million.  If it increased by the same proportion here in Breckland, that 9,000 figure could easily increase to 20,000/30,000 households – more than half of all the households in the District. 


To be clear, in England, you were regarded to be in fuel poverty if a household was unable to afford to heat or cool their home to an adequate temperature.  Additionally, if you lived in a property with an energy efficiency rating of Band D or below, you were regarded as living in fuel poverty, or when the amount you spend to heat your home leaves you with a residual income below the official poverty line.


Public Health England had stated that there was clear evidence on the links between cold temperatures and respiratory problems and the British Medical Journal had noted that children growing up in cold, damp and mouldy homes, with inadequate ventilation, had higher than average rates of respiratory infections, asthma, chronic ill health or disability.  None of this was new, but sadly the problem was getting worse.  The scale of fuel poverty was now vast, and he was under no illusions that this Motion before Members would solve this issue and certainly not in the short term.  There was no easy solution but by adopting this Motion, this Council would go some way towards addressing the challenge that everyone faced and acknowledge that the problem existed and build a framework for action.


Breckland Council could have an important role to play in helping to improve the energy efficiency of people’s homes.  This  ...  view the full minutes text for item 88/22


Minutes (Agenda item 9)


Cabinet: 25 July 2022 pdf icon PDF 290 KB


The unconfirmed Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 25 July 2022 were noted.



General Purposes Committee: 13 July 2022 pdf icon PDF 159 KB


Councillor Jermy mentioned the Elections and asked how the training and induction plan was taking shape, and he hoped that the notion of newly elected Members having one to one training sessions with long term Members would not be repeated as he felt that this was an impartial process which he was uncomfortable with.


The Monitoring Officer reminded Councillor Jermy that any questions needed to be relevant to a particular Minute.


Councillor Turner, the Chairman of the General Purposes Committee reassured Councillor Jermy that the subject of training was a standing item on the agenda and pointed out that the ones to ones would be with an Officer not another Member.


Referring to the Monitoring Officer’s previous comment about questions needing to be relevant to a particular Minutes, Councillor Birt raised a Point of Governance and referred to Standing Order 5.1(k) of the Constitution where it stated that under this item questions did not have to actually refer to a Minute, it could be a Minute or a report.


The Monitoring Officer accepted Councillor Birt’s comments but felt that in the very question that had been posed by Councillor Jermy, the topic that he raised had not been included in the Minutes or a report.  He agreed however, that any question within a Committee Minute or report could be asked of the Chairman of the said Committee.


The unconfirmed Minutes of the General Purposes Committee meeting held on 13 July 2022 were noted.


Governance & Audit Committee: 23 June 2022 pdf icon PDF 193 KB


The confirmed Minutes of the Governance & Audit Committee meeting held on 23 June 2022 were noted.


Governance & Audit Committee: 28 July 2022 pdf icon PDF 378 KB


Councillor Birt directed his question to Councillor Borrett, the Chairman of the Governance & Audit Committee.  He knew that Members were aware of the multiple points of order that he had raised at various meetings this year due to the modifications made to the Constitution around Standing Orders 5, 6 and 7 and the inconsistencies surrounding these.    He would have expected these discrepancies to have been dealt with these as part of this committee’s remit but there had been nothing added to the work programme going forward.  He asked Councillor Borrett when such matters would be included on the agenda going forward.


In response, Councillor Borrett stated that if Councillor Birt had such a topic for the Committee to submit it to him personally, then the Members of the Governance & Audit Committee could decide whether it should be dealt with or not.


The unconfirmed Minutes of the Governance & Audit Committee meeting held on 28 July 2022 were noted.


Committee of the Licensing Authority: 20 July 2022 pdf icon PDF 29 KB


The unconfirmed Minutes of the Committee of the Licensing Authority meeting held on 20 July 2022 were noted.


Licensing Committee: 20 July 2022 pdf icon PDF 168 KB


The unconfirmed Minutes of the Licensing Committee meeting held on 20 July 2022 were noted.


Overview & Scrutiny Commission: 21 July 2022 pdf icon PDF 190 KB


Task & Finish Groups (Minute No. 52/22)


Councillor Birt pointed out that the T&F Group had been set up to review the Serco contract but his request to view the contract had been denied.  The Monitoring Officer said that if the remit was to review the contract, he would take this away as an action and respond to Councillor Birt accordingly.  




The unconfirmed Minutes of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 21 July 2022 were noted.


Planning Committee: 5 July 2022 pdf icon PDF 253 KB


Local Plan Update (Minute No. 66/22)


Councillor Atterwill asked if the five-year housing land supply figures had been published as according to the Minutes, they should have been presented to the Planning Committee meeting on 2 August 2022.  The Executive Member for Strategic & Operational Planning advised that there had been an issue with accessibility, but the figures would be published on the Local Plan communication platform as soon as possible.




The confirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 5 July 2022 were noted.


Planning Committee: 2 August 2022 pdf icon PDF 319 KB


Local Plan Update (Minute No. 72/22)


Councillor Morton referred to the mitigation of Nutrient Neutrality and asked if there was an update on this matter and a timetable.


Simon Wood, the Director of Planning & Building Control stated that an update would be provided at the next Planning Committee meeting.


The unconfirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 2 August 2022 were noted.


Treasury Management Policy and Strategy 2022-23 (Agenda item 10) pdf icon PDF 249 KB

Report by Councillor Phil Cowen, Executive Member for Finance, Revenue & Benefits.

Additional documents:


Councillor Cowen, the Executive Member for Finance, Revenue & Benefits presented the report that had recently been considered by the Governance & Audit Committee on 28 July 2022 where the recommendations to Full Council had been agreed.  


This report brought Breckland Council up to date to comply with new CIPFA rules.  No significant points had been raised at the Governance & Audit Committee albeit in respect of inflation levels that were being addressed.


The recommendations were proposed by Councillor Cowen and seconded by Councillor Borrett.




1.     the updated Treasury Management Strategy 2022-23 to 2024-25 at Appendix A of the reportbeapproved;


2.     the updated Prudential & Local Indicators and limits contained within Appendix A of the report(Tables 1-11) be approved;


3.     the updated Investment Strategy 2022-23 (Appendix B) of the report and the detailed criteria included in Appendix B1 of the reportbe approved; and


4.     the updated Treasury Management Policy at Appendix B2 of the report be approved.


NNDR Discretionary Relief (Agenda item 11) pdf icon PDF 311 KB

Report by Councillor Paul Claussen, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economic Development & Growth and Councillor Phil Cowen, Executive Member for Finance, Revenue & Benefits.

Additional documents:


Councillor Cowen, the Executive Member for Finance, Revenue & Benefits presented the report.  This was a joint proposal with Councillor Claussen, the Deputy Leader & Executive Member for Economic Development & Growth and was a very important piece of business for Breckland Council.


For many years, the Breckland District had been constrained by the lack of electrical energy supply for businesses to grow particularly in Snetterton but also in Thetford.  As Members were aware this Council had recently implemented a proposal to increase the electrical capacity of the Snetterton employment area.   For many years, this particular part of the District had lagged behind due to the inability of businesses to access sufficient power supplies. This was about to be fixed, and as a consequence what this Council was keen to do, as a District, was to improve the ability and the facility for companies and employees to gain better quality jobs and to promote Snetterton at the heart of the tech corridor running between Cambridge and Norwich.


If order to that, it needed to be competitive, and in order to be competitive, Breckland Council needed to ensure that businesses took advantage of any reliefs that this Council was able to offer, and that was what this report was proposed.


This process had started back in 2019 but was now out of date, and this proposal updated previous policies. This would endure for a further 2 years and would be time limited.  The primary difference between the current policy and the previous one was that this policy introduced growth locations, hence the proposal for Snetterton, which would be the first growth location.  This would mean that every business was eligible to a minimum of 20% relief for a period of 6 months.   


This report proposed an approach and sought Full Council approval for it to proceed for a decision.


Councillor Birt had expressed concerns about the local discretionary rate relief as it created a non-level playing field and gave an advantage to some and not to others and that disadvantage would be to businesses already within Breckland.  He did have reservations about this, but he did recognise that it would attract businesses to Breckland and although uncomfortable he might be willing to vote for it.


Councillor Cowen understood Councillor Birt’s concern as what this Council did not want was to dissuade people from moving into Breckland.  However, moving or establishing a business in its infancy did cost considerable sums of money, and this was what the discretionary rate relief was aimed to flatten out. It was not aimed to prevent existing businesses as there was certain criteria within the report that had to be applied such as training etc.  There was no bar for existing businesses to apply but the principal aim was to encourage new business, new enterprise and new entrepreneurship into the District hence those early days of 6 months of relief.


Councillor Atterwill, as the former Chairman of the Dereham Business Forum, fully supported the recommendations to try and encourage growth  ...  view the full minutes text for item 91/22


UK Shared Prosperity Fund (Agenda item 12) pdf icon PDF 261 KB

Report by Councillor Paul Claussen, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economic Development and Growth.


Councillor Claussen, the Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economic Development & Growth presented the report - another good news story for Breckland.


UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) was one of the new funding streams created by the Government to enable the Levelling Up Agenda. It was being devolved to Local Authorities to empower the public sector to commission and/or deliver activity based on local identification of need and opportunity.


This Council had submitted a strong investment plan and had received very positive feed pack from the Department for Levelling Up Homes and Communities thus far pending approval by Government the funding was expected later in the year, in October 2022.


The Councils intention was to spend the funding on a small number of projects that had been highlighted at section 2.3 of the report  


It was noted that an informal meeting of the Future Breckland Board had already taken place which had been very positively received and all involved wanted to work with this Council. 


The recommendations were read aloud and were seconded by Councillor Webb.


Councillor Jermy agreed that this was a good news story and was pleased to see such progress but asked what the mechanism was for receiving progress updates from the Board for Members. He also asked if there would be an opportunity to have a role in the shared prosperity fund in terms of an input on how the funding should be spent. In relation to skills, one of the major issues with short term funding was getting trainers on board to teach the required skills and finding the right people to deliver the training and wondered if the Board had looked into this yet.


Members were informed that as far as skills were concerned one of the Board Members was already looking into such matters.  This would be considered in short term cycles for the long-term vision going forward. Although not a public entity at the moment, the Board had been set up as this had been necessary to receive the monies and to ensure that all was governed correctly but the whole package had not been finalised as yet but was being discussed and would make sense to bolt the MTI work to the Future Breckland work.


Councillor Atterwill fully supported the recommendations and the makeup of the Board but as it was not yet in the public arena, he asked Councillor Claussen when he would be in a position to confirm who the members of this Board were.  


Councillor Claussen advised that as soon as it was able to go public, Members would be informed accordingly.   


Councillor Birt agreed that this was a good news story but in respect of the Future Breckland Board he asked if there would be agendas published going forward so that Members could be able to make representations to Board Members ahead of time, and also if any Minutes would be taken remembering that this was public money that was being spent.  


Members were informed that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 92/22


New Buckenham Neighbourhood Plan (Agenda item 13) pdf icon PDF 323 KB

Report of Councillor Sarah Suggitt, Executive Member for Strategic & Operational Planning.

Additional documents:


Councillor Suggitt, the Executive Member for Strategic & Operational Planning presented the report.


The report had been heard at the Cabinet meeting in July 2022 where the recommendations had been agreed.  This was the last stage of the production of the New Buckenham Neighbourhood Plan and would confirm that it formed part of the Council’s statutory Development Plan to allow the Council to use this when determining planning applications for New Buckenham. 


Members were informed that this Neighbourhood Plan had received overwhelming support from its residents. 


The recommendation to Full Council was read aloud and was duly seconded.


Councillor Crane then read aloud a statement received from Councillor Askew who had been unable to attend this Full Council meeting but was delighted to endorse the New Buckenham Neighbourhood Plan.


Councillor Kybird congratulated all involved in the production of this Plan all of whom had been acknowledged on page 233 of the Agenda pack.


RESOLVED that the Breckland District Policies Map be amended to meet the requirements of paragraph 9 Town and Country (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012.


Nominations for Committee and other Seats (Agenda item 14)

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


It was RESOLVED that Councillor Kiddell be appointed as Vice Chairman of the Licensing Committee and the Committee of the Licensing Authority in place of Councillor Martin.


Councillor Atterwill asked who the Breckland representative was on the Norfolk Playing Fields Association as this organisation was going through some difficulties at the moment.


Councillor Atterwill would be informed.


Since the meeting, Councillor Atterwill had been informed that Councillor Webb was the Breckland representative.


Amendments to the Constitution (if any) (Agenda item 15)




Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent (Agenda item 16)

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.




Exclusion of Press and Public (Agenda item 17)

That under Section 100(A)(2) and (3) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business.


The information in the item below has been furnished to the Council by a Government department upon terms which forbid the disclosure of the information to the public






The Chairman advised that the reason for this exclusion was that the information in the following item had been provided to the Council by a Government department upon terms which currently forbade the disclosure of the information to the public.


There was no requirement under the Local Government Act 1972 (Section 100(a) paragraphs (2) and (3) for this to be resolved.


Before the livestreaming was stopped, the Chairman thanked everyone for watching this meeting live via YouTube.


Rough Sleeper Initiative Grant Funding (Agenda item 18)

Report of Councillor Gordon Bambridge, Executive Member for Housing and Homelessness.


Councillor Bambridge, the Executive Member for Housing & Homelessness presented the report.


Councillor Atterwill was happy to support the recommendation but asked if there would become a time when this information would be made public as it was, in his opinion, a good news story.


Members were informed that hopefully such information would be available to the public in due course.


The recommendation was proposed and seconded, and following a vote, it was


RESOLVED that the recommendation as listed on page 234 of the Agenda pack be approved.