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



To receive apologies for absence. 


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Annie Blackbourn, Cowen, Gilbert, Hewett, Kiddle-Morris, Sherwood, Wickerson and Wilkin.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 254 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 13 July 2023.


The Minutes of the meeting held on 13 July 2023 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.



Declaration of Interests

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 pdf icon PDF 193 KB


The Chairman introduced and welcomed Lee Hart a representative from SANDs to the meeting.  Mr Hart then gave Members information on what the charity provided and stated that any money raised would likely be dedicated to the Queen Elizabeth hospital towards a new or improved bereavement suite as had already been provided for the James Padget and Norfolk & Norwich University hospitals.


The Chairman thanked Mr Hart for attending the meeting.


He then thanked all who had donated towards his recent charity walk where a total of £470 plus Gift Aid had been raised.


The Chairman also mentioned his Quiz Night, a ticketed event, which was being held at the George Hotel in Swaffham on Friday, 6 October.  Invites had already been sent, and he hoped that many Members and Officers would be able to attend to make up enough teams to make it an enjoyable evening, food would also be provided.


Leader's Announcements

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



The Leader, Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen, thanked Mr Hart and all the volunteers across the SANDs charity for the incredible work they were doing and for the work that Councillor Wilkinson, as the Chairman of this Council, was also doing, highlighting these unsung heroes, and making everyone aware throughout the Breckland community on how they could support or access this charity.

All Members were then welcomed to the first Council meeting of the Autumn, marking a year since the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.  The Queen’s portrait was still displayed in the Council Chamber as a reminder of the inspiration to us all of a life dedicated to an exemplary public service.  The King’s official portrait was still awaited but would be provided in due course.

Continuing Her late Majesty’s legacy, King Charles III would be delivering the nation’s first King’s Speech since 1951, setting forward His Government’s agenda at the State Opening of Parliament on 07 November. It was an agenda that would impact the residents of Breckland and was something that this Council would be following very closely, particularly in relation to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

Whilst the summer had been a time to enjoy the good weather and take a break, the important work of this Council had continued, remembering the fantastic work Members, Officers and the Council’s partners did day in and day out throughout the year.

Stage & Screen

The Leader thanked everyone involved for the wonderful Stage and Screen Festival that took place in Thetford that, once again, captivated thousands of people over four days, with a remarkable blend of classic films, street food and enchanting live outdoor theatre performances put on by this Council with support from partners, organisations and Thetford Town Council that brought unique culture and opportunities to residents and visitors.  He looked forward to working with other Town Councils to deliver their ambitions for any activities they wished to undertake in their market towns going forward.

Community Health Workers

This Council had also seen a huge positive impact amongst some of the district’s most vulnerable residents thanks to the Council’s Community Health Workers.  To date, the team had carried out over 1400 visits since February, delivering support and interventions when people most needed it. This included helping residents apply for financial support for those that were eligible, liaising with GP surgeries on residents’ behalf, and even arranging housing repairs to improve their home environment and improve their health.

Feedback from residents had informed the Council that this assistance had helped them access the support that they needed, and just proved how important the care provided by this Council was to residents every single day.

The Meanwhile Project

As well as protecting people’s lives, Breckland Council was also doing as much as it could to protect people’s livelihoods. The Meanwhile Project was going from strength to strength in supporting existing businesses and start-ups right across the district and revitalising the high streets.

This scheme looked to bring disused shops  ...  view the full minutes text for item 71/23


Questions on Notice under Standing Order No 6




Questions without Notice under Standing Order No 7


Councillor Jermy asked a question about Nutrient Neutrality.  Of all the case work he received, raw sewage being pumped into the sea and oceans and, in particular into the river networks in the district, was high on his agenda and represented how passionate residents were about the environment especially in terms of the rare chalk streams that this district was lucky to have.  He admitted that he was not aware of the current Government policy but wanted to know if the Government was to scrap Nutrient Neutrality laws, would the rivers in Breckland be at further risk and would the Leader be lobbying the Government to ensure that these river networks were protected.


In terms of Nutrient Neutrality, the Leader felt that it was very important to highlight that prior to Natural England’s change of policy, the Water Boards were the statutory bodies. It was not the responsibility of the district council to deal with these types of activities, and the Water Boards should be responsible to undertake activities required to ensure that the chalk streams, river networks and seas were at the highest possible standard.  


He mentioned the housing challenges that many residents faced in the Breckland area with over 100 individuals in temporary accommodation, and the reason for this was Nutrient Neutrality.  Nutrient Neutrality had paused housing growth across Breckland, Norfolk and across the Country.  He acknowledged that environmental issues had a really important role to play but felt that it should not be at the detriment of those individuals who required those much-needed homes. This Council needed to ensure that those responsible statutory bodies were held to account but through this authority via its planning policies and the emerging Local Plan review all needed to ensure that any development moving forward was carried out sympathetically and mitigations put in place to deliver this much needed housing in the district.  He would not be lobbying the Government about Nutrient Neutrality, but he would be lobbying the Government to make sure that it held the Water Boards to account to ensure that what they were responsible for they delivered upon.


Councillor Atterwill directed his question to the Leader.  He asked if an update could be provided on this Council’s progress in relation to two grant schemes.  Firstly, this Council had been allocated over £1m from the Government as part of The Rural Prosperity Fund. This money was earmarked to provide support for rural businesses by way of capital grants for small scale investment in micro and small enterprises in rural areas including capital funding for net zero infrastructure for rural creation and expansion of rural leisure and tourism businesses. This funding was supposed to be spent over the 2023/24 and 2024/25 financial years. Having received an Opposition briefing on this fund from Officers, he was concerned that it was now likely that this Council would not award any grants in the current financial year and that Breckland Council’s allocation scheme had still not been decided and ready to roll  ...  view the full minutes text for item 73/23


Minutes (for information only)

To note the following Minutes:


No questions were asked.


Cabinet: 3 July 2023 pdf icon PDF 238 KB


The recommendations under Minute Nos. 69/23, 73/23 and 74/23 had already been considered and approved at the previous Full Council meeting in July.


The Minutes of the cabinet meeting held on 3 July 2023 were otherwise noted.


Cabinet: 11 September 2023 pdf icon PDF 168 KB


The Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 11 September 2023 were noted.


Governance and Audit Committee: 22 June 2023 pdf icon PDF 203 KB


The recommendation under Minute No. 30/23 had been considered and approved at the previous Full Council meeting in July.


The Minutes of the Governance & Audit Committee meeting held on 22 June 2023 were otherwise noted.


Planning Committee: 4 July 2023 pdf icon PDF 274 KB


The Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 4 July 2023 were noted.


Planning Committee: 1 August 2023 pdf icon PDF 282 KB


The Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 1 August 2023 were noted.



Planning Committee: 29 August 2023 pdf icon PDF 245 KB


The Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 29 August 2023 were noted.



Breckland Local Plan: Partial Update pdf icon PDF 300 KB

Report of Cllr Sarah Suggett, Deputy Leader & Executive Member for Strategic and Operational Planning.


Additional documents:


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


The current Local Plan had been adopted by this Council in November 2019.  The Plan included a requirement to undertake a partial review by November 2022. This review was to focus on housing, gypsy & travellers, home standards and economic development.  In September 2021, the Cabinet had resolved to undertake a single policy review that sought to amend the Plan and remove the dates by which the partial review was required. 


An amended Plan and supporting documentation had been submitted to the Secretary of State for examination in November 2022 and many Members might remember that the decision made by Cabinet in September 2021had been much debated and faced vocal opposition from some quarters. The opponents to this decision felt strongly that it would be unsuccessful and that it was unwarranted and would lead to delays. Councillor Suggitt was pleased to announce that this challenge had been unfounded, and that the strong decision taken by Cabinet, had been fully independently endorsed.


The examination had been completed, and the Inspector’s report had been included in the agenda pack. The Plan had been deemed sound without modification. The Inspector had found that the strategy taken had been logical, pragmatic, proportionate and reasonable given the circumstances that now prevailed. 


Much progress had been made over recent months on this review and all were working collaboratively, and the Deputy Leader hoped that this would continue at pace on the back of this unquestionable success.   She took the opportunity to convey special thanks to Andy D’Arcy, the Planning Policy Manager and his team as such a matter involved a great amount of work and dedication.


The recommendations were then quoted and proposed and seconded by Councillor Crane.


Councillor Atterwill echoed the aforementioned comments and also congratulated all officers involved as this had been a great result.  He only had one query to make, and this was about getting the Local Plan completed and submitted by 2024.  He felt that there was still a great deal of work to be done particularly as the original date was 2026, and asked the Deputy Leader if she was confident that this work could be completed in time whilst ensuring that robust consultation periods were put in place throughout this time period.


The Deputy Leader said that she was confident that such work could be done and carried out in time. A number of all Member Briefings had already taken place with Filigree, the Council’s consultants and the dates for the Town & Parish market stalls were being arranged.


Councillor Borrett endorsed what had led to this conclusion and believed that one of the reasons that Breckland was an exemplary well-run Council was due to difficult decisions being taken when under pressure.  None of the Opposition had supported the original proposal and he was pleased to hear that it was now being endorsed.


Subject to one abstention, it was:




1.          the Inspector’s report and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 75/23


Nominations for Committee and other Seats

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


The Deputy Leader announced the following changes to committees and Outside Body appointments:


·         Planning Committee – Councillor Tina Kiddell to be removed and replaced by Councillor Morton as a substitute Member.


·         Governance & Audit Committee – Councillor Morton be removed and replaced by Councillor Plummer as a substitute Member.


·         Licensing Committee – Councillor Morton be removed and replaced by Councillor Taila Taylor.


Outside Body Appointments:


·         Norfolk Police & Crime Panel – Councillor Bambridge be removed and replaced by Councillor Webb as substitute Member.


·         Norfolk Strategic Flood Alliance – Councillor Kiddle-Morris be appointed as the substitute Member.


·         East of England Local Government Association Employers Panel (new) – Councillor Ashby be appointed.


·         East of England Local Government Association - Improving Outcomes & Communities Panel (new) - Councillor Crane be appointed.


The Leader of the Opposition Group, Councillor Jermy, then announced that after 12 years, this would be his last meeting of the Council as Leader of the Labour Group.  Councillor Clarke would now take over this role and Councillor Terry would be his Deputy.


This news came as a surprise to Members but they paid tribute to Councillor Jermy and thanked him for all his hard work over the years. 


No further changes were announced.


Amendments to the Constitution (if any)




Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent

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.