Agenda and draft 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 Anscombe, Bambridge, Eagle, Kiddell, McCambridge, Monument, Oliver, S Taylor, Terry, Turner and Wickerson.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 215 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 21 September 2023.


It was noted that Councillor Richmond had been omitted from the attendance list.


Subject to the amendment, the Minutes of the meeting held on 21 September 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 86 KB


The Chairman thanked both Members and Officers who had attended his Quiz Night held in Swaffham during October and was pleased to report £1185 had been raised for his chosen charities. 


He informed Members that he had arranged a coffee morning to be held on the 1 December at the Charles III Public House in Sporle and invited all Members to attend.  All monies raised would go towards his chosen charities. 


The Chairman said it was an honour to have given an unsung hero award recently to Cathy Lloyd and thanked her for all her efforts with the Dereham Windmill.  The venue encouraged visitors to the area and felt residents should be proud of the asset. 


He also thanked the Attleborough Ward members, who, as well as Officers gave help and support to those who were recently flooded from Storm Babet.


Leader's Announcements

In the absence of the Leader, Councillor Sarah Suggitt, Deputy Leader of the Council to provide an update.



The Leader shared an update on some of the essential projects the Council had been delivering to residents and businesses.



The district had been dealing with the terrible flooding which had occurred following the substantial rainfall brought by Storm Babet.  Parts of Attleborough had been particularly affected and some households unfortunately had to temporarily leave their homes due to flooding.


Council Officers had worked with the areas worst hit by reaching out to residents to offer support and guidance they needed. A recent meeting had been held along with key partners within the Town to hear directly from residents about their concerns.  To help strengthen the defences ahead of further rainfall this winter, additional sandbags had been delivered to the Town, and investigations of blocked culvert drainage systems were underway. 


As a member of the Norfolk Strategic Flood Alliance, the Leader had written to the Chaiman to ask that they prioritise an assessment of the incident.  


He also reminded all Members that flood information was available on the Breckland Council website, including details of the Norfolk flood line.


Power cuts

The Leader went on to reassure Members that following challenges recently raised by Councillor Duffield and power cuts within his ward, Officers were working closely with the UK Power Networks to ensure that those most vulnerable were supported when power cuts occurred.


Grant Scheme

The Leader was delighted to announce the launch of a new Business Support Scheme which looked to invest up to £1m in capital projects for small businesses and community organisations that would help improve productivity and strengthen the rural economy.


The scheme had been made possible by the Council leveraging funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities through the Rural England Prosperity Fund.


The Business team were now accepting applications and the Leader encouraged any small business and community organisations to look at the scheme and see if it could be of benefit to them.


Meanwhile Project

Members heard that 14 new businesses had been supported and nurtured within Breckland through the Meanwhile Grants scheme.  The scheme had helped new entrepreneurs to set up bespoke shops across Breckland’s high streets.


Nourishing Norfolk

Nourishing Norfolk was a network which brought together schemes such as the food bus and community supermarkets and other similar initiatives across the county to offer the best possible support to the residents.  He was pleased to see the initiative had been recently recognised at an event held at Sandringham House.



Questions on Notice under Standing Order No 6 pdf icon PDF 384 KB


The questions on notice including the responses had been published prior to the meeting.


Questions without Notice under Standing Order No 7


Councillor Clarke said that following a Freedom of Information request, in 2022/2023 189 Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG) had been approved.  He was aware that the current waiting period was 14 months and asked if the Executive Member for Housing and Homelessness felt that this waiting time was acceptable.


Councillor Claire Bowes, the Executive Member for Housing and Homelessness informed Members that an additional £116,000 of funding had been released by the Government and the Housing Team were following a prioritisation process to ensure the money was used effectively.  There were 39 cases in total who were waiting from 2024 but commitment on the priority cases could be made.  In addition, at a recent DFG assessment summit in June, it had been pleasing to see that Breckland Council’s systems were in a good place in comparison with other Local Authorities, but she would always strive to improve the situation.


Councillor Atterwill asked the Chairman of Governance and Audit Committee why the Council did not have an ethical Investment Policy.  Councillor Borrett, responded to inform that the Investment Policy had been determined by Members and therefore it would be for Members to determine which Policies they wanted.


Councillor David Blackbourn asked why it took the Council 14months to undertake an assessment for a Disabled Facility Grant when adjacent authorities could have it done in a matter of weeks.  The Executive Member of Housing and Homelessness would find the answer and respond in due course.


Councillor Richmond asked the Executive Member for Property, Projects and Procurement for an update on the progress of the resurfacing works on the Cowper Road carpark in Dereham.   Councillor Hewett informed Members that work had been taking place over a few weeks but it had stopped due to supply issues.  However, he was pleased to inform that work had now recommenced and mentioned that a well had been discovered.  Advice from the Structural Engineers had said that it needed to be made safe but this would not affect the rest of the work on the car park being carried out.


Councillor O’Callaghan said he had come across a number of occupied properties with mould problems, which included private landlords, but notably a range of housing associations & social housing providers.  He asked the Executive Member for Housing and Homelessness how many enforcement notices had been issued over the last 12-24 months for this problem.  He also requested that ward members were advised on the locations of where the problems occurred.  The Executive Member of Housing and Homelessness said she would look into the issue and respond in due course.


Councillor Cogman asked the Deputy Leader for an update on the balancing lagoon for Dereham and when the associated works would commence, and also asked for an update on the pedestrian safety of the Moorgate underpass.  Councillor Suggitt said that an agreement in principle had been reached for the lagoons but the paperwork to confirm the transfer was still with the National Highways legal team.  In addition, funding had also  ...  view the full minutes text for item 85/23


Minutes (for information only)

To note the following Minutes:


Cabinet: 16 October 2023 pdf icon PDF 169 KB


The Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 16 October 2023 were noted.



Overview and Scrutiny Commission: 14 September 2023 pdf icon PDF 194 KB


The Minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 14 September 2023 were noted.



General Purposes Committee: 25 September 2023 pdf icon PDF 56 KB


The Minutes of the General Purposes Committee held on 25 September 2023 were noted.



Planning Committee: 26 September 2023 pdf icon PDF 253 KB


The Minutes of the Planning Committee held on 26 September 2023 were noted.



Governance and Audit Committee: 28 September 2023 pdf icon PDF 180 KB


The Minutes of the Governance and Audit Committee held on 28 September 2023 were noted.



Dereham Leisure Centre roof solar panels pdf icon PDF 239 KB

Report of Councillor Helen Crane, Executive Member for Waste, Environmental Health, Licensing & Sustainability.

Additional documents:


Councillor Crane, the Executive Member for Waste, Environmental Health, Licensing and Sustainability presented the report that considered recommendations for the installation of solar PV panels on the roof of Dereham Leisure Centre.




1)     The release of £120,000 from Growth and Investment Reserve to add to the £160,000 from the (previously released) Breckland 2035 funds, to enable the installation of solar PV panels on the roof of Dereham Leisure Centre be agreed.


2)     Delegated Authority be given to accept the terms and conditions of any future grant funding secured to Executive Member for Waste, Environmental Health, Licensing and Sustainability in consultation with the Executive Director as officers continue to explore all funding opportunities.


3)     Delegation be given to the Assistant Director Contracts and Operations and the Council Solicitor in consultation with the Executive Member for Property, Projects, and Procurement to carry out negotiations with Parkwood Leisure and associated companies to obtain the best outcome for the Council.



Changes to Constitution pdf icon PDF 224 KB

Report of Rob Walker, Deputy Chief Executive & Monitoring Officer.

Additional documents:


Sarah Wolstenholme-Smy presented the report that asked Members to consider various amendments to the Constitution.


Whilst details were found within Appendix A to the report, in summary related to the following:


·        The Glossary of Terms in respect of amending the definition of Director to include Deputy Chief Executive Officer

·        The delegations under F3 – to confirm the Senior Legal Officer is the Data Protection Officer.

·        Standing Order No. 2 to confirm that the Vice Chairman shall be elected rather than appointed at the annual meeting.

·        Standing Order No. 5 to give the Chairman the discretion to determine the length of the Full Council meeting. Meetings should not last longer than 2 hours under normal circumstances.

·        Standing Order No. 5 to merge paragraphs (j) and (k) to confirm that any member may ask the Leader, Cabinet Member or Chairman of a Committee or Panel any question (without notice) upon the content of the report or any question on the accuracy of the minutes when under consideration by the Council and to adjust the lettering that follows accordingly.

·        Standing Order No. 7 to clarify that questions should only be asked that relate to Council powers or duties or which affect the district and that an appropriate officer may respond to such questions.

·        It was proposed that Questions Without Notice under Standing Order No 7 (subject to the above changes) continue as provided for within the Constitution.


RESOLVED that the amendments detailed at Appendix A of the report be agreed and the Constitution be amended accordingly.



Nominations for Committee and other Seats

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


The Deputy Leader announced that Councillor Claussen be appointed to the Attleborough Development Partnership Outside Body.  



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.