Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Committee Services  Tel: 01362 656870

Items
No. Item

47.

Chairman (Agenda Item 1)

a)     To elect the Chairman of the Council for the ensuring year.

 

b)     The newly elected Chairman to sign the required Declaration of Acceptance of Office.

Minutes:

The outgoing Chairman gave a short speech at the end of his term of office.  He thanked Members and staff for their support during this period, and, in particular, the four female Members who had accompanied him at various events, acting as fellow Ambassadors for the Council.

 

Nominations were then invited for a new Chairman.

 

(a)               After being duly moved and seconded, it was

 

RESOLVED that Mrs L Monument be elected as Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year.

 

(b)               Mrs Monument then signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office.

 

Mrs L. Monument in the Chair

 

48.

Vice-Chairman (Agenda Item 2)

a)     To appoint the Vice-Chairman of the Council for the ensuring year.

 

b)     The newly appointed Vice-Chairman to sign the required Declaration of Acceptance of Office.

Minutes:

(a)         After being duly moved and seconded, it was

 

RESOLVED that Mr N. Wilkin be appointed as Vice-Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year.

 

(b)         Mr Wilkin then signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office.

 

49.

Vote of Thanks to the Outgoing Chairman (Agenda Item 3)

Minutes:

A Member then thanked the outgoing Chairman for his work during his year in office.   She said that it had been a pleasure working with him, and her thanks were warmly endorsed by the Leader and other Members.  Whilst the role of Chairman was a privilege, it should be remembered that it was also onerous – for the Chairman themselves, as well as their partner.

 

The Leader of the Labour Group also expressed his thanks, adding that the role as Ambassador for the Council commanded respect, not least because the combination of being Vice-Chairman and then Chairman involved a lot of time and hard work.    The outgoing Chairman had been very diligent, and his meetings had been well conducted.

 

Mr J. Rogers was then presented with his ‘Former Chairman of Breckland’ medal. 

50.

Minutes (Agenda item 4) pdf icon PDF 97 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 1 April 2010.

Minutes:

Mr K. Gilbert pointed out that in the first sentence of Minute Item 38/10 on page 6 (Wayland Community Radio), he had been speaking as a Member, not Ward representative, since the Wayland Radio was actually based in Ashill.

 

Subject to this amendment, the Minutes of the meeting held on 1 April 2010 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

 

 

51.

Apologies (Agenda Item 5)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Mr M. Fanthorpe, Mr P. Hewett, Mr K. Martin, Mr I. Monson, Mr D. Mortimer, Mrs P. Quadling, Mr M. Spencer, Mrs P. Spencer and Mr D. Williams.

 

52.

Chairman's Announcements (Agenda Item 6)

(Including the engagements of the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman.)

Minutes:

  Engagements List – Chairman

1st April, 2010 to 12th May, 2010

 

Date

Event

Host

16th April, 2010

Dinner Dance

Mayor of Thetford, Councillor Pam Spencer, and her Consort, Councillor Mike Spencer

18th April, 2010

Civic Service followed by afternoon tea

Chairman of Broadland District Council, Councillor Mrs. Joella Cotttingham and Mr. Laurie Cottingham

21st April, 2010

Churches Discovery Project: Launch Norwich Cathedral Hostry

The Bishop of Norwich

21st April, 2010

Civic Reception

Chairman of North Norfolk District Council, Councillor Simon Partridge

23rd April, 2010

Mayor’s Reception

Mayor & Mayoress of Swaffham, Councillor David and Mrs. Shirley Harman

24th April, 2010

Charity Auction of Promises Evening

Mayor of Dereham, Councillor Ann Bowyer

28th April, 2010

Installation of commemoration plaque marking the cleaning and protection of the City Hall bronze doors in the name of The World Family

Norfolk & Norwich World Family

29th April, 2010

Naming of John Drake House, 10 Winalls Yard, All Saints Green, Norwich – YMCA Norwich

The Right Reverend Graham James, Lord Bishop o Norwich, Chairman of the Council of Patrons YMCA Norwich

30th April, 2010

Civic Reception

The Chairman of Norfolk County Council, Mrs. S. Gurney

4th May, 2010

Visit of Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh for the formal opening of the Hostry – Visitor and Education Centre and the Refectory

The Dean and Chapter of Norwich Cathedral

7th May, 2010

Reception and opening event of the 2010 Norfolk & Norwich Festival

Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2010

9th May, 2010

Civic Service

His Worship the Mayor & Madam Mayoress of the Borough of Great Yarmouth, Councillor and Mrs. Sara Smith

12th May, 2010

End of Year Civic Reception

The Lord Mayor of Norwich, Councillor Evelyn Collishaw and the Sheriff of Norwich, Professor Tim O’Riordan

 

The Chairman announced that each Member would receive a copy of the Core Strategy Development Control policies. 

 

53.

Declaration of Interest (Agenda Item 7)

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests pertinent to items on this agenda.

 

The Members’ Code of Conduct requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is personal or prejudicial.

Minutes:

The following declarations of interest were noted:

 

Mrs A. Steward         Personal interest in Agenda item 26 (Former Anchor Hotel and Adjacent Car Park and Bus Station, Thetford) as a Member of Norfolk County Council.

 

Mr B. Borrett              Personal interest in Agenda item 26 (Former Anchor Hotel and Adjacent Car Park and Bus Station, Thetford) as a Member of Norfolk County Council.

 

Lady Fisher                Personal and Prejudicial interest in Agenda Item 19 (Moving Thetford Forward Board) Minute Nos. 13/10 (in relation to housing to the north of the town) and 19/10 relating to transport and the property company Pigeon.

 

54.

Constitution - Amendment to Standing Orders (Agenda Item 8)

RECOMMENDED that, in accordance with Standing Order No. 54, to adopt the following changes:

 

  • To remove the specific numbers of members for each Committee in Standing Order 32.

 

  • To add at the end of Standing Order 39 the words “or as otherwise specified in legislation”.

 

The changes are made in accordance with the Resolution made by Council on 1 April 2010 (Minute No. 30/10).

Minutes:

RESOLVED to adopt the following changes, in accordance with Standing Order No. 54 and the Resolution made by Council on 1 April 2010 at Minute No. 30/10(b):

 

  • To remove the specific numbers of Members for each Committee in Standing Order 32.

 

  • To add at the end of Standing Order 39 the words “or as otherwise specified in legislation”.

 

55.

Constitution - Review of Committee Structure (Agenda Item 8a)

Following consideration at the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting (29th April) and the Cabinet meeting (11 May), Council is asked to approve the following recommendations from Cabinet:

 

Committee Structure

 

1                    That no changes be made to the existing Committee Structure.

2         That the number of Task and Finish Groups that can be operated by the Overview and Scrutiny Commission (OSC) be limited to a maximum of three at any one time (including the LDF Group, but excluding the Joint OSC on Shared Services and ARP).

NB: The Council’s Constitution will include a clause whereby Full Council OR the Leader of the Council and Chairman of the OSC can establish a further Task Group, if the item for discussion is considered suitably expedient.

 

3              That, in future, the Three Task and Finish Group Chairmen be      appointed by the Overview and Scrutiny Commission (normally from within their own membership) on a task by task basis rather than at the Annual Meeting of Council.

 

Meeting Schedule

 

4              That no changes be made to the 2010/11 Meeting Schedule, as agreed by Full Council on 12 November 2009.

 

Committee Membership

 

5       That committee membership is revised in accordance with the proposal in paragraph 3.2.8.

 

6       That, during the 2010/11 municipal year, the use of two named Conservative substitutes and one opposition substitute is trialled for appropriate committees.

 

A copy of the report can be viewed on the Cabinet Agenda for the 11th May 2010.

Minutes:

The Member Services Manager reminded Members that the Council had requested a review of the Committee structure.    The proposed changes had passed through the Overview & Scrutiny Commission and Cabinet.

 

The Leader pointed out that at the second point on the Agenda supplement issued on 11 May 2010, the words ”… excluding the Joint OSC on Shared Services and ARP” should be replaced with “…excluding the Joint Committee on Shared Services and ARP”.

 

Subject to this amendment, it was:

 

RESOLVED to approve the recommendations from Cabinet on 11 May 2010 (Minute No 46/10).  

 

56.

Annual Appointment of the Leader, Deputy Leader, Committees, Groups and Other Representatives and Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen 2010-2011 (Agenda Item 10) pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Report of the Director of Organisational Development.

 

A list of attendances for 2009-2010 is attached for Members’ information.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a)               Leader of the Council

 

Having been duly moved and seconded, Members

 

RESOLVED that Mr J W Nunn be re-appointed as Leader of the Council for the ensuing year.

 

Mr T. Lamb abstained.

 

(b)               Deputy Leader of the Council

 

Having been duly moved and seconded, Members

 

RESOLVED that Mr A. Stasiak be appointed as Deputy Leader of the Council for the ensuing year.

 

Mr T. Lamb abstained.

 

The Leader gave a vote of thanks to the former Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor W. Smith, for his hard work during his time in office.

 

(c)        Executive and Support Members

 

It was noted that the Executive and Support Member appointments were under the auspices of the Leader, who, in accordance with the Constitution, would notify the Chief Executive of any changes. 

 

(d)       Committees and Sub-Committees

 

            There was some discussion about specific issues, as follows:-

 

            Overview & Scrutiny Commission

 

            It was confirmed that membership of the Commission would be reduced to 12, but would still include both a Labour and an independent Member.  

 

            The Chairman of the Committee wanted to encourage all Members to participate in the scrutiny process: items under consideration frequently covered issues affecting communities across the whole district.  Even Executive Members (who were not allowed to be appointed to the Commission) could request items to be scrutinised. 

 

Finally, he reminded everyone that scrutiny was the transparent mechanism which enabled the Council to be held to account by members of the public.  All Members had a role to play in this process.

 

            Development Control Committee

 

            It had been agreed that this Committee would be reduced to a membership of 12 (at one stage it had comprised 19).  Whilst this would include one Labour and one Independent Member, concerns were raised about the potential impact of this reduction in terms of maintaining a good representation across the whole district, as well as the impact that any absences might have on a particular meeting.  

 

            Both the Chairman of the Council, and the Chairman of the Committee itself, reassured Members that the aim of the reduction was to make the Committee more stable and productive.  Its Members were responsible, and the fact that there would be named substitutes to call upon meant that any absences should have minimal impact on that meeting’s effectiveness.           

 

            The Chairman of the Committee thanked those who were standing down for their hard work on this busy Committee.

 

            Her thanks were echoed by the Chairman of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission for his Committee.  He added that the intention behind the proposed reduction in membership was to develop an experienced core of Members.

 

RESOLVED that the membership and allocation of seats for each Committee be approved as listed on the attached Appendix A. 

 

With respect to the record of attendance for the past year, the Chairman highlighted the fact that Councillor Keith Martin had managed to achieve 100% attendance – adding that the reason he was absent for this meeting was due to the fact that he was moving house!  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.

57.

Representatives on Outside Bodies 2010-2011 (Agenda Item 11) pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Report of the Director of Organisational Development.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that representatives on Outside Bodies be re-appointed en bloc, subject to the following changes:

 

Moving Thetford Forward Board

 

Mrs A. Steward to be replaced by Mr M. Kiddle-Morris.

 

Norfolk Health Scrutiny Committee

 

Mr J. Labouchere  should be the main representative, with Mr R. G. Kybird becoming the substitute member.

 

Wayland Partnership

 

The Council would only have one representative (Councillor C. Bowes) and would not seek to fill the two vacancies.

 

Local Government Association

 

Assembly - the substitute should be Mr A. Stasiak.

 

Urban Commission - the main representative should be Mr A. Stasiak.

 

Rural Commission – the main representative should be Mr A. Stasiak.

 

58.

Shared Services (Agenda Item 11) pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Report of the Chief Executive.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Executive presented the report, explaining that the Council was now at the vanguard of change for local government.  The report sought authority to take the initiative by appointing an Interim Corporate Management Team, led by an Interim Joint Chief Executive.   The process was moving faster than originally anticipated due to key vacancies across both senior management teams.

 

He said that neither South Norfolk nor Breckland District Councils were looking to pre-empt any decision to be made in terms of the Business Case.   This would be considered at Council on 24 June 2010.  Instead, they were reacting to the senior vacancies by requesting a joint interim Management Structure to be created in order to take the process forward.   Essentially the request was to avoid becoming mired in possible short term appointments and recruitment processes. 

 

The report also recommended the establishment of key Director roles, again on an interim basis, which would align with the proposed new portfolios.  He drew Members’ attention to paragraphs 4.3 and 4.4 of the report, which explained the proposed portfolios and recruitment process.   He requested that Members consider an amendment to the end of paragraph 4.4, as follows:

 

Para 4.4    Delete all after “31st December 2010” and insert

 

“The interim Joint Director posts would be open to permanent Directors, interim Directors and those who have held an interim Director role since December 2009 (i.e. when the Agreement in principle to explore shared services was reached), congruent with their current roles and responsibilities in line with the above Panel arrangements.  Should a post remain unfilled the recruitment process would be open to internal/external applicants concurrently.”

 

South Norfolk District Council had considered the Shared Services report at their Council meeting earlier that week.   They had proposed some amendments and, in order for the two Councils to maintain a consistent approach to this project, the Chief Executive presented these to Council, as follows:

 

Amendment to Recommendation (c)

 

The internal recruitment of interim Joint Directors with the exception of the joint interim Director of Transformation (see Resolution (h)), with external recruitment only being undertaken where a role would not be filled by the process set out in para 4.4 of the report.

 

Amendment to Recommendation (g)

 

To establish a joint Member Interview Panel with delegated authority to recruit all interim Joint Chief and Deputy Chief officers.  The Panel to consist of the Leaders, Deputy Leaders and the Leader of the Opposition of each Authority, and the relevant portfolio holder, supported by both the interim Joint Head of Paid Service and the interim Joint Deputy Chief Executive, where these appointments have been made.

 

Amendment to Recommendation (h)

 

An immediate open contest to appoint a joint interim Director of Transformation for a fixed term of up to 18 months only, subject to the approval of the Business Plan.

 

(The Chief Executive said that, at this stage, there was no expectation that the process would go beyond 18 months.  However, if it did, there would be the opportunity  ...  view the full minutes text for item 58.

59.

Appointment of Interim Chief Executive (Agenda Item 12)

To consider the appointment of an interim Chief Executive on the recommendation of the Staff Appointments Panel.

Minutes:

The Leader introduced Sandra Dinneen, Chief Executive from South Norfolk Council, who then left the room whilst this item was discussed.

 

He explained that the Staff Appointments Panel had met on 11 May to discuss the appointment of an interim Joint Chief Executive for a period of up to 6 months initially.  In the event that the Business Plan was to be adopted, it was proposed that this interim appointment should be extended for up to a further 12 months. 

 

He added that in the event that the business case failed and that shared services with South Norfolk did not materialise, any interim contract would be terminated.

 

RESOLVED to:

 

(1)               approve the recommendation from the Staff Appointment Panel to appoint Sandra Dinneen as Interim Joint Chief Executive for a period of up to six months on secondment subject to terms and conditions being agreed with South Norfolk District Council; and

 

(2)               authorise the Leader of the Council, in his role of Chairman of the Staff Appointments Panel, and the Chair of General Purposes Committee to negotiate and subsequently enter into a secondment agreement with South Norfolk District Council.

 

The Chief Executive then invited Sandra Dinneen back into the room, saying that whilst it would be inappropriate for her to speak formally until her Terms and Conditions had been agreed and formally enacted, she would be available at the end of the meeting to meet Members informally if they so wished.

 

60.

Cabinet Minutes - 13 April 2010 (Agenda Item 13) pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Confirmed minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 13 April 2010.

Minutes:

(a)               Budget Carry Over 2010/2011 (Minute No. 34/10)

 

RESOLVED to adopt the request for budget carry-over from specific reserves in 2009/2010, to draw upon in 2010/11. 

 

(b)               Adoption

 

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 13 April 2010 be adopted. 

 

61.

Joint LDF/Cabinet Meeting - 26 April 2010 (Agenda Item 14) pdf icon PDF 107 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Joint LDF/Cabinet meeting held on 26 April 2010.

Minutes:

(a)       Minutes

 

Apologies (Minute No. 38/10)

 

The Leader of the Labour Group pointed out that both he and Mr M. Fanthorpe had sent their apologies. 

 

(b)    Site Specific Policies & Proposals Development Plan Document 2001-2026: Preferred Options Consultation Document (Minute No. 41/10)

 

Dereham

 

There was some discussion about the proposals for Dumpling Green, but the Leader reminded Members that this was an ongoing consultation process at this stage.

 

Watton

 

A Member raised a query about the owner providing six acres for the High School and asked if this could be double-checked.  

 

Harling

 

A Member clarified that the site under reference at HAR.2 was a disused pit.

 

            (c)   Adoption

 

RESOLVED that, subject to noting these points, the unconfirmed Minutes of the Joint LDF/Cabinet meeting held on 26 April 2010 be adopted.

 

62.

Overview and Scrutiny Commission - 29 April 2010 (Agenda Item 15) pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 29 April 2010.

Minutes:

(a)    Task and Finish Groups (Minute No. 37/10)

 

A Member drew attention to the compliments from the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission on the recent work done by the Parking Task & Finish Group and added his personal congratulations.

 

(b)         Adoption

 

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 29 April 2010 be adopted.

 

63.

Development Control Committee - 29 March 2010 (Agenda Item 16) pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Confirmed minutes of the meeting of the Development Control Committee held on 29 March 2010.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Development Control Committee meeting held on 29 March 2010 be adopted.

 

64.

Development Control Committee - 19 April 2010 (Agenda Item 17) pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the meeting of the Development Control Committee held on 19 April 2010.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Development Control Committee meeting held on 19 April 2010 be adopted.

 

65.

Appeals Committee - 17 March 2010 (Agenda Item 18) pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the meeting of the Appeals Committee held on 17 March 2010.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Appeals Committee meeting held on 17 March 2010 be adopted.

 

66.

Moving Thetford Forward Board Meeting - 25 March 2010 (Agenda Item 19) pdf icon PDF 127 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Moving Thetford Forward Board meeting held on 25 March 2010.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Moving Thetford Forward Board meeting held on 25 March 2010 be adopted.

 

67.

Breckland Area Joint Museums - 12 February 2010 (Agenda Item 20) pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Breckland Area Joint Museums meeting held on 12 February 2010. 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Breckland Area Joint Museums Committee meeting held on 12 February 2010 be noted.

 

68.

Member Development Training (Agenda Item 21)

The Member Development Officer and Assistant Member Development Officer to give a brief presentation on the new Member/Officer Training programme for 2010/11 and the 360 Portal (360 Appraisals for Members).

Minutes:

The Member Development Officer (MDO) and Assistant Member Development Officer (AMDO) gave a brief presentation about the new Member/Officer Training programme for 2010/11 and the 360 Portal (360 Appraisals for Members).

 

As a result of various meetings, the HR and Member Development Teams had concluded that, wherever practical, joint Member and Officer training should be provided.  As well as helping to meet business needs and corporate goals, streamlined training would also achieve some financial savings - especially if most of the events could be undertaken in-house.

 

A proposed training programme had been agreed by the Member Development Panel at their meeting on 11 March 2010 and this would take immediate effect.  Members would be able to reserve slots via a specific link which would appear on their Extranet training page later that afternoon.

 

The MDO asked Members to kindly complete the Self-Assessment Form which was a key part of their annual Personal Development Plan (PDP) and to return these by 24 May if at all possible.  Alternatively they could be completed electronically.   Once completed, individual one-to-one meetings would be arranged – and Members were asked to note that these needed to have been completed, and documented, by the end of June 2010. 

 

The AMDO explained that the 360 Appraisals for Members involved inviting up to six respondents to give anonymous feedback on a selection of criteria, such as job skills, behaviour, etc.  Members could choose whoever they liked to participate in this exercise, provided that the respondents knew them well.

 

Members were reminded that the use of the 360 Portal had been adopted as part of the Charter Status Action Plan in November 2008.  Members of the Cabinet, the Leader of the Labour Group and other key Committee Chairmen would be among the first to undertake a 360 appraisal as part of a pilot process.

 

The Chairman urged Members to take up this opportunity, saying that she believed it to be a valuable tool, offering a useful perspective. 

 

69.

Duty to Respond to Petitions (Agenda Item 22)

The Local Government, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009, places a duty on the Council to publish a petitions scheme.   This duty will take effect on 15 June 2010, with a date of 15 December 2010 effective for e-petitions.

 

Given the tight timescale, Full Council is asked to request the Overview & Scrutiny Commission to draw up such a scheme and recommend this to Cabinet (8 June) and then Council (24 June) for ratification.  In the interim, Council is asked to agree that the Overview & Scrutiny Commission be delegated to hear any petitions received before a full scheme is ratified.

Minutes:

The Member Services Manager briefly explained the situation with regard to the introduction of new legislation on petitions and e-petitions.  

 

The Local Government Economic Development and Construction Act 2009, places a statutory duty on the Council to publish a petitions scheme.  This duty would take effect on 15 June 2010, with an implementation date of 15 December 2010 effective for e-petitions.

 

Given the tight timescale, Full Council was asked to request the Overview and Scrutiny Commission to draw up such a scheme and recommend this to Cabinet (8 June 2010) and Council (24 June 2010) for ratification.  In the meantime, Council was furthermore asked to agree that the Overview and Scrutiny Commission be delegated to hear any petitions received before a full scheme was ratified.

 

RESOLVED that the Overview & Scrutiny Commission be asked to draw up a draft scheme and, in the interim period, be delegated to hear any petitions received before a full scheme is ratified by Council on 24 June 2010. 

 

70.

Youth Council Minutes - 15 March 2010 (For Information) (Agenda Item 23) pdf icon PDF 108 KB

To note the Youth Council minutes for the meeting held on 15 March 2010.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Breckland Youth Council meeting held on 15 March 2010 be noted.

 

71.

Youth Council Minutes - 21 April 2010 (For Information) (Agenda Item 24) pdf icon PDF 143 KB

To note the Youth Council minutes for the meeting held on 21 April 2010.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Breckland Youth Council meeting held on 21 April 2010 be noted.

 

72.

Exclusion of Press and Public (Agenda Item 25)

To consider passing the following resolution:

 

“That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1973, the press and the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A to the Act.”

 

PART B – ITEMS FROM WHICH THE PRESS AND THE PUBLIC ARE EXCLUDED

 

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that under Section 100(a)(4) of the Local Government Act 1973, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A to the Act.

 

73.

FORMER ANCHOR HOTEL AND ADJACENT CAR PARK AND BUS STATION, THETFORD (Agenda Item 26)

Report by the Head of Asset Management.

Minutes:

The Head of Asset Management presented the report which sought approval to transfer the freehold interest in the former Anchor Hotel, Thetford, along with the adjacent car park and bus station, to Norfolk County Council.  This would enable them to become owners, which was necessary for the County Council to secure funding for an Academy in Thetford.

 

The Head of Asset Management added that, since publication of the report, a third recommendation (2.3) needed to be considered, concerning an obligation to purchase the land back should the Forum not proceed:

 

“If appropriate within the subsequent discussions with Norfolk County Council (NCC) regarding the basis of transfer, Breckland Council be bound to buy back the property (in the event that the Academy did not proceed on the site) at a price which equated to the sum paid by NCC to Breckland Council in consideration for the initial transfer (i.e. NCC would be obligated to buy back at the same figure that Breckland Council sold the property for).  Such delegated authority be given to the Leader and the Chief Executive Officer. “

 

Members expressed alarm and unease at once again having to make key decisions without having received advance information.   The Chief Executive explained to Members that this request was being made because of a change in time scale by the sponsoring Government Department.  The land needed to be in the ownership of Norfolk County Council to progress the bid.  This issue was not a complex one, and any delay would run the risk of preventing the bid going forward.

 

The Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission was particularly annoyed about the lack of opportunity to scrutinise important details.  He also queried some of the details which had been given.  At that stage he felt unable to support the recommendations. 

 

During the ensuing debate, Members discussed the implications of the three recommendations and the level of delegated authority they wanted to give to the Leader to negotiate terms.

 

After Members had had the opportunity to ask questions and discuss this matter in full, it was

 

RESOLVED that:

 

(1)               The recommendations at 2.1 and 2.2 of the report be adopted, with the replacement of the word “Academy” by “Forum” in recommendation 2.1. 

 

Mr Lamb voted against this recommendation.

 

(2)               The new recommendation 2.3, as above, be adopted. 

 

Messrs Lamb and Gilbert voted against this recommendation.