Venue: Anglia Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham
Contact: Committee Services Tel: 01362 656870
Apologies (Agenda item 1)
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Mesdames C. Bowes, M. Chapman-Allen, K. Millbank, P. Spencer and Messrs S. Chapman-Allen, R. Childerhouse, P. Cowen, R. Duffield, M. Fanthorpe, P. Francis, P. Hewett, A. Joel, R. Kemp, T. Lamb, I. Sherwood and M. Spencer.
Chairman's Announcements (Agenda item 3)
(Including the engagements of the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman.)
Members were made aware that Cllr R Kemp had been involved in an accident at home and was quite poorly. A get well card was circulated for Members to sign if they so wished.
The Chairman, on behalf of all Members, wished Mr Kemp a speedy recovery.
Engagements List – Chairman
27th January, 2011 to Wednesday 23rd February, 2011
Engagements List – Vice-Chairman
27th January, 2011 to Wednesday 23rd February, 2011
To receive a petition.
The Member Services Manager explained that the Local Government, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 placed a statutory duty on all authorities to establish a scheme for receiving and responding to petitions, including a facility for on-line petitions. The current Breckland Scheme had been adopted by the Council on 24 June 2010.
The scheme stated that if a Council received a petition containing at least 1500 signatures it must be debated by Full Council.
The current procedure allowed the petition organiser five minutes to present the petition. It then had to be discussed by the Council for a maximum of 15 minutes.
Such a petition had been presented to the Leader of the Council on 26 January 2011 by the Attleborough Community Team (ACT) asking the Council to stop unsustainable development within the town of Attleborough and requesting an undertaking from the Council on a number of issues, namely:
Group Captain Middleton was in attendance and thanked Members for giving him the opportunity to address the Council. Over 3300 signatures had been collected by the Attleborough Community Team; 358 of those signatures had been collected in Old Buckenham alone.
Group Captain Middleton commenced his address by re-stating exactly what it was that ACT was trying to achieve.
To ensure that any expansion in Attleborough would provide a sustainable, integrated and cohesive community supported by local jobs and appropriate leisure, health, educational, security and transport facilities, all within an environment that maintained and enhanced the quality of life of its inhabitants.
The petition had been born out of a concern that the proposals for the additional 4500 homes in Attleborough, put forward in the Core Strategy, would not meet this aim and would overwhelm the existing infrastructure and population in the town and surrounding communities. ACTs fears had been re-enforced, as since 2001 over 600 homes had been built or approved for construction in Attleborough, without any meaningful developer contributions for improvements to traffic congestion, infrastructure or employment, not forgetting the significant planning applications pending.
Through the petition, ACT was seeking three things.
Firstly, a commitment from all Attleborough’s Elected Representatives that the current shortfalls would be addressed before any more significant development took place. Attleborough and the local community were short of infrastructure and other key services because there had been a failure to provide them alongside housing developments in the past. Group Captain Middleton pointed out that these shortcomings had been acknowledged by Cllr Nunn, the Leader of Breckland Council, in both the radio interview and press articles that covered the handing in of the petition. However, it was felt, just to say, as he had, that infrastructure would be provided alongside new development was not ... view the full minutes text for item 22.
The Council is asked to pass a formal resolution on the setting of the Council Tax.
The Executive Member for Corporate Resources introduced the report.
He was pleased to announce that following some high level lobbying with the Department for Communities & Local Government by Breckland’s Leader and the Leader of South Holland, the final settlement had increased from what had been previously advised. The overall increase in settlement was £217,356 which included a transition grant of £208,153. Therefore, it was no longer necessary to draw from the Council’s Reserves to balance the budget. Breckland Council was mindful of providing quality services at an affordable cost and would continue to seek new opportunities and methods to continue to improve efficiency.
As was explained at the Council meeting on 27 January 2011, the Council Tax had been frozen for 2011/12. Norfolk County Council and the Police had also confirmed the freeze.
Breckland continued to have the lowest Council Tax in the country with Band D properties at £64.05.
Being the collecting authority, on behalf of the Police Authority and Norfolk County Council, it was also Breckland’s responsibility to set the overall Council Tax to enable the authority to send out the bills. While the overall Council Tax invoice reflected the total from these authorities, it was worth noting that Breckland Council’s share was less than 5% of the total bill.
The Head of Finance stated that when the estimates were originally approved the Council had only received the draft settlement from Government. Subsequently, the final settlement had increased by over £217,000. This meant that Breckland would no longer need to draw on its General Fund. Other than that the budget would remain the same as previously approved.
The amounts to be charged as a Special Expense for the provision of public lighting services for the four parishes were highlighted.
The formal Council Tax resolutions had been set out in section 3.4 of the report. Approval of the resolutions would enable the Council Tax bills to be issued.
There were a number of appendices attached to support the resolutions. Appendix C highlighted the Breckland element plus the Parish element of the Council Tax for 2011/12, shown for each Parish and for each Valuation Band.
The Opposition Leader had no doubt in his mind that the Government was cutting everything far too quickly and was picking on local government as a ‘scape goat’. There were authorities all over the country having to deal with meagre settlements. He felt that with all these cuts there was bound to be diminution in service provision and the vulnerable and the needy would be the ones to suffer the most.
Cllr Borrett felt that the opinions made by the Opposition Leader were quite in appropriate as none of the points raised had anything to do with the budget.
The Leader stated that Breckland Council had gone to great lengths to retain the lowest Council Tax. He agreed that drastic cuts have had to be made nationally given the state of public finances but in terms of the vulnerable and the needy Norfolk ... view the full minutes text for item 23.
Report of the Director for Community Services.
The report sought a formal resolution to update the named Officers in respect of certain aspects of financial administration delegated to Officers.
RESOLVED that the revised delegated authority, as set out at paragraph 3.3.1 of the report, be approved.
Nominations for Committee and other Seats (Agenda item 7)
To receive nominations for any changes to Committee and other seats from political groups.