Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Committee Services  Tel: 01362 656870

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes (Agenda Item 1) pdf icon PDF 98 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 9 December 2014.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 9 December 2014 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

2.

Apologies (Agenda Item 2)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Askew, Canham, Childerhouse, Clark, Darby, Duffield, Irving, Joel, Kiddle-Morris, T Monument, Nunn, Robinson, Steward and Williams.

 

3.

Chairman's Announcements (Agenda Item 3)

A list of the Chairman’s appointments will be tabled at the meeting.

Minutes:

The Chairman advised Members that his Reception would be held on Tuesday 27 April 2015 at the Thetford Academy.  There would be a raffle at the event in aid of East Anglian Children’s Hospice (EACH) and he asked Members to pass any donated prizes to his Secretary, Susan Allen.

 

He referred to the list of engagements which had been tabled and drew attention to the Awards Dinner held at RAF Marham.  Breckland Council had received a Silver award for supporting the Armed Forces by allowing Mr Lloyd Gibson (at that time the Council’s Industrial Solicitor) to undertake duties in his role as a Reserve’s Officer.

 

4.

Leader's Announcements (Agenda Item 4)

To receive a verbal update from Councillor Wassell, Leader of the Council.

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council gave a short presentation on the Corporate Plan.

 

Firstly he looked back at the previous Plan which had run from 2011-2015 and noted that the defining phrase from that Plan had been the Vision “a better place with a brighter future for everyone”. 

 

The key achievements from that Plan had been:

 

·         a balanced budget;

·         no reduction in services;

·         additional staffing resources for Housing and Planning;

·         regeneration

·         supporting local businesses;

·         income generation; and

·         transformation.

 

The new Corporate Plan (2015-19) would build on those successes moving forward.   Its vision was “Breckland is a place of opportunity and ambition for all”.  A new booklet of the Plan was available which replaced the one in the Agenda.

 

He did not go into detail about the new Plan as it was an item on the agenda, but he explained the future priorities and that each had a delivery plan.  Digitalisation was key to achieving the vision and enabling services to be accessed at times and in ways that were convenient to residents, but choice would be maintained for those that preferred to interact with the Council in other ways.

 

As well as Digitalisation, Transformation, Partnership Working, Housing Delivery and Increased Business Opportunity were all important parts of the new Plan.  Growth had to be meaningful, acceptable and sustainable.

 

Anti Social behaviour had reduced over the life of the former Plan and should continue to decrease through improved partnership working.

 

Progress would be monitored and reported quarterly to Cabinet and to the Overview & Scrutiny Commission.  The new Plan would also be communicated to residents, Members, staff and Partners.

 

The Leader gave a brief update on Participatory Budgeting; advising that the Watton event had been held that week and ten projects had been given funding.  He concluded his announcements with the information that the short-listing for the Pride in Breckland Awards had taken place.

 

Councillor Jermy was pleased that the new Plan included the word ‘all’ in its Vision.  He asked the Leader if there was one area of the District that he thought needed greater improvements.

 

The Leader responded saying that there were areas of concern across the District and he relied on Ward Representatives to come forward with initiatives or to highlight requirements in their areas.  With the dualling of the A11 there would be additional opportunities and he would be focussing on that going forward.

 

5.

Declaration of Interests (Agenda Item 5)

Members are reminded that under the Code of Conduct they are not to participate and must leave the room, for the whole of an agenda item to which they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest. 

 

In the interests of transparency, Members may also wish to declare any other interests they have in relation to an agenda item, that support the Nolan principles detailed within the Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

No declarations were made.

 

6.

The Corporate Plan, Budget, Medium Term Plan and Capital Strategy (Agenda Item 6) pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Report of the Executive Director – Commissioning & Governance and the Executive Director – Place.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Attention was drawn to the copies of the amended version of the Corporate Plan available in the room.  An additional Item 9 to the Recommendation had also been tabled.  There would be a Recorded Vote at the end of the item.

 

The Executive Member for Finance presented the budget with assurance that it was affordable, transparent and not reliant on reserves.  Due to the technical detail the report was not particularly easy to understand and she asked the S151 Officer to point out the key items.

 

The S151 Officer drew attention to the table on page 11 which showed the Council’s current position compared to previous predictions and indicated its financial strength and sustainability.  There was a clear plan to close the budget gap and a lot of work had already been done over a long period of time securing efficiencies and value for money.  In trying to forecast the future there were inevitable ‘unknowns’ and austerity measures would continue, but the Council was well placed to face any storm.

 

At the bottom of page 12 was a summary overview of what would be left if the budget was approved.  There was a healthy and improved balance from the last year.

 

The Executive Member for Finance thanked the S151 Officer and reiterated that the report demonstrated that the Council was well placed to face challenges.  It had been considered by the Overview & Scrutiny Commission (O&SC) and discussed at the Town & Parish Forum where feedback had been received and the Leader would elaborate on that.

 

She was happy to present a balanced budget with no reliance on reserves which included a freeze on Council Tax, continued support for Town & Parish Councils, no reduction in services and free car parking. 

 

The Leader of the Council referred to para 1.4 on page 11 regarding support for Neighbourhood Plans.  The suggestion had been investigated but was not considered to be the best route for all.  Funding was available from the DCLG and each organisation could apply for up to £8,000.  The additional recommendation that had been tabled was a proposal to match fund up to 50% of any successful bids for that funding to those organisations that pre-notified the Council of their intention to bid.  Any organisations that had already applied for funding would also be considered.  Those parishes which were not using the Neighbourhood Plan route could also apply for match funding.

 

He noted the headlines in para 1.8 on page 12 and asked the relevant Portfolio Holders to give an explanation of what they were going to do.

 

The Executive Member for Communications, Organisational Performance & Development said there would be changes through digitalisation and the transformation programme to make services available 24 hours a day.  Grant funding had been secured and he was pleased to announce an on-line book and pay scheme with supported digital access points available for residents with help from staff.

 

The Executive Member for Assets said that the Council’s entrepreneurial approach and its acquisition of assets provided  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Council Tax Setting 2015-16 (Agenda Item 7) pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman reminded Members about the requirement to disclose the fact and to refrain from voting if they were more than two months in arrears with their Council Tax.  There would be a Recorded Vote at the end of the item.

 

The Section 151 Officer asked Members to note two amendments: on page 173 (point 1.2) and page 175 (point 1.4.4) the dates should be 2015-16 not 2014-15.

 

The Executive Member for Finance then presented the report with a brief overview.  She explained that the Special Expenses for footway lighting services referred to those parishes/towns which had not taken on that responsibility.

 

Councillor Jermy noted that footway lighting was a significant issue in his Ward with some lights being out all the time and others being on all the time.  He had reported the problems but there was a significant delay in repairing them and he asked if the budget was adequate.

 

The Executive Member said it was regrettable but there were complicated responsibility issues.  The Chairman advised that there was a Working Group looking at that.

 

Councillor Borrett applauded the figures in the report and said that some village precepts were in excess of Breckland Council’s.

 

Councillor Cowen regretted that yet again there was an increase in the Police precept despite the helicopter and office closure.  He thought it was odd that they were asking for more money when their visible service was reducing.  He was also disappointed that when the PCC and Inspector had attended the Overview & Scrutiny Commission they had not mentioned the cuts.

 

Councillor Sherwood supported those remarks.

 

Councillor Lamb responded to Councillor Borrett’s comments about large parish precepts and said that to some extent they were due to the passing down of responsibility from the District to the towns/parishes which was passing lots of costs on. 


The Chairman also noted that unlike the District the towns and villages did not receive any direct grants.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1)                  the special expenses for 2015-16 be approved; and

 

2)                  the formal council tax resolutions for 2015-16 (at paragraph 1.4.1 to 1.4.5 set out below) be approved.

 

 

1.4.1    It is to be noted that on 26 February 2015 the Council has calculated: -

a) the Council Tax Base 2015-16 for the whole Council area as 39,654.4 (item T in the regulations made under Section 33(5) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, as amended) and

b) for dwellings in those parts of its area to which a Parish precept relates as in the attached Appendix A.

 

1.4.2    Calculate that the Council Tax requirement for the Council’s own purposes for 2015-16 (excluding Parish precepts) is £2,794,028.

 

1.4.3    That the following amounts be calculated by the Council for the year 2015-16 in accordance with Sections 31 to 36 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 as amended (the Act): -

 

a)

£77,929,470

being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the expenditure items set out in Section 31A(2) of the Act;

 

b)

£72,139,300

being the aggregate of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Cabinet Minutes (Agenda Item 8) pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 13 January 2015.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 13 January 2015 be adopted.

 

9.

Overview and Scrutiny Commission (Agenda Item 9)

Minutes:

Councillor Cowen was aware that Councillor Goreham was not standing for re-election and so he took the opportunity to thank him, as a previous colleague on the Commission for the work he had done and said it had been a privilege and a pleasure working with him.  All Members supported his comments.

 

Councillor Goreham appreciated the comments and thanked Councillor Cowen for his support.    He thanked all Members for playing their part and wished them all success in the future.

 

9/15a

Confirmed minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 20 November 2014 pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 20 November 2014 be adopted.

 

9/15b

Confirmed minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 8 January 2015 pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 8 January 2015 be adopted.

 

10.

Planning Committee (Agenda Item 10)

10/15a

Confirmed minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 22 December 2014 pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Lamb spoke in general terms about the matter of social housing and the reduction of developer contributions because of viability issues.  He was also concerned about developers using the Council’s Five Year Housing Land Supply shortage as an excuse for not abiding by Settlement Boundaries.

 

The Chairman suggested that he should attend the Local Plan Working Group meetings to put forward his views, but he responded that he was talking about what was happening now.

 

The Executive Member for Planning, Building Control & Housing agreed it was a difficult situation because the Council only had 3.3 years of Housing Land Supply.  However, as Councillor Lamb sat on the Planning Committee, if an application was clearly not suitable or sustainable he could vote to refuse it.


The Chairman referred the matter back to the Planning Committee.

 

RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 22 December 2014 be adopted.

 

10/15b

Confirmed minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 19 January 2015 pdf icon PDF 115 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 19 January 2015 be adopted.

 

11.

General Purposes Committee (Agenda Item 11)

11/15a

Confirmed minutes of the General Purposes Committee meeting held on 17 December 2014 pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the General Purposes Committee meeting held on 17 December 2014 be adopted.

 

11/15b

Unconfirmed minutes of the General Purposes Committee meeting held on 4 February 2015 pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Minutes:

a)                  Change of Name of Parish (Minute No 71/15)

 

Councillor Cowen thanked the Committee on behalf of Stow Bedon & Breckles Parish Council for approving its change of name.

 

RESOLVED that an Order be made to effect the change of name (to Stow Bedon & Breckles) from the date of the next parish elections.

 

b)         Swanton Morley Community Governance Review – Final Recommendations (Minute No 72/15)

 

RESOLVED that an Order be made to effect the change (to increase the size of Swanton Morley Parish Council from seven to nine) from the date of the next parish council elections.

 

c)         Adoption

 

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the General Purposes Committee meeting held on 4 February 2015 be adopted.

 

12.

Appeals Committee (Agenda Item 12) pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Appeals Committee meeting held on 7 January 2015.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the now confirmed Minutes of the Appeals Committee meeting held on 7 January 2015 be adopted.

 

13.

Audit Committee (Agenda Item 13) pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Confirmed minutes of the Audit Committee meeting held on 12 December 2014.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the Audit Committee meeting held on 12 December 2014 be adopted.

 

14.

Nominations for Committee and other Seats (Agenda Item 14)

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

 

Member Development Panel

Councillor Turner to replace Councillor Carter as Chairman

General Purposes Committee

Councillor Williams to be removed – Conservative Vacancy

Local Joint Consultative Committee

Councillor Williams to be removed – Conservative Vacancy

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that:

 

1)     Councillor Turner should replace Councillor T Carter as Chairman of the Member Development Panel.

2)     Councillor Williams be removed from the General Purposes Committee.

3)     Councillor Williams be removed from the Local Joint Consultative Committee

4)     Councillor Nunn be appointed as the Council’s representative on the Keystone Development Trust.

 

15.

Electoral Arrangements for May 2015 (Agenda Item 15)

To receive a short briefing by the Democratic Services Team Leader.

Minutes:

The Electoral Services Manager gave a short update on the key elements in the timetable for the Parliamentary, District and Parish elections to be held 7 May 2015.

 

·         Commencement of pre-election period communication protocol (formerly Purdah) – 30th March (guidance on the BIZ - Members webpage)

·         Notice of (Local) Elections – 30th March

·         Notice of (Parliamentary) Election – 31st March

·         Receipt of Nominations (Local) – 31st March

·         Receipt of Nominations (Parliamentary) – 1st April

·         Close of nominations (all) – 4pm Wednesday 9th April

·         Last date for voter registration – Monday 20th April
(Registration via GDS website www.gov.uk/register-to-vote)

·         Last date for applications to vote by post – 5pm Tuesday 21st April

·         Postal Vote despatch overseas – Friday 13th April

·         Postal vote despatch – Thursday 23rd April

·         Postal Vote opening – daily sessions from 27th April to 6th May 1:30 and 5:00

·         7th May all day – with final opening at the count venue after close of poll for ballots delivered to polling stations during the poll

·         Mid Norfolk Parliamentary Count - Dereham Leisure Centre, Station Road, Friday 8th May 2am

·         District and Parish Count – Dereham Leisure Centre, Station Road, Friday 8th May 2pm

·         South West Parliamentary Count – Lynn Sport, Kings Lynn

·         Candidates and Agents briefing session 2pm, 5th March – Elizabeth House, Committee Suite, Norfolk Room.

 

It was clarified that the ballot papers for all three elections would be put into one ballot box.  Some of the Council’s ballot boxes would be taken to King’s Lynn as they fell within the South West Parliamentary area.  However, the District and Parish ballot papers from those boxes would be returned to Dereham and all District and Parish counts would take place at the Dereham Leisure Centre.

 

Councillor Jermy asked if there had been a reduction in the number of people on the electoral roll due to the change in the registration process and the Electoral Services Manager confirmed that there was very little difference with about 100,000 people on the roll.

 

It was agreed that the timetable would be e-mailed to all Members.

 

 

16.

Exclusion of Press & Public (Agenda Item 16)

To consider passing the following resolution:

 

“That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely 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) of the Local Government Act 1972 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 Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.

 

17.

The Breckland Bridge Limited - Directors Liabilities (Agenda Item 17)

Report of the Democratic Services & Legal Manager & Monitoring Officer and the Solicitor to the Council.

 

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council explained the background to the report and the reasons for the recommendation.  The Strategic Property Manager gave further details.

 

Members unanimously agreed to the proposal.

 

RESOLVED that Option 3 of the report be approved.