Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Committee Services  Tel: 01362 656870

Items
No. Item

18.

Minutes (Agenda Item 1) pdf icon PDF 707 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 26 February 2015.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 26 February 2015 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

19.

Apologies (Agenda Item 2)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Clark, Goreham, Irving, Kiddle-Morris and Lamb.

 

It was noted that Councillor Lamb was very unwell and Members joined the Chairman in sending him their best wishes.

 

20.

Chairman's Announcements (Agenda Item 3) pdf icon PDF 35 KB

Minutes:

Members were reminded that the Chairman’s Reception would take place on 21 April.  He would be grateful for any donations of raffle prizes to raise money for his chosen charity, East Anglian Children’s Hospices.  The Hospices had already raised half a million pounds but that was only 10% of what they needed.

 

The Chairman drew attention to his Engagements List and in particular mentioned the three hours he had spent on the battle area with 120 Officer cadets which had been very exciting.

 

He had also enjoyed the Pride Awards evening which had recognised local people.  He congratulated the officers concerned on a very good and well organised event.

 

As it was the last meeting of the Council before the election he took the opportunity to thank two previous Chairmen, Brian Rose and Robin Goreham, who would not be standing again.  He thanked his fellow Ward Members, Pam Spencer and Bryan Skull for their work and Sylvia Armes for her support whilst Mayor of Thetford, as they were also standing down.

 

Finally he wished to thank Terry Lamb, who he presumed would not be standing due to his health problems.  He had been a stalwart of the Planning Committee and his legacy could be seen in the amount of flint in the District.

 

21.

Leader's Announcements (Agenda Item 4)

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

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council referred to other Members that were not standing again.  He thanked Stephen Askew, Alec Byrne, Robert Childerhouse, Stuart Green, Diana Irving, Cliff Jordan, Mark Kiddle-Morris, Jenny North and Ann Steward for their excellent work and support.  In particular he thanked Cliff Jordan, a previous Leader of the Council with wide experience and knowledge, who had given him support and advice.

 

He then took the opportunity to outline some of the achievements of the Council over the past four years and its vision for the next four.

 

·         During difficult financial times due to huge reductions in central government funding the council had continued to maintain financial robustness whilst protecting frontline services

·         There had been continued partnership arrangements both inside and outside the district including the Norfolk Waste Partnership; supporting Town & Parish Councils working on their Neighbourhood Plans; and emphasising the ‘whole Council’ approach with the Greater Thetford and Greater Attleborough partnerships

·         The Council was on course to submit its new Local Plan for public examination and adoption in 2016

·         Local businesses had been supported through the Rev Active Programme which had finished in 2014. 

·         The Grants for Growth programme had taken over from that and had already awarded over £300,000 in grants.

·         Anti Social Behaviour had been reduced as had fly-tipping.

·         The Recycling Revolution had increased the amount of materials being recycled.

·         The Pride in Breckland Awards had celebrated the achievements of local individuals and communities.

·         The Participatory Budgeting initiative had awarded a total of £50,000 to groups across the district.

·         Shared management with South Holland continued and would shortly be reviewed to make the arrangements even more advantageous to the Council.

·         Financial highlights included a balanced budget through to 2017-18; a new jointly procured banking supplier; and the achievement of ‘good’ assurance (the highest possible) from the internal audit review.

·         The Anglia Revenues Partnership had continued to expand.

·         The Breckland Training Services excelled at delivering training to local authorities, universities and other public sector organisations.

·         The new Corporate Plan for 2015-2019 had just been adopted and set out the Council’s vision for the district and its future priorities.

 

All Members should be proud of the achievements which had truly made Breckland a better place with a brighter future and a place of opportunity and ambition for all.

 

Councillor Jermy, as Leader of the Labour Group, also paid tribute to all Members that would not be standing.  In particular he mentioned ‘Reliant’ Robin Goreham who had been the bedrock of the Labour Party.  He thanked him for his support.  He then asked a question of the Leader.  The biggest issues raised by residents were fly tipping, littering and dog fouling.  What plans were there to implement fines and to take a robust stance on those issues?  He also asked for assurance that no parking charges would be introduced in the next four years.

 

The Leader confirmed that under a Conservative Council there would be no car park charges.  With regard to flytipping, etc he agreed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

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.

 

23.

Cabinet Minutes (Agenda Item 6) pdf icon PDF 92 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 24 February 2015.

Minutes:

The recommendation in the Minutes had been dealt with at the last meeting.

 

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 24 February 2015 be adopted.

 

24.

Planning Committee (Agenda Item 7)

24/14a

Confirmed minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 16 February 2015 pdf icon PDF 145 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 16 February 2015 be adopted.

 

24/14b

Unconfirmed minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 16 March 2015

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 16 March 2015 be adopted.

 

25.

General Purposes Committee (Agenda Item 8)

25/14a

Unconfirmed minutes of the Special General Purposes Committee meeting held on 3 March 2015 pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Special General Purposes Committee meeting held on 3 March 2015 be adopted.

 

25/14b

Unconfirmed minutes of the General Purposes Committee meeting held on 18 March 2015

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the General Purposes Committee meeting held on 18 March 2015 be adopted.

 

26.

Appeals Committee (Agenda Item 9) pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Appeals Committee meeting held on 18 February 2015.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Appeals Committee meeting held on 18 February 2015 be adopted.

 

27.

Audit Committee (Agenda Item 10) pdf icon PDF 97 KB

Unconfirmed minutes of the Audit Committee meeting held on 13 February 2015.

Minutes:

1)         Treasury Management Policy & Strategy 2015-16 (Minute No 10/15)

 

RESOLVED that the following documents be approved:

 

a)      The Treasury Management Strategy 2015-16 to 2017-18 at Appendix A

b)      The Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) statement contained within Appendix A which sets out the Council’s policy on MRP

c)      The Prudential Indicators and limits contained within Appendix A

d)      The Investment Strategy 2015-16 (Appendix B) and the detailed criteria included in Appendix B1

e)      The Treasury Management Policy at Appendix B2

 

2)         Adoption

 

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Audit Committee meeting held on 13 February 2015 be adopted.

 

28.

Overview and Scrutiny Commission (Agenda Item 11)

28/14a

Unconfirmed minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 12 February 2015. pdf icon PDF 90 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 12 February 2015 be adopted.

 

28/14b

Unconfirmed minutes of the Special Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 17 March 2015 pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Minutes:

1)         LABV Task & Finish Group Report and Presentation by Land Group (Minute No 31/15)

 

The Chairman of the O&SC noted that the Minutes related directly to the next item on the Agenda.  He confirmed that the Task & Finish Group (T&FG) had reported that they were very content with the Officers’ work, the quality of the proposal and the entrepreneurial nature of the proposal.

 

The Chairman of the Council speaking as Chairman of the T&FG said that they had looked into all the confidential information which was not included in the report to satisfy themselves with the details. All Members had had the opportunity to see that confidential information.

 

2)         Adoption

 

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Special Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 17 March 2015 be adopted.

 

29.

Report and Recommendations from the Local Asset Backed Vehicle (LABV) Project Board (Agenda Item 12) pdf icon PDF 209 KB

Report of the Executive Director of Place and S151 Officer.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council presented the report and the separate recommendations contained on pages 138-139 of the Supplement to the Agenda.

 

He told Members that he thought it was one of the most important decisions that they would make as it had the potential to give the district and its residents a great opportunity.

 

The report was the culmination of a project that had started in October 2013.  It had been a very significant project and the internal LABV Board had monitored the progress and strategically managed the project.  The report recommended entering into the joint venture with Land Group, the company selected as the preferred bidder by full Council in December 2014.

 

It was a new and innovative partnership which was not without risk, but those risks had been fully analysed by both the LABV Board and by the O&SC T&FG.  By agreeing the recommendations the Council would be agreeing the creation of a partnership that would see three property developments come forward to help meet a number of the Council’s corporate priorities.

 

In summary the proposal would:

 

·         Create a positive financial return

·         Get three property schemes delivered

·         Provide skills and experience to deliver construction schemes and review the Council’s assets

·         Create an opportunity for a long term partnership

·         Gain regeneration outputs and economic benefits from housing and commercial schemes

 

He commended the recommendations to the Council.

 

Councillor Jermy said that he had been sceptical of the LABV process and therefore pleased to be involved in the T&FG.  The proposal had been thoroughly assessed by staff and Members and the risks had been considered, mitigated and appreciated.   He was comfortable to support the recommendations.  He thanked the staff for their dedication and their willingness to be scrutinised.

 

Councillor Borrett supported those comments.  He had also sat on the T&FG and knew that the project was not without risks, but without it the development would not occur.  He was proud that the Council was an innovative authority at the cutting edge.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1)         Option 1 – to close the European Union (EU) procurement and award the contract to Land Group LLP and enter into a joint venture company to create a Local Asset Backed Vehicle (LABV) be approved; and

 

2)         the Council agrees to undertake borrowing in respect of the Riverside project and;

 

(a)        delegates the final amount to be borrowed to the S.151 Officer in consultation with the Leader based on the most cost effective arrangements at the time of borrowing.

 (b)     delegates the S.151 Officer in consultation with the Leader to:

 

·                           Amend the capital and revenue budgets in accordance with the final financial requirements.

·                          Release the necessary funding from the revenue and capital budgets when required.

·                          Amend the Council’s Treasury Management Policy to reflect the loans being made to Breckland Bridge Limited and to enable the Council to borrow the agreed amount pursuant to its borrowing powers.

 

3)      the model of the Council’s appointed Directors as 1 x Officer nomination, 1 x  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

Independent Remuneration Panel Report (Agenda Item 13) pdf icon PDF 60 KB

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer presented the report and noted an amendment to Appendix A to add a session fee of £120 for Chairing Audit Committee in the Chairman’s absence.

 

Members were reminded that they had to have regard for the Panel’s advice or give their reasons for not doing so. 

 

The schedule of payments included a payment for the Independent Person role, which was explained in the next report on the Agenda.

 

Mr Skipper from the Panel was in attendance to answer any questions if required.

 

The Leader of the Council said that Members should be grateful for the recognition of the work they did in the recommendation for an increase in payments.  However, due to the financial constraints of Local Government and the fact that the recommendations had been received after the budget had been set he was proposing that the recommendations should be taken one at a time and that although the Panel’s advice should be acknowledged, the increase should be declined.  He was also suggesting an additional recommendation that the Panel should bring its future reports to the December meeting, so that its recommendations could be considered before the budget was set.

 

Councillor Jermy was pleased to take the recommendations one at a time and he thanked the Panel for their work, but he did not agree with most of their findings.  Breckland already had the highest Special Responsibility Allowance and the payments for Cabinet Members were almost twice as much as most other Councils in the area. In times of austerity and pay restraint he proposed a 25% cut for the Leader and Cabinet Members to bring them more into line with neighbouring authorities.

 

Councillor Canham seconded that proposal.

 

Councillor Borrett pointed out that the allowances had been set at the current level for a long time.  The previous report had demonstrated that not all Councils were the same.  Breckland had the lowest Council Tax and innovative projects which showed its Members were good value for money.

 

Councillor Sherwood recalled that he had not known that Councillors were paid allowances when he was first elected.  He had wanted to serve the community and most Councillors were the same.  Having fair allowances gave a chance for a greater range of people to get involved in being a Councillor.  However, he reminded all Councillors that allowances were voluntary and they could request a reduction or not take any allowance if they chose.  He agreed it was inappropriate to increase the allowances but did not think they should be reduced.

 

Councillor Smith remembered that the allowances had been increased in 2003 when there were worries about the profile of Councillors.  The increase had been made to enable young, working people to be enfranchised.  He also pointed out that the Council was very different now and did a lot more than other Councils.

 

Councillor Jordan said that Members in Breckland worked extremely hard.  When he had been Leader he had needed people to be available to do work.  If other Councils  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.

31.

Appointment of Independent Person (Agenda Item 14) pdf icon PDF 57 KB

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

Minutes:

RESOLVED that:

 

1)                  the current Independent Person, Mrs Fiona Anthony, be re-appointed for the period 21 May 2015 until the annual Council meeting in May 2019; and

2)                  the re-appointment should be made on a four yearly basis co-terminus with Councillor membership.

 

32.

Nominations for Committee and other Seats (Agenda Item 15)

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

Minutes:

None.

 

33.

Next Meeting (Agenda Item 16)

The Full Council meeting on Thursday, 16 April 2015 has been cancelled due to Purdah.  The next meeting to be held will be the Annual Full Council meeting on Thursday, 21 May 2015.

Minutes:

Councillors Jordan, North, Spencer, Armes and Steward thanked the Members for their help and support during their time as Councillors and wished those standing for re-election good luck.