Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: The Breckland Conference Centre, Anglia Room, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham, NR19 1EE

Contact: Democratic Services  Tel: 01362 656870

Media

Items
No. Item

Outgoing Chairman's Opening Remarks

The outgoing Chairman, Councillor Roy Brame, thanked all Members for allowing him to represent Breckland Council on their behalf.

 

2021/22 had been a very good year for him and his wife Karen and they had met some very interesting people.  No-one knew whether civic life was going to carry on during Covid but with the roll out of the vaccination program, it had allowed for a great year; being able to thank and meet the residents of Breckland and businesses alike who did so much during the pandemic, helping to get this District back on its feet.

 

He thoroughly enjoyed presenting the Chairman’s recognition certificates to the people who had done so much for others throughout the pandemic and for the current unfortunate situation in respect of the conflict in Ukraine.

 

He also thanked Officers and staff especially the Democratic Services Team for their tremendous support and assistance and paid particular thanks to his secretary, Kathryn Boddy, who had done a fantastic job during the past year in arranging his civic events and his donations to various charities.

 

He then took the opportunity to ask Kathryn to come forward and accept a bouquet of flowers for all her hard work and patience throughout his chairmanship.

 

He also thanked the other Districts and the Breckland Members who attended his most recent event, the golf day.  Funds raised from that day was donated to Scotty’s Little Soldiers, a charity dedicated to supporting bereaved military children and young people who had experienced the death of a parent who served in the armed forces. He had been astounded that over £2000.00 had been raised for this particular charity. It had been a great day, and everyone had enjoyed themselves and he had received many emails and letters of thanks, one of which had been from Cllr Terry who had provided details of the charity and how it had been started.   

 

Lastly, he wanted to thank the better half of team Brame, his wife Karen for her support and for accompanying him to various events throughout the year, she had been an absolute stalwart throughout.  He then presented her with a gin glass engraved with stags, the emblem of Breckland Council.

54/22

Election of Chairman (Agenda item 1)

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

 

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

 

Minutes:

Nominations were invited.

 

After being duly proposed and seconded and with no other nominations being made, and subject to one abstention, it was RESOLVED that Councillor Mike Nairn be elected Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year.

 

Councillor Nairn signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office.

 

Councillor Nairn in the Chair.

New Chairman's Opening Remarks

Councillor Nairn stated that it was a huge honour and a privilege to be elected as the Chairman of Breckland Council. He was sure that all Members would agree that Councillor Brame had done a wonderful job this past year, not only in this Chamber but for all the engagements that he and Karen had carried out with the communities up and down the District.

 

On behalf of the Council, the Chairman thanked Councillor Brame for all the hard work he had done in promoting Breckland and supporting businesses and community groups during the past year.

 

As the new Chairman, Councillor Nairn was looking forward to working with his fellow Councillors and to support him in his role and be cooperative and kind to one another.  He welcomed healthy and honest debate as had been seen in recent months as it helped this Council make the best decisions on behalf of the residents.  He was looking forward to stepping into this role during Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee year that made it all the more special.    He was delighted that this Council was helping to mark this occasion in style by funding a number of communities celebrations across the District including the planting of 100s of trees as part of the Queen’s canopy, an upcoming bursary which would be a real legacy for its recipients.   During his time as Chairman, he planned to support, and raise funds for charitable groups that supported the young people within Breckland and to shine a light on the dedicated individuals in the communities that helped make the Breckland District such a fantastic place to live.  He would share more details about his charities at future Council meetings.

 

Councillors Turner, Colman and Jermy paid tribute to the new Chairman.

55/22

Appointment of Vice-Chairman (Agenda item 2)

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

 

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

 

 

Minutes:

After being duly proposed and seconded and with no other nominations being received, and subject to 4 abstentions, it was RESOLVED that Councillor Peter Wilkinson be appointed Vice-Chairman for the ensuing year.

 

Councillor Wilkinson signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office.

 

56/22

Apologies (Agenda item 3)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Ashby, Askew, Brindle, Clarke, Kiddell, Martin, Morton and Nunn.

57/22

Minutes (Agenda item 4) pdf icon PDF 197 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 7 April 2022.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 7 April 2022 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the former Chairman, Councillor Brame.

58/22

Declaration of Interests (Agenda item 5)

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.

 

Minutes:

None declared.

59/22

Chairman's Announcements (Agenda item 6) pdf icon PDF 194 KB

Minutes:

There would be an opportunity for Members to look round the Breckland Mobile Food Store that would arrive in the carpark at Elizabeth House at 2pm after it had completed its rounds for the day, and he hoped that some Members would be able to remain at Elizabeth House or return for this visit.  

60/22

Leader's Announcements (Agenda item 7)

To receive a verbal update from Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen, Leader of the Council.

 

Minutes:

The Leader congratulated the Chairman on his appointment, and thanked Councillor Brame for all his hard work and efforts over the last 12 months, and in his previous role as Vice-Chairman of the Council for 2 years. 

 

As it was the Annual meeting, the Leader felt that it was only right and proper to reflect on the past year and look forward to what lied ahead.

 

Breckland Council still remained the lowest District Council Tax in the country, protecting frontline services and continued to invest. Over the last 12 months, this Council had supported many communities and businesses across the District in countless ways and highlighted just a few of them.

 

He had been pleased to support the opening of the brand new £1.8m temporary accommodation facility in Thetford (Elm House), a strategic asset in the District, helping those who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.  It was now open and was supporting some of the most vulnerable members of the community, in both single individuals, couples and families and was a unique asset as Access Community Trust had mentioned as being one of the most inspiring facilities that they had the privilege to support and manage.

 

Breckland Council continued to support the very first Social Supermarket in the East of England which had proven to be very popular working in partnership with Norfolk Community Foundation and the Charles Burrell Centre to deliver that much needed asset. 

 

Launched the Breckland Mobile Food Store, providing subsidised food to those most in need, with additional support mechanisms in place to address wider wellbeing issues such as social isolation and loneliness, supporting not just the market towns but the rural communities too.

 

Worked in partnership with the Daisy Project to support survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence and to help raise awareness across the whole of the County not just in Breckland.

 

Helped 300 residents through social prescribing, trained 150 mental health champions and funded over 30 community groups as part of Breckland’s Inspiring Communities programme. 

 

Played an active role in creating the right conditions for new and existing local businesses to thrive, and as such construction work had started on a new £3.5m electricity substation in Snetterton, to enable new businesses to move to the area, protecting and creating jobs and opportunities along the Cambridge – Norwich Tech Corridor.

 

Old waste ground had been transformed in Dereham into a new community space called the Ellenor Fenn Garden to support the local retailers.

 

Engaged with over 20,000 residents as part of the Future Breckland project, to identify significant projects that could be delivered in Breckland’s five market towns to help them bounce back from the challenges of the pandemic and build a strong and sustainable economy for the future. 

 

This Council had set its sights on becoming carbon neutral by 2035 and the Leader was delighted that big steps forward had already been taken in cutting its carbon footprint and helping others to reduce theirs too.

 

Some of the carbon  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60/22

61/22

Questions on Notice under Standing Order No 6 (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 317 KB

Please find attached the Questions on Notice together with the responses.

Minutes:

Councillor Birt raised a Point of Order under this item. 

 

The Chairman advised that according to the Constitution no questions could be asked under this item, but questions could be asked under Agenda item 9.

 

Councillor Birt felt that the Constitution was incorrect and referred to Standing Order No. 5 under section 5.1(h) where there was no time limit mentioned for such business and under 5.1(i) there was a time limit but only for the questions without notice.    As a supplementary point, Councillor Birt had noticed that the Questions on Notice along with the responses had been published within the revised agenda pack but had the same file name and he asked when agendas were republished to ensure that a different file name was used together with a new date. 

 

In response to the latter question Rob Walker, the Executive Director & Monitoring Officer advised that those changes would be taken into account in future.  In regard to the supplementary questions, it was clear in the Constitution that Standing Order 7 was the relevant Standing Order in respect of questions relating the Leader’s announcements, Questions on Notice or Questions without Notice.

62/22

Questions without Notice under Standing Order No 7 (Agenda item 9)

Minutes:

Councillor Jermy, the Leader of the Labour Group directed his question to the Leader.  He had seen a report in the local newspaper about secret talks taking place on a proposed County deal for Norfolk and the Leader of Breckland Council had been quoted in that report as the Chair of the District Councillors Network.  He asked the Leader to confirm what discussions he had been involved in on this subject so far and would he confirm whether the imposition of a directly elected mayor was a ‘red-line’ for him.

 

The Leader said that he been quoted in that article in his capacity as the Chairman of the District Councils Network and an extraction from that quote had been taken from a previous press release, he had not been asked to comment to the press in his capacity as the Leader of Breckland Council.  However, in relation to those conversations, as Members would be aware from the Levelling Up Framework that was published in March 2022 by the Government, those conversations were being held at upper tier authorities, at County Councils or Unitary Councils, and Norfolk County Council were progressing those conversations, but no decisions had been made as yet but Breckland Council needed to be open to any opportunities for levelling up the County of Norfolk.

 

Councillor Atterwill, the Leader of the Independent Group started to ask Councillor Hewett, the Executive Member for Property & Projects a question about Barnham Broom Golf & Country Club but was stopped when Councillor Hewett raised a Point of Order and apologised to Councillor Atterwill.  He did not know the detail of the question that was about to be asked but a specific asset had been mentioned, the subject of which had been a matter of commercially sensitive conversations with this Council.  He respectfully asked that if Councillor Atterwill wanted to ask about an individual asset he would get back to him in writing due to the subject matter of the question and possibly the response could be prejudicial to this investment and could be prejudicial to a business as well as employment opportunities in the District.

 

In response, Councillor Atterwill said that he would still like to ask the question as he had sought legal advice and further advice from the Monitoring Officer.  He thanked Councillor Hewett for his updated report sent to all Members recently but given the constraints the Council found itself under due to the lease agreement for the site, he asked if any assurance could be provided that this Council would recoup all of its capital outlay for this asset since it was purchased.

 

In response, Councillor Hewett stated that he could not and would not answer that question as Councillor Atterwill was aware from private briefings that had been held with Members of the Opposition Groups, and from the briefing note that Councillor Atterwill requested, that such discussions would not be held in public about confidential commercial agreements that the Council had with any of its tenants. All remained  ...  view the full minutes text for item 62/22

63/22

Minutes (for information only) (Agenda item 10)

To note the following Minutes:

63/22a

Cabinet: 25 April 2022 pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To note the unconfirmed Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 25 April 2022.

Minutes:

Councillor Birt stated that the questions that he had asked at this meeting had not been included in the Minutes.

 

The Monitoring Officer explained that he would have the opportunity to raise this at the next Cabinet meeting in June.

 

The Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 25 April 2022 were noted.

63/22b

General Purposes Committee: 5 April 2022 pdf icon PDF 257 KB

To note the unconfirmed Minutes of the General Purposes Committee meeting held on 5 April 2022.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the General Purposes Committee meeting held on 5 April 2022 were noted.

63/22c

Planning Committee: 12 April 2022 pdf icon PDF 305 KB

To note the confirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 12 April 2022.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 12 April 2022 were noted.

64/22

Annual Appointment of Committees, Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen 2022-2023 (Agenda item 11) pdf icon PDF 135 KB

Report of Sarah Barsby, Assistant Director People & Governance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Sarah Barsby, the Assistant Director for People & Governance presented the report.

 

In accordance with the Constitution, the report sought Members’ agreement to approve the annual appointments of Councillors to Committees and to appoint the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen for the ensuing year.

 

The recommendations were read aloud.

 

Councillor Claussen the Deputy Leader nominated the following Conservative Members to the following Committees:

 

·        Governance & Audit Committee:

Cllr Robert Hambidge to replace Cllr Jane James

 

·        Appointments & Disciplinary Committee:

Cllr Sarah Suggitt and Cllr Paul Hewett to be appointed as substitutes

 

·        Overview & Scrutiny Commission:

Cllr Fabian Eagle to be removed as Vice-Chairman,

Cllr Roy Brame be appointed to the Commission as Vice-Chairman

Cllr Peter Wilkinson to be appointed as a full Member;

And Cllr Robert Hambidge to be appointed as a substitute member

 

·        Planning Committee:

Cllr Brame to be appointed as substitute

 

Councillor Jermy, the Leader of the Labour Group nominated the following Labour Group Member to the Appointments & Disciplinary Committee:

 

·        Cllr Harry Clarke be appointed as substitute. 

 

All other Labour Group Committee seats would remain the same.

 

Councillor Jermy also stated that he would be voting against the recommendations as the custom practice was for the Chairman or Vice-Chairman of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission to be a Member of the Opposition Group and not a Member of the ruling party as it had been for a number of years, and in his opinion, was not a good sign of democracy.

 

Before confirming his appointments, Councillor Atterwill wanted to convey his thanks to former Councillors Ian Martin and Mark Robinson for their services to their communities.

 

He was happy to confirm that the Independent Members nominated for Committees still stood as per the report. 

 

Councillor Birt was content with the appointments to the various Committees but concurred with Councillor Jermy about the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission, and therefore would not be supporting the second recommendation.

 

The recommendations were proposed and seconded and taken enbloc but any Member who wished to vote against or abstain from the recommendations were asked to indicate as such.

Subject to 8 votes against the recommendations and 1 abstention, it was

 

RESOLVED that, subject to the above appointments:

 

1.     the Council appoints for 2022-2023 the Committees as set out in Appendix A of the report; and

 

2.     the Council approves the appointment of the Chairmen, Vice-Chairmen and Councillors of those Committees as set out in Appendix A of the report, subject to the aforementioned changes notified by Group Leaders.

65/22

Representatives on Outside Bodies 2022/23 (Agenda item 12) pdf icon PDF 214 KB

Report of Sarah Barsby, Assistant Director People & Governance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Sarah Barsby, the Assistant Director for People & Governance presented the report.

 

In accordance with the Constitution, the report sought Members’ agreement to approve the appointment of representatives on Outside Bodies for 2022/23.

 

The recommendations were read aloud.

 

Councillor Claussen the Deputy Leader nominated the following Conservative Members to the following Committees:

 

·        Cllr Roy Brame be appointed to the Keystone Development Trust

·        Cllr Alison Webb be appointed to the Norfolk County Playing Fields Association

·        Cllr Robert Kybird be appointed to the Norfolk Health Overview Scrutiny Committee and Cllr Fabian Eagle to be appointed as his substitute

·        Cllr Jane James be appointed to the Norfolk Arts Forum Steering Committee

·        Cllr Lynda Turner be appointed as the substitute Member on the Norfolk Police & Crime Panel

·        Cllr Roy Brame be appointed to the Charles Burrell Museum Trust

·        Cllr Ian Sherwood be appointed to the Norfolk Waste Partnership 

 

In response to a query, the Leader explained how these organisations were added to the list of Outside Bodies.

 

No further appointments were made.

 

After being duly proposed and seconded and subject to 1 abstention, it was

 

RESOLVED that subject to the aforementioned changes, the most suitable representatives be appointed to serve on the list of Outside Bodies for 2022/23.

66/22

Amendments to the Constitution (if any) (Agenda item 13)

Minutes:

None.

67/22

Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent (Agenda item 14)

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.

Minutes:

The Leader was pleased to announce the following changes to his Cabinet:

 

·        Councillor Claussen to remain as Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economic Development & Growth

·        Councillor Webb to be appointed as Executive Member for health & Communities

·        Councillor Suggitt to be appointed as Executive Member for Strategic & Operational Planning

·        Councillor James to be appointed as Executive Member for Customer & Corporate Services

·        Councillor Sherwood to be appointed as Executive Member for Waste, Environmental health, Licensing & Sustainability

·        Councillor Bambridge to be appointed as Executive Member for Housing & Homelessness

·        Councillor Hewett to be appointed as Executive Member for Property, Projects & Procurement

·        Councillor Cowen to remain as Executive Member for Finance, Revenue & Benefits.

 

Councillor Kiddle-Morris, Crane and Bowes to remain as Executive Support Members.