Agenda and minutes

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

No. Item


Minutes (Agenda item 1) pdf icon PDF 121 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 25 October 2007.


The Minutes of the meeting held on 25 October 2007 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.



Apologies (Agenda item 2)

To receive apologies for absence. 


Apologies for absence were received from Mr S Chapman-Allen, Mr R Childerhouse, Mr P Claussen, Mr K Gilbert, Mr P Hewett, Mr C Jordan, Mr R Kemp, Mr I Monson, Mr D Myers, Mrs P Quadling, Mr I Sherwood and Mr D Williams.


Members were informed that the absence of Councillor Claussen from this meeting was due to other Council business.



Declaration of Interest (Agenda item 3)

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests they may have in any of the following items on the agenda.


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



The following declarations of interest were noted:


  • Mr P Cowen – personal interest as recorded under:


Ø                  Minute No. 108/07 of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting of 1 November 2007,

Ø                  Minute No. 130/07 of the Cabinet meeting of 20 November 2007.


  • Mr G Bambridge – personal interest as recorded under Minute No. 108/07 of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting of 1 November 2007.


  • Messrs R Kybird, B Borrett, S Askew, J Labouchere and P Francis – personal interests in Minute No. 113/07(a)(i) of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting of 1 November 2007.


  • Mr J Rogers – personal interest with matters relating to the Parish of Carbrooke, in relation to Minute No. 113/07(a)(i) of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting on 1 November 2007.


  • Mrs T Hewett – personal interest in Minute No. 178/07 of the Development Control Committee meeting held on 5 November 2007.


  • Lady Fisher – personal interest in Minute No. 113/07(c)(ii) of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 1 November 2007.



Chairman's Announcements (Agenda item 4)

(including the engagements of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman)


The following announcements were made:


Welcome Home Parade of the Light Dragoons

The Chairman had been very proud and overwhelmed to be in a position to host the parade and to welcome the Light Dragoons home from Afganistan.  The Council had received thank you letters, telephone calls and emails from many of the guests.  Complimentary letters had also been received from General Richard Dannant, the Head of the Armed Forces, the Deputy Chief of the Armed Forces, and from the Commanding Officer of the Light Dragoons, Lieutenant Colonel Angus Watson.  The parade had seen the biggest turnout of its kind in Dereham’s living memory and had reflected the overwhelming support form the local community for the returning soldiers.


Mr W Smith, the Executive Member for the Cabinet Office, had been the mentor behind the ‘Welcome Home’ event; however, the person who had made all the necessary arrangements, and who had worked extremely hard to ensure that the event was a great success, had been Mary Palmer, Breckland Council’s Marketing and Communications Officer and her team.  The Chairman was delighted to present Mary with a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of champagne.


Auction of Promises

Members were reminded of the ‘Auction of Promises’ that would be held following the Full Council meeting.  All monies raised would be in aid of Quidenham Hospice.

The Chairman offered his congratulations to Councillor Stephen Askew who had completed a half marathon in 2 hours and 16 minutes and had raised over £1,000, also in aid of the Hospice.   Finally, Councillor Ann Steward and Lady Fisher were looking for sponsorship as they had offered to abseil from the Ecotech wind turbine in the Spring.


A list of engagements attended by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman was tabled, for the period 26th October to 5th December 2007, which included:


30th Oct,

Funeral of Wilf Mathews – ex-councillor and Chairman of Breckland Council


4th Nov

Justice Service

The High Sheriff of Norfolk and The Countess of Romney DL

19th Nov

Welcome Home Parade of the Light Dragoons followed by Church Service

Breckland Council

20th Nov

Launch of the Wayland Community Bank

Wayland Partnership

23rd Nov

Charity Dinner

Chairman of Norfolk County Council, Michael Carttiss

28th Nov

Light Dragoons Cocktail Party

Commanding Officer and the Officers of The Light Dragoons






The Chairman thanked Councillor J Labouchere, the Vice-Chairman for helping him out on a number of his appointments.


26th October,

Mayor’s Charity Ceilidh

Mayor and Mayoress of Thetford, Councillor Robert Kybird and Sue Glason

22nd November,

Exercising their Freedom of the City of Norwich by the Royal Anglian Regiment

Lord Mayor of Norwich, Councillor Roy Blower, and The Sheriff of Norwich, Nick Williams

23rd November,

Homecoming of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment

Mayor of St. Edmundsbury Borough Council

5th December,

Ceremony to mark the completion of the strengthening of three bridges over the Mid Norfolk Railway  ...  view the full minutes text for item 121.


Cabinet: 20 November 2007 (Agenda item 5)

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 20 November 2007.

Additional documents:


a)            Value for Money Strategy (Minute No. 133/07)


The Executive Member for the Cabinet Office stated that the Value for Money Strategy would help the Council create greater public understanding of what value for money was, how it was measured and how the Council could continue to provide the delivery of cost effective services.


An Independent Panel would be created to monitor executive resources.


RESOLVED that the Value for Money Strategy be approved.


b)            Child Protection Policy (Minute No. 134/07


The Democratic Services Manager made Members aware that the identification of those Members for whom it would be appropriate to require a Criminal Records Bureau check be delegated to the Chairman of the Cabinet meeting at which the recommendation was made.


The Executive Member for Community and Cultural Services stated that the Council believed that all children should be able to live their lives to the fullest potential, to be protected, and to have the opportunity to participate in and enjoy any activity, and to be treated with dignity and respect.  The Child Protection Policy would be there to protect Breckland Council, young people and the children within the district.




a)            the Child Protection Policy be adopted; and


b)            future changes to the practices and procedures which support the Council’s Child Protection Policy be delegated to the appropriate Executive Member in consultation with the Strategic Director.


c)            Breckland Council-Owned Land at Croxton Road, Thetford – Family Accommodation (Minute No. 135/07)


A Member said that the Cabinet’s decision to transfer the council-owned land at Croxton Road to Cotman Housing Association had given rise to great concern to the town.  He further felt that the land would be dangerous to build on as he was aware that it had been a former rubbish tip.  The Member asked whether the Council would be donating some of the money from the sale of the land back into Thetford.

The Leader stated that the Council had a very clear policy on the disposal of its assets and that the money would be used for the good of the community not just for one particular town.  In response to the contaminated land issue, the Operations Manager for Commercial Services advised that he had not been aware that the land had been a former tip; however, further site investigations would be carried out with Cotman Housing Association, prior to the formal consultation process. 

Another Member felt that a further issue that should be taken into consideration was the loss of open space.


d)            Sustainable Community Steering Group (Minute No. 136/07)


The Executive Member for the Cabinet Office advised that it was the Government’s aim to build a vision on how to provide Strategic Leadership.  He hoped that together with these two policy documents, the Sustainable Community Strategy and the Local Development Framework, life and biodiversity within Breckland would be significantly enhanced.


The Leader of the Labour Group queried the source of the statement that only large urban areas would be considered as sustainable.  It was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 122.


Overview and Scrutiny Commission: 1 November 2007 (Agenda item 6) pdf icon PDF 107 KB

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 1 November 2007.


RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 1 November 2007 be adopted.



Development Control: 5 November 2007 (Agenda item 7) pdf icon PDF 133 KB

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Development Control Committee meeting held on 5 November 2007.


a)            Thetford: Abbey Farm Barns, Monksgate: Minute No. 179/07


A Thetford Ward Representative had been very disappointed with the decision of the Development Control Committee not to save this very important site.  He hoped that the Secretary of State would see sense and rescue these buildings when making its final decision.


b)            Adoption


RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the Development Control Committee meeting held on 5 November 2007 be adopted.



General Purposes Committee: 7 November 2007 (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 153 KB

Unconfirmed Minutes of the General Purposes Committee meeting held on 7 November 2007.


a)            Review of Polling Districts and Places (Minute No. 67/07)




1)            the proposals for polling districts and places put forward by the Working Group be adopted; and


2)            the conclusions of the review and all related correspondence and evidence be publicised in accordance with Electoral Commission guidance.


b)            Adoption


RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the General Purposes Committee meeting held on 7 November 2007 be adopted.



Licensing Committee: 21 November 2007 (Agenda item 9)

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Licensing Committee meeting held on 21 November 2007.

Additional documents:


a)            Licensing Act 2003 – Review of Licensing Policy (Minute No. 03/07)


RESOLVED that the revised Policy as amended be adopted as the Council’s Licensing Policy.


b)            Adoption


RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Licensing Committee Minutes of the meeting held on 21 November 2007 be adopted.



Standards Committee: 30 October 2007 (Agenda item 10) pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Confirmed Minutes of the Standards Committee meeting held on 30 October 2007.


a)            Complaint against Mr Roy Rudling, ex-Councillor of Breckland  Council


A Member had been very disappointed that Mr Rudling had been taken to the Board as he felt that the matter had been taken out of context.


b)            Adoption


RESOLVED that the confirmed Minutes of the Standards Committee meeting held on 30 October 2007 be adopted.



Standards Committee: 14 November 2007 (Agenda item 11) pdf icon PDF 92 KB

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Standards Committee meeting held on 14 November 2007.


RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Standards Committee meeting held on 14 November 2007 be adopted.



Minor Structural Reorganisation (Agenda item 12) pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Report of the Chief Executive.

Additional documents:


The Chief Executive presented the report which sought Council’s approval for a revised management structure for Chief Officer and Deputy Chief Officer appointments within the Council.


Following the recruitment of the Chief/Deputy Chief Executives and the Director of Transformation one of the Operational Managers’ posts remained vacant and the need to restructure was essential.  The vacant post offered the opportunity to rationalise the top tier of the management without the financial impact of redundancy, with responsibilities reorganised under a senior team of four, including the Chief Executive. The restructure would also offer clear lines of responsibility of what the Chief Officers were responsible for.


The restructure renamed the current Operations Managers as Strategic Directors, which was felt to be a more accurate description of their functions.


It was explained that the key change, whilst reducing the level at the top team down, in fact, introduced another senior level post, an Assistant Director. 


The Chief Executive explained that the figures quoted in the report, and that were in the public domain, were not just salaries but salaries and on costs.


The Leader of the Council pointed out that agreeing these proposals would mean yearly savings for the Council.


The Executive Member for Environment was glad to support the recommendations as the new post would be responsible for driving forward the Council’s “Green Agenda”.


Another Member said that he had observed many adjustments of management structures over the years and had never really seen any great changes. He hoped that this proposed restructure would be more constructive.  In response, and in the Council’s defence, the Chief Executive informed Members that the Information Profile from the Audit Commission mentioned at the last meeting of the Council, where it had been reported that Breckland Council had been ranked 14th out of 388 authorities in terms of improvements, had since recognised Breckland Council as the fourth improved authority in the country.  He also pointed to the annual saving identified in the report.




1)            the revised management structure at Annex 1 to the report be adopted; and


2)      the Council’s Monitoring Officer be instructed to update the Council’s Constitution.



Local Government Review (Agenda item 13) pdf icon PDF 317 KB

To receive an update.


The Chief Executive introduced this item and reported that, yesterday on the 5th December 2007, the Government had announced some of its proposals for unitary status.  Some had been accepted and endorsed by the Boundary Committee.  Breckland Council had now been told to “wait it out”, as there was no clarity at this stage about the implications for Norfolk following yesterday’s announcement.  The Chief Executive anticipated that by 12th December 2007 the Boundary Committee would have had their consultation with the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the situation would hopefully be much clearer.


A presentation then followed from Breckland’s Local Government Review team.


The Corporate Policy Manager advised that since the last Council meeting, the team had been working in partnership with North Norfolk, Great Yarmouth and Norwich City Council on a 3 unitary proposal.  Across Norfolk 3 proposal documents had been submitted on 30 November 2007 with outline proposals as follows:


          North Norfolk DC – 1 option, 3 x unitary solution

          South Norfolk DC & Kings Lynn BC – 1 option, 4 x unitary solution

          County Council – 3 options (including County and two two-unitary options)


North Norfolk District Council’s proposal suggested a ‘Greater’ Norwich, with the rest of the county divided roughly through the middle, north-west to south-east.


The expected timetable was highlighted but Members were made aware that it could change following the previous day’s announcement.


The Opposition Leader asked the following questions:


  • Why had Members not been involved in the Unitary Bid? 
  • Why did Breckland Council not submit its proposal?
  • What was wrong with the Yarmouth and Waveney option?


In response, the Leader advised that the people who wrote the bid were officers who had been guided by Members.  North Norfolk had submitted the bid, albeit that Breckland Council, Great Yarmouth Borough Council and Norwich City Council had put their names to the proposal. The ‘Yartoft’ bid, as it had been called, had not been taken forward because Breckland had been advised to keep within the Norfolk borders; however, since the government’s announcement, certain changes could be imminent which could mean that Great Yarmouth could consider a proposal with Suffolk and Kings Lynn might consider joining Lincolnshire.


Another Member asked why such an important item had not been to a Full Council meeting.  In response, the Chief Executive explained that the matter had been before Full Council at the previous meeting when, because of the timetable constraints, it had been resolved that authority to promote a unitary proposal for Norfolk be delegated to the Leader (Minute No. 115/07 refers).


A Member thought that the presentation he had witnessed today had been of a much higher quality than others that he had seen and felt that the team should be congratulated.


A copy of the presentation is attached for Members’ information.



Nominations for Committee and other Seats (Agenda item 14)

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


RESOLVED that the following change of representation be noted:


Norfolk Health Scrutiny Committee


Mrs S Howard-Alpe

Substitute: Mr R G Kybird.