Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Committee Services  01362 656870

Items
No. Item

41.

Minutes

To confirm the minutes of the meetings held on:

4108a

17 April 2008 pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 17 April 2008 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

4108b

13 May 2008 pdf icon PDF 129 KB

Minutes:

A correction was made to the first line of the final paragraph on page 15 in minute 39/08 changing the word “walked” to “driven”.  Subject to this correction, the minutes of the meeting held on 13 May 2008 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

42.

Apologies

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Messrs. K. Martin and B. Rose.

43.

Declaration of Interest

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests that 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 a person or prejudicial interest.

Minutes:

The following declarations were made:

 

  • Mr. J.D. Rogers – Personal and prejudicial interest in relation to LDF matters affecting Carbrooke generally and as he had submitted an application to include land in his ownership in the LDF in connection with the minutes of Panel 1 under agenda item 8.
  • Mr. R.G. Kybird – Personal interest by virtue of his profession as a builder in relation to LDF matters in connection with the minutes of the meeting of Panel 1 under agenda item 8.
  • Mr. M. Kiddle-Morris – Personal interest as recorded under minute 21/08 of the meeting of Policy Development and Review Panel 1 held on 6 May 2008.
  • Mr. A.P. Joel – Personal interest as member of Old Buckenham Parish Council in relation to minute 26/08 of the last meeting, as the village had a post office listed for closure.
  • Mr. S.G. Bambridge – Personal interest by virtue of his profession in relation to LDF matters under the minutes of Panel 1 under agenda item 8 and in regard to agenda item 6 as his village had a payphone box listed for removal.
  • Mr. P. Cowen – Personal interest by virtue of his profession as an architect in practice in relation to LDF matters in connection with the minutes of Panel 1 under agenda item 8.

44.

Non-Members wishing to address the Meeting

To note the names of any non-members or public speakers wishing to address the meeting.

Minutes:

Member of the public from Necton in regard to agenda item 6.

45.

BT Public Payphones Rationalisation Proposals in Breckland (Agenda Item 6) pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

 

A representative from BT will be in attendance for this item.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr. Derek Seaton and Mr. Martin John of BT were in attendance to speak on this item and answer questions.

 

The Scrutiny Officer presented the report which set out the background to the proposals by BT to remove 65 public payphone services across Breckland and the issues involved.  The report included a breakdown provided by BT of the usage figures for the affected payphones.  Since the report was prepared, it was noted that the payphone at Eastfields, Narborough had been added to the list of proposed closures; the usage figure given for this box was 97 calls in the last 12 months.

 

BT’s public consultation period was due to end on 2 July 2008.  The Council had written to all town and parish councils in the district for their views and a list of the responses to date was circulated at the meeting, as follows:

 

Town/Parish

Payphone Location

Object / Agree to removal

Ashill

Goose Green

Agree

Billingford

Festival Road

Object

Caston

The Green

Object

Cranworth

Woodrising

Object

Cranworth

Swathing

Object

Dereham

Shipdham Road

Object

Dereham

Moorgate Road

Object

Hardingham

High Common

Object

Hilborough

Westgate Street

Object

Hockering

The Street

Object

Holme Hale

Browns Lane

Agree

Holme Hale

Cook Road

Object

Horningtoft

Fakenham Road

Agree

Lt Cressingham

Watton Road

Object

Mattishall

Welgate

Object

Oxborough

Oxborough

Object

Sparham

The Street

Object

Sporle

South Acre Road

Agree

Swanton Morley

Primrose Square

Agree

Swanton Morley

Greengate

Agree

Thetford

Glebe Close

Object

Thetford

Anne B’olomew Road

Object

Wellingham

Wellingham

Object

Wretham

Watton Road

Agree

 

Mr. Seaton then explained BT’s proposed closure programme, the main reasons for closure being:

 

§         Significant decreases in usage – overall usage had halved over the last three years.

§         Unprofitability, with some 65% of payphones being identified as unprofitable.

§         Increased use of mobile telephones (90% of the population had mobiles) and the increased number of homes now having a telephone landline.

§         Vandalism and theft, the resultant increased cost of reinstatement/repair and maintenance making sites unviable.

 

A member questioned the inclusion of sites at Anne Bartholomew Road and Glebe Close, Thetford, which had some of the highest use figures.  The site at Anne Bartholomew Road was located near to a large school and that at Glebe Close was important for migrant workers in that area.  While many children had mobiles, access to a payphone was still considered a necessity for those who did not and who were likely to be the most vulnerable.  For these reasons, it was argued these payphones should be retained.

 

It was explained that the Anne Bartholomew Road site had been subjected to repeated robbery and vandalism and had been identified for closure on grounds of cost associated with that.   Even if it was changed to a cashless facility, such units typically only saved about 20% of the overall costs.  However, an undertaking was given that BT would specifically review the case for the site at Anne Bartholomew Road.

 

So far as cashless facilities were concerned, it was noted that phone card  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.

46.

Breckland Disability Equality Scheme - Year 1 Review (Agenda Item 7) pdf icon PDF 37 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

Minutes:

The Policy Officer (Equalities) presented the report and explained the background to the Year One review of the Breckland Disability Equality Scheme Action Plan covering the period December 2006 – December 2009.

 

The Commission’s views were sought prior to consideration of the report by the Cabinet on 10 June 2008.

 

Members questioned the Action that “for all new housing schemes in the market towns (of a suitable size and nature to trigger an affordable housing contribution), the Council will seek at least one wheelchair bungalow as new provision”.   It was felt that this could be discriminatory against people with other types of disability and removed freedom of choice both from an individual’s point of view and that of developers as it would dictate where the provision should be located.   There were also cost implications arising from the various design features that would be needed to address all the different types of disability to fully equip a dwelling.   The Council needed to be clear about the needs and level of disability it was attempting to address through this provision.  Members were also concerned that this Action was related only to the market towns of the District and felt that the needs of the rural villages also needed to be considered.  A member also questioned the calculation of the quota, i.e. one wheelchair bungalow on sites of over 25 units; the Member felt that this should be reflected in % terms so that the provision of these homes went up proportionately with the size of the site.

 

For these reasons, it was felt there was a need for this Action to be reviewed.

 

         RESOLVED that the Cabinet be asked to take into account the Commission’s views regarding a need to review the definition of the Action as outlined above.

47.

Policy Development and Review Panels (Agenda Item 8)

To consider reports from Panel Chairmen in respect of the following meetings:

4708a

Panel 1 - Unconfirmed minutes of the meeting held on 6 May 2008 pdf icon PDF 129 KB

Minutes:

(i)                 LDF Core Strategy and Development Control Policies: Preferred Options Consultation (Minute 21/08)

Attention was drawn to the concern raised about the issue of a 40% affordable housing target on new developments.  While it was noted that the challenge in this regard had been in relation to the evidence from the Housing Market Assessment used in arriving at this target, a member felt it would be useful for Panel 1 to discuss the difference between the East of England’s affordable housing target of 35% compared to Breckland’s proposed 40% target.

(ii)               Adoption

 

                  RESOLVED that the unconfirmed minutes of the meeting of Policy Development and Review Panel 1 held on 6 May 2008 be adopted.

4708b

Panel 2 - Unconfirmed minutes of the meeting held on 8 May 2008 pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Minutes:

(i)                 Mental Health Issues (Minute 12/08)

The Chairman of the Panel reported that this had been a very good debate that had addressed members’ concerns.

A member highlighted the problems that arose from the fact that Thetford fell within a separate delivery structure to Norfolk so far as mental health services were concerned and the difficulties this posed for joined-up working and provision of services.

Another member felt that there were gaps in mental health service provisions, for example the lack of drop-in centres, and the need to look at outreach services.  In this connection, it was noted there was a consultation presently under way in Norfolk on a GP drop-in service.

(ii)               Culture Update (Minute 13/08)

The Chairman of the Panel recorded members’ congratulations to the officers on the success and growth of the sports and arts development programmes.

(iii)             Adoption

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed minutes of the meeting of Policy Development and Review Panel 2 held on 8 May 2008 be adopted.

48.

Work Programme (Agenda Item 9) pdf icon PDF 9 KB

(a)               A copy of the Commission’s work programme is attached, together with a copy of the current issue of the Forward Plan of the Executive for members’ information.  The Commission is asked to agree any additions, deletions or amendments to the programme as appropriate.

 

(b)        Member Issues:  In accordance with the Commission’s protocol for member leadership, which states that members of the Commission will take the lead in selecting topics for overview and scrutiny and in the questioning of witnesses, members are invited to put forward items for selection for future review.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman outlined the following priority areas for future scrutiny review in the work programme:

 

  • Business Transformation – to look at the processes involved in this fundamental change project

  • Local Strategic Partnership – to look at relationship of objectives between the LSP and Breckland and to monitor achievements.

  • Market towns and their feeder villages – to understand their needs and issues and feed these through to the LSP.

  • Primary Care Trust – to look at how PCT and other health providers will meet needs of Thetford Growth Point to ensure adequate planning.  Include taking evidence from local doctors’ and dental practices. 

  • Thetford Growth Point – to understand background and issues to work of this major project.

It was noted that there was now a small budget for research work which could be utilised to support these reviews.

 

A member drew attention to the need to avoid duplicating work currently being carried out by the Norfolk Health Scrutiny Committee and also work on mental health by carried out by the County Council.

 

Other issues for future scrutiny or monitoring included:

 

  • Business Plan 2008-14
  • Dog & Pest Control Services – allocate to Panel 3
  • Economic Development
  • CCTV – scheduled in programme for September 2008
  • Car Parks Review
  • Street Lighting Levy – allocate to Panel 2
  • Empty Homes Policy - allocate to Panel 2
  • Affordable Housing – existing item allocated to Panel 3
  • Political Management Structure – to monitor results from changes
  • Post Offices Network Change Programme  – to monitor progress/outcomes
  • Royal Mail – to look at impact on post boxes in light of post office closures

 

It was suggested Task and Finish Groups be established for the following reviews:

 

  1. Thetford Growth Point
  2. Market Towns and Villages
  3. CCTV

 

It was agreed the Task and Finish Groups should be chaired by a Member from the Overview and Scrutiny Commission with two other members drawn from other non-Executive members of the Council and that the chairmanship of the Market Towns and Villages Groups should not be a member of the market town in question.

 

         RESOLVED that the Scrutiny Officer be asked to make adjustments to the future work programme and to establish the Task and Finish Groups as proposed above.

49.

Next Meeting

To note the date of the next meeting to be held on 10 July 2008 at 2.15 p.m. in the Anglia Room, Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham.

Minutes:

The arrangements for the next meeting on 10 July 2008 were noted.

Chairman's Closing Remarks

The Chairman concluded the meeting by thanking outgoing members Mrs. T. Hewett and Mr. C. Jordan for their contribution and work on behalf of the Commission and welcomed Mr. M. Kiddle-Morris and Mr. A.C. Stasiak as new members of the Commission.