Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Committee Services  01362 656870

Items
No. Item

78.

Minutes (Agenda item 1) pdf icon PDF 134 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 4 September 2008.

Minutes:

a)           Work Programme – Minute No. 76/08

 

Item 1 – BT Payphones Consultation – the Member Development and Scrutiny Officer advised that the first meeting of the BT Payphone Working Group would not be held until 14 October 2008.  The reason for this was that BT had informed the Council that the consultation process had been extended to 1 November 2008. 

 

Item 2 – Department for Communities and Local Government White Paper Consultation on Accountability – the Working Group had met on 30 September 2008, a paper had been circulated and Mr Gordon Bambridge would present the findings to Members under item 3 of the Agenda. 

 

b)           Adoption

 

Subject to the above comments, the Minutes of the meeting held on 4 September 2008 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

79.

Apologies (Agenda item 2)

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Messrs. A Byrne, K Gilbert, R Goreham, B Rose and Mrs S Howard-Alpe.

80.

Urgent Business (Agenda item 3) pdf icon PDF 195 KB

To note whether the Chairman proposes to accept any item as urgent business pursuant to Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.

Minutes:

Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) White Paper Consultation on Accountability

 

A short report was provided by Mr Gordon Bambridge who had attended the Working Group meeting on 30 September 2008. 

 

The Chairman had been most disappointed that Gordon Bambridge had been the only Breckland Member that had attended the Working Group.  He urged Members to take this matter more seriously particularly when overview and scrutiny would be taking on a wider role; opportunities such as this should not be ignored.

 

The consultation paper covered three major areas:

 

·        Developing and strengthening overview and scrutiny

·        Increasing the visibility and accountability of local public officers

·        Facilitating the work of councillors

 

The document outlined various approaches that the DCLG were looking to make and had posed 12 specific questions.  In relation to question 3 – Do you agree with the proposed approach towards joint overview and scrutiny committees – although the approach that all relevant local authorities concerned should be involved in a joint approach was agreed, there was a potential danger that the lead authority, for example a County Council, could take a dominant approach and therefore effectively sideline district involvement.

 

A number of minor anomalies in the paper were highlighted and were noted.

 

A copy of the Working Group paper is appended to these Minutes.

81.

Declaration of Interest (Agenda item 4)

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 S.G. Bambridge – Personal interest in LDF matters by virtue of his profession.
  • Mr J. P. Cowen – Personal and prejudicial interest by virtue of his profession as an Architect in practice in relation to LDF matters and his involvement in item 12 of the Agenda – Business Transformation – Planning and Building Control update.
  • Mr R. G. Kybird – Personal and prejudicial interest by virtue of his business interests in housing and land allocations in Thetford Growth Point.
  • Mr. A. P. Joel – Personal interest as a Member of Old Buckenham Parish Council in relation to Agenda item 1- Minute No. 71/08 (Breckland Community Car Schemes) and in relation to LDF matters relating to his Ward.
  • Mr. J. D. Rogers – Personal and prejudicial interest as Ward Member and landowner in relation to LDF matters relating to Carbrooke.
  • Mr. M. Broughton – personal interest in his capacity as a Trade Union official in relation to Agenda item 12 of the Agenda – Business Transformation – Planning and Building Control update.

82.

Non-Members wishing to address the Meeting (Agenda item 5)

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

Minutes:

Mrs. A. Steward was in attendance.

83.

CCTV Review (Agenda item 6) pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Report of the Strategic Director (Services).

Minutes:

The Deputy Chief Executive presented this item and provided Members with a brief overview on the CCTV procurement process.

 

The contract had been tendered and the Council had received proposals from three companies, two of which had met the criteria and one of which had not.

 

The two successful companies would now proceed to the final stages of the process by invitation to tender.  The evaluation of the final tenders would in November and the results would ultimately be included as an item on the next Overview & Scrutiny Agenda.

 

RESOLVED that the position be noted and a progress report be submitted to the next ordinary meeting of the Commission on 13 November 2008.

84.

DELIVERY OF THE CHOICE BASED LETTING SCHEME AND ALLOCATION POLICY CHANGES (Agenda item 7) pdf icon PDF 88 KB

To receive a presentation.

 

This matter was considered by Policy Development and Review Panel 3 at its meeting on 16 September 2008 and is also to be considered by the Cabinet at its meeting on 14 October 2008.  The associated report of the Executive Member for Economic and Housing to the Cabinet is attached.

 

The views of Panel 3 will be reported at the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Principal Housing Officer (Strategy and Enabling) presented the report in conjunction with the recommendation contained in Minute No. 36/08 of the meeting of Policy Development and Review Panel 3 held on 16 September 2008. 

 

The report advised Members of the changes that would be made to the allocations policy to meet the requirements of Breckland Key Select and advised the key development points in the process until the system went live.

 

There was a Government target for every local authority to have a Choice Based Lettings Scheme in place by 2010.

 

Copies of the proposed branding for Breckland Key Select were circulated.  If the name was not approved then further consideration would need to be given to another name.  This would ultimately delay the progress towards the go live date.

 

A presentation on Choice Based Lettings was then provided.

 

The presentation had been based on another local authority’s site that was already being used which provided Members with a flavour of what the Breckland site would eventually look like.

 

The introduction of the Choice Based Lettings Scheme was the second step of a series of changes and was considered to be the most substantial improvement.  This internet based scheme allowed people to register an interest in an individual property.  The information could be easily accessed on what homes were available and where, together with key details about the property itself e.g. photographs, the number of bedrooms, the rent to be charged and council tax banding.    New properties would include floor plans and a map link would also be made available. There had been lots of support and assistance in the development of this process.   A language facility would also be provided.

 

Every applicant would have his or her own login name, and as well as housing information, the site would also be linked to homelessness advice.  Eligibility would be limited; for example, a single person could not bid for a three bedroom house.

 

Applicants could then ‘bid’ to be considered for a property within their ‘band’.  The priority ‘bandings’ were explained and a paper was circulated for information. Members noted that the banding system was much easier than the current points system.  A person would have to have a local connection before a ‘banding’ could be given.  Many checks would be carried out to ascertain whether that person did indeed have a local connection.

 

The Choice Based Lettings Scheme offered a variety of bidding and information platforms including the use of the internet, text message and free bidding hotline numbers.  It was estimated that there would be around 100 to 150 bids for each property.  The top three bidders would be highlighted and each would be looked at by the Housing Association once the bidding had been completed.  There had to be very good reasons why someone at the top had not been successful.  The bidding process would be closely monitored so that favouritism‘(cherry picking)’ from the Council’s partners could not take place.

 

There would also be a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 84.

85.

A STRATEGY TO ADDRESS THE HOUSING AND SUPPORT NEEDS OF PEOPLE WITH PHYSICAL AND SENSORY DISABILITIES (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Economic and Housing which is to be considered at the Cabinet meeting on 14 October 2008.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Principal Housing Officer (Strategy and Enabling) presented the report.

Members were asked to consider the strategy to address the housing and support needs of people with physical and sensory disabilities.

Copies of the glossary version of the Strategy had been circulated.

The nine key recommendations within the Strategy which had been set out with actions to deliver them were highlighted.

During the development of the Strategy the Council had already been successful in securing funding from Supporting People and Adult Social Services to create a Strategy Implementation Officer’s post.  This position would be key to delivering the nine recommendations.

Research had shown that there was no co-ordinated strategic evaluation of spending on services for disabled people and there was not any timely and co-ordinated cross agency support to meet current housing needs.  In other words there was a lot of money being wasted on an over created process.

It was noted that shared savings would be identified in the future.

 

A Member asked if the policy dealt with children under the age of 16 who cared for disabled parents.  In response, Members were informed that this type of support would be provided by social care which the Council was also working with.

 

Another Member was under the impression that when a new housing estate was built, a disabled dwelling was also provided.  The Principal Environmental Planning Officer advised that this matter was being considered as part of the Local Development Framework (LDF) process.

 

RECOMMEND to Cabinet the adoption of the Strategy to address the housing and support needs of people with physical and sensory disabilities.

86.

Local Development Framework - Core Strategy and Development Control Policies Development Plan Document - Submission Document (Agenda item 9) pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Report of the Strategic Director (Business Transformation). 

 

This report is also to be considered at the meeting of the Policy Development and Review Panel 1 on 23 September 2008. 

 

Appendix B to the report is as previously circulated with the agenda for the Panel 1 meeting on 23 September and is enclosed as a separate document for those Members who have not already received a copy (i.e. non-Panel 1 or Development Control Committee Members; please note this document has the page numbering as used with the agenda for Panel 1.)

 

The views of Panel 1 will be reported at the meeting.

 

Members may wish to bring to the meeting their copy of the Preferred Options of the Core Strategy and Development Control Policies for reference purposes.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Commission considered the report of the Strategic Director, along with the recommendations of Policy and Development Review Panel 1. The Chairman of the Panel, which had looked at the Core Strategy and Development Control Policies document in some detail in formulating its recommendations, reiterated his thanks to the Members and Officers who had been involved in that process.

 

Members made comments on various aspects of the Document, changes made to Preferred Options in response to comments received and the further amendments recommended by the Panel.

 

There was discussion on the Revised Spatial Vision and, in particular, the implications for the Attleborough area. Members accepted that the A11 corridor, with both the trunk road and rail links, meant that the town would strategically attract a relatively high level of development, but wanted to be assured that this would happen logically. It was pointed out that an Action Plan for Attleborough and Snetterton would define the issues involved. The Principal Planning Policy Officer explained that a number of studies were already looking at the different aspects, including infrastructure, the impact of additional houses on jobs and possible link road options. An Attleborough ward representative referred to the recent public meeting in the town and felt that a forum similar to that recently established for Thetford would be a good way of moving forward. The Executive Member for Planning and the Environment informed the Commission that steps were already being taken in this direction.

 

A Member was concerned at the suggested reduction of the affordable housing target from 40% to 35% in Policy DC4 (Affordable Housing Principles). This had been put forward as an amendment as there was some doubt that a figure of 40% cold be supported by developers and the higher figure would have a detrimental effect, especially given the current economic climate. However, it was apparent from the evidence presented that 40% at least was achievable in Breckland. A proposal that this particular recommendation from the Panel be deleted was seconded and, on being put to the vote, carried by 5 votes to 2.

 

Mr R Kybird did not vote on this proposal.

 

The Chairman of the Commission commented on the revised Policy DC8 (Tourism) and was of the view that the requirement to demonstrate a need for a proposal for tourist accommodation might in fact have the effect of stifling innovation. This view was generally supported and a proposal that this clause be deleted was seconded and, on being put to the vote, carried.

 

A Member questioned page 63 of the Agenda under the heading “Key Changes to Core Strategy” and asked whether the new section added to Core Policy CP2 in relation to travelling show people included travellers.  The Principal Planning Policy Officer explained that this was in addition to gypsies and travellers.

 

A Member wondered whether the revised Policy DC14 (Energy Efficiency) could override Building Regulations with its requirement that developments of more than 1,000 square metres, or 10 residential units, should supply at least 10%  ...  view the full minutes text for item 86.

87.

Environment and Security Services Contract - Quarterly Monitoring Review (Agenda item 10) pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Report of the Strategic Director (Services).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Chief Executive presented this item and provided Members with a short but positive message.

 

According to the graph on page 68 of the Agenda, the level of customer satisfaction with the Environmental Services contract was very high.  All but one of the indicators was green.

 

The position of the key performance indicators at Appendix B of the report was a positive one.

 

A Member asked whether the percentage figures included in the graph could be broken down in future.

 

The Chairman suggested that a Task & Finish Group (comprising three or four Members of the Council) be set up to monitor the Environmental Services contract instead of it coming through to the Commission.  The Group could be set up to meet four times a year.

 

RESOLVED that

 

1)           the report be noted; and

 

2)           a Task & Finish Group be set up to monitor the Environmental Services Contract in future and to meet four times a year.

88.

Policy Development and Review Panels

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

8808a

Panel 1 - Unconfirmed minutes of the meeting held on 23 September 2008 (Agenda item 11a)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

i)              Submission Core Strategy and Development Control Policies Development Plan Document (Minute No. 60/08)

 

This item had been dealt with under Minute No. 86/08 above.

 

ii)      Adoption

 

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting of Policy Development & Review Panel 1 held on 23 September 2008 be adopted.

8808b

Panel 2 - Unconfirmed minutes of the meeting held on 3 September 2008 (Agenda item 11b) pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Minutes:

i)              Empty Dwellings Policy (Minute No. 32/08)

 

It was noted that the recommendation for this item had already been agreed at the Council meeting on 25 September 2008.

 

ii)            Breckland Voice – Review of Distribution (Minute No. 33/08)

 

The Commission noted the Panel’s views on this matter and supported the proposals.  Accordingly, it was

 

RESOLVED to recommend to Cabinet that:

 

(1)         the Council continue to deliver Breckland Voice with the wheelie bins, but pay an additional £650 per edition to provide postal delivery to properties sharing a bin.  This cost could be met from within existing budgets for the remainder of 2008/09; subsequently additional funding would be required.  This would have to be met by either virements from another existing budget, or a growth bid put forward into this year’s budget process;

 

(2)         a suitable budget be allocated for distribution costs in future years.

 

iii)          Adoption

 

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting of the Policy Development & Review Panel 2 held on 3 September 2008 be adopted.

8808c

Panel 3 - Unconfirmed minutes of the meeting held on 16 September 2008 (Agenda item 11c) pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

i)              Smoke Free Compliance (Minute No. 32/08)

 

RESOLVED that an article be places in a future edition of Breckland Voice about the success of the smoking ban in Breckland.

 

ii)            GP Led Health Centres in Rural Areas (Minute No. 34/08)

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)         the PCT be requested to provide an interactive map on its website for the people of Norfolk, highlighting where the GP Led Health centres were or would be situated, including the catchment areas; and

 

(2)         the Environmental Planning Manager attend a future Panel meeting to discuss forward planning for such Centres.

 

iii)          Housing Waiting List – Allocations Policy and Choice Base Lettings (Minute No. 36/08)

 

This matter had been discussed under Minute No. 84/08 above.

 

iv)          Adoption

 

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting of Policy Development & Review Panel 3 held on 16 September 2008 be adopted.

89.

Business Transformation - Planning & Building Control - Update (Agenda item 12)

The Deputy Chief Executive will give a verbal update on progress of this matter.

Minutes:

The Deputy Chief Executive explained the temporary division of the work of the Strategic Director (Transformation) pending that officer’s sickness absence.  This meant that he was now responsible for the Planning and Building Control elements whilst the Environmental Health function currently resided with the Strategic Director (Services).

 

A short briefing was given to Members on the tendering exercise to identify potential contractors.

 

The likely method of provision of Planning and Buildings Control by way of a contract and the terms and conditions of such an arrangement was outlined.  A definitive proposal was expected to be developed by 17th October, to be finalised at the end of November and put to Council via the Commission and Cabinet.

 

As far as Customer Services were concerned, preparations for decentralisation were under way and it was hoped to have a service available at Attleborough by Christmas, to be followed by other towns in mid-2009.

 

An organisational chart had been agreed with the contractor for the future of Environmental Health and a full report would be available in November.

90.

Work Programme (Agenda item 13) 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:

It was proposed that the draft revised Constitution be added to the Work Programme and an additional meeting be arranged on 23 October 2008 to discuss this matter.

 

It was further proposed that the Shadwell Park repair works be added to the Work Programme.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)         the work programme be amended as noted above; and

 

(2)         an additional meeting be held on 23rd October to consider the proposed changes to the Constitution before adoption by Council.

91.

Next Meeting (Agenda item 14)

To note the date of the next meeting to be held on 13 November 2008 at 2.15 p.m. in the Anglia Room, Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham.

Minutes:

The arrangements for the additional meeting on 23 October 2008 were noted, venue and time to be confirmed.