Agenda and minutes

Venue: Attleborough Town Hall, Church Street, Attleborough

Contact: Sian Hall 

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 12 June 2007.


(a)    Apologies (Minute 25/07 refers)


Mr Rose wished to note that he had sent apologies via e-mail for the meeting and the minutes would be amended to reflect this information.


(b)    Adoption

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 12 June 2007 were confirmed as a correct and signed as a correct record with the exception of the above amendment.



To receive apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were received from Messrs R. Kemp and J. P. Labouchere.


Additional HMO Licencing pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Report of the Principal Environmental Health Officer.


The Principal Environmental Health Officer submitted a report which summarised the progress of the proposed additional licensing scheme for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). 


It was hoped that a consultation document would be available to present to the Members but this would be circulated shortly and attached to the minutes as an appencies.


At present HMOs consisting of 3 or more stories and occupied by at least 5 person in at least 2 households the licensing was mandatory.  Section 56 of the Act allows for a Local Authority to designate all or part of its area as subject to an additional licensing scheme in relation to specified types of HMO.  It was therefore proposed to designate the whole of Breckland’s district for an additional HMO scheme.  It was also proposed to specify all types of HMO (except those specifically exempted by legislation) for inclusion within the scheme.  This was due to the finding of many different types of properties from bungalows to disused shops being used to house tenants, often migrant workers, in all parts of the district, both rural and urban.


The contents for the additional scheme would be exactly as those for the mandatory scheme covering management, provision of amenities, fire precautions and means of escape.  The charge for the licence would also be the same at £250 per HMO.


All such schemes must be submitted to the appropriate national for approval before they can be implemented and as part of the condition for submission the Council must prove that they have consulted widely on the proposal with those likely to be affected including local residents, tenants, landlords, agents and member so of the business community.  In additional consultation would also take place with the fire and police authorities.


In response to Members queries the Principal Environmental Health Officer gave the following advice:-


·              Payment of Council Tax

The Payment of Council was sometimes the responsibility of the tenants and sometimes the landlord. 

·              Location of HMO

A district wide survey of the location of HMOs was undertaken two years ago.  Complaints may be received from neighbours regarding an HMO in the area.  Council Tax and Housing Benefit would contact the team if a large number of people were claiming from one property. 

Once the scheme was implemented it would be a duty of the owner of the HMO to notify the Council of the property and pay the licence.

·              Hot Beds

When a HMO was located the team would arrange for an inspection and there would be a limitation imposed on the number of people residing in the property according to the facilities and means of escape etc.  However, action could still be taken under current legislation if it was found that a property was overcrowded.

·              Timetable

It was hoped that following consultation Cabinet would be presented with a report in October.  If that scheme was approved it would then go forward to the Secretary of State for consideration and approval.  It was envisaged that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.


Homelessness Strategy Review Action Plan - Annual Review Report pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Report of the Homelessness (Strategy and Development) Officer.

Additional documents:


The Strategic Housing Manager submitted the annual review of the Homelessness Strategy Review Action Plan.


The recommendations contained in the Homelessness Strategy Review action plan annual review would be fed into and align with the Strategic Housing Service Team Plan and Annual Delivery Plan targets for 2007/08 and form the basis for the development and improvement of the Housing Advice and Homeless Service.


In response to Members queries the Principal Environmental Health Officer made the following main comments.


·              Of the volume of calls received regarding homelessness enquiries the Council had a re-housing duty to 180.

·              Re-housing was achieved through using social housing stock an through the private rented sector.

·              Once a person or family was accepted as homeless they would be given priority on the housing list as legislation stated that reasonable preference had to be given to certain client groups which included the homeless.

·              With regard to include housing provision in the Local Development Framework (LDF) for 16 and 17 year olds the LDF would include the needs of the housing market.  There was a need for small units for 16 and 17 year olds and there was no provision of this type currently in Breckland.  This age group had a number of different access issues around benefits and sometimes supported housing was the only way forward.

There had been wardened single units in Thetford but this provision had been ceased as a result of a number of different issues.

If a provision was built in Breckland the Housing Association would build the unit but there would be a need for specialist management control to assist this age group.  There was a plan in place to build such a provision but there issue was how to gain funding as bidding for grants would be on a regional basis.

It was understood that the problems faced by 16 and 17 year olds was a national problem as a result of national legislation.  The Housing Team were in dialogue with the CLG (Anita please put in what CLG stands for – ta) around this issue.  Registered Social Landlords were reluctant to offer tenancies to young people and required rent guarantors.  The Housing Team were investigating other options to tackle this problem and ensure that young people were housed.

Discussions were always taking place with Social Services who had a responsibility for this age group and some may have just come out of care and require housing.  These were vulnerable young people and there needed to be a mechanism of transfer from Social Services to living independently.  There were protocols in place but these needed to be built upon.  Senior Officers from Social Services would be meeting Senior Officers from this Housing Team to discuss this issue and if it was felt that the issue was not resolved then a representative from Social Services would be invited to a Panel meeting.  It was suggested that if a representative were to come they should be provided with a list of questions to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 46 KB

To receive the Work Programme and note any amendments.


The Scrutiny Officer took Members through the work programme and meeting schedule, as detail in the report.  The following changes to the work programme were noted:-

·              PFI Review of the Leisure Centres – September 2007

·              Impact of the Re-organisation on the new PCTs – September 2007


Members agreed that the Emergency Planning Team should be requested to present what plans were in place for emergencies such as flooding.  It was suggested that the Scrutiny Commission may wish to discuss this issue although the Panel were willing to include this matter in their Work Programme.


RESOLVED that the Overview and Scrutiny Commission be requested to add the issue of Emergency Planning either to their own Work Programme or to the Work Programme of Panel 3.


Next Meeting

To arrange the future meetings of Policy Development and Review Panel 3.


It was noted that the future meetings of the Policy Development and Review Panel 3 would be as follows:-


Tuesday, 11 September 2007 at 10.00 am at Swaffham Assembly Rooms

Tuesday, 16 October 2007 at 9.30 am with a site visit to the Healthy Living Centre with the meeting commencing at 10.30 am at Town Council Chamber, Thetford

Tuesday, 28 November 2007 at 10.00 am at Elizabeth House, Dereham