Agenda item

Release of Funds - East Harling Wall (Agenda item 10)

Report of the Executive Member for the Economic and Commercial Services Portfolio (Mark Kiddle-Morris).

Minutes:

The Executive Member for the Economic and Commercial Services Portfolio presented the report which sought Cabinet’s approval for the release of monies for the reconstruction of the damaged brick and flint wall at East Harling.  The proposal included the re-use of materials where possible and the removal of adjacent trees and site clearance.

 

He explained that the wall was very important and had been made to collapse by the roots under it, hence the request to remove the adjacent trees.

 

Consultation had taken place with the Council’s Solicitors and Historic Buildings Officer over the legal and planning issues respectively, and a structural survey, together with recommendations for the reconstruction had been obtained from an external Structural Engineer.

 

The wall had fallen onto private property, causing considerable damage to two garden sheds in the rear gardens.  Other options had been considered including providing a brick skin as opposed to flint to help reduce the overall cost; however, the adjacent property owners, having already been inconvenienced for the past six months were opposed to using the plain brick skin on their side of the wall as it would look very different to the rest of the boundary and might de-value their properties.

 

The wall formed a boundary around the perimeter of Grigsons Wood which was part of an ex-Council house estate.  The housing stock was transferred to Peddars Way Housing Association in 1993 and Breckland Council retained the wall and still owned large areas of open space on the estate.

 

The Asset Technical Officer went through the technical details and requested that delegated powers be given to the Chief Executive to accept the lowest quotation and release the monies for the construction.

 

The Executive Member for the Environment and Recycling Portfolio, who was also the Ward Representative for East Harling, was very anxious that these repairs be carried out on the wall as soon as possible.

 

The site was in a conservation area and the Chairman asked for an explanation of what type of works could be carried out within such an area.  He also asked if this was best value for the Council to rebuild as further damage to the remainder of the wall was bound to occur in future.

 

The Asset Technical Officer pointed out that Conservation Area consent would be required for any proposed demolition work.

 

As it was a very long wall and as part of it had collapsed, the Overview & Scrutiny Commission Chairman asked if the Council would be doing anything with the remainder.  He felt that if the whole wall was in the same state of disrepair, would it not be more sensible to take all of the wall down and rebuild with a view to getting the necessary consent.  Members were informed that some sections of the wall particularly along School Lane were continually being repaired.

 

The Vice Chairman understood the aesthetics of keeping the wall repaired along School Lane but the part being debated was out of view.  He asked that the Planning Officer be approached again about taking this piece of damaged wall out and replacing it with something else.

 

The Chief Executive suggested adding the wording to the end of the recommendation: “subject to a review of all the options available being undertaken”.

 

Option 1

 

Give power to the Chief Executive to accept the lowest quotation and release monies for the reconstruction of the damaged brick and flint wall at East Harling, including the re-use of materials where possible, removal of adjacent trees and site clearance - recommended.

 

Option 2

 

To consider this matter at a future Cabinet meeting once the quotations had been received – not recommended as this would prevent the commencement of work following the receipt of the quotations.

 

Option 3

 

Do nothing – not recommended as the Council has a duty to maintain the boundary of the property, as confirmed by the Council’s Solicitors and not supported by the Council’s Historic Buildings Officer.

 

Reasons

 

The Council had a duty to comply with Legal and Planning obligations relating to the site.

 

RESOLVED that delegated powers be given to the Chief Executive, in conjunction with the Executive Member, to accept the lowest quotation (see item 3.2.5 of the report), the monies be released for the construction of the damaged brick & flint wall at East Harling, including the re-use of materials where possible, removal of adjacent trees and site clearance, subject to a review of all the options available being undertaken.

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