Agenda item

Land at Fairfields, in Thetford (Agenda item 16)

Report of Mark Kiddle-Morris, Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development.

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development presented the report which concerned the proposed disposal of land at Fairfields, Thetford to Norfolk County Council to allow the expansion of the Drakes Infants School.

 

The Executive Member for Communications, Organisational Performance & Development was in support of the proposal.  He mentioned the recent report issued by the Local Government Association stating the amount of school places that would be needed in future.

 

Councillor Kybird informed Members of the local opposition to the proposal in relation to parking concerns and the severe deficit of public open space in this particular Ward.  The local residents group was campaigning for funding to enhance an adjacent area and he asked if some of the monies received from Norfolk County Council could be awarded to this group for this purpose.

 

Councillor Armes supported the aforementioned comments as she herself had also received many calls of concern from local residents.  She quoted the deficit of play areas/open space in Thetford and asked if Members were mindful to approve the recommendation, that a clause be included allowing the public to use the open space when the school was closed.  The parking issue also needed further discussion.  In response, the Chairman advised that many of these matters of concern were Norfolk County Council’s responsibility.

 

Referring to the local residents group in relation to monies for the adjacent land, the Executive Member for Planning, Building Control & Housing felt that the group should do what other communities did and raise their own money or apply for grants through the normal process. She did not agree with the point about the lack of open space as all Thetford residents lived next door to one of the biggest open spaces in the Breckland area, Thetford Forest.

 

The Executive Member for Communications, Organisational Performance & Development felt that all Councillors should know by now how the system worked and although all the issues raised were important points, the community should work with Norfolk County Council, Breckland Council and the Parish Council to get these issues resolved.  He agreed that all issues were crucial but not all could be addressed by Breckland Council and suggested to Councillor Armes that she should work with her community groups and the County.

 

Councillor Kybird mentioned an Ombudsman case from the Local Lawyer magazine about how a Councillor had been found not to be following good practice in relation to open space.

 

Councillor Duigan pointed out that, if approved, and as the land was adopted local open space, Norfolk County Council would have to demonstrate offering a further open space contribution instead.

 

Options

 

  1. Agree to the disposal of both areas of land to Norfolk County Council for the sum of £35,000.  The land to be sold subject to an uplift clause reserving Breckland Council 40% of any increase in value arising from the grant of planning consent for alternative use or development of the site.

 

  1. Do not agree to the disposal of the land and seek to continue to negotiate a higher value.

 

  1. Do not undertake any further negotiations or action and retain the land.

 

Reasons

 

See report.

 

RESOLVED  that the two areas of land adjacent to the Drakes Infant School at Fairfields in Thetford be transferred to Norfolk County Council for the sum of £35,000; subject to, an uplift clause reserving Breckland Council 40% of any increase in value arising from the grant of planning consent for alternative use or development of the site.

Supporting documents: