Questions without Notice under Standing Order No 7 (Agenda item 7)
As it was National Tree Week, Councillor Dowling directed her question to Councillor Alison Webb, the Executive Member for Housing, Health & Environment. Councillor Dowling explained that doubling tree cover across the UK could draw down 50m tonnes of carbon dioxide and asked what the Council was doing to double its tree cover on council land and also asked for assurance that tree planting would form part of the Council’s Climate Change Strategy. In response, Councillor Webb stated that she would be looking into this matter and would provide an update in due course.
Councillor Stuart Terry asked the Leader if Breckland Council would honour the school children for their ‘A Kind of Magic Flute’ performance at the Royal Albert Hall. Year six pupils from Drake Primary School, Church of England Primary School and Admirals Academy in Thetford had performed at the world famous venue as part of the Music for Youth proms.
The Leader felt that it must have been awe aspiring for the children to perform at the Royal Albert Hall and he would definitely discuss this with the Chairman and come up with some ideas.
The Leader of the Labour Group, Councillor Terry Jermy wanted to know what had been achieved with the money spent on BreckWorld. The Leader pointed out that it was difficult to tell as yet but Breckworld was now available on all platforms including android, and he would be attending a meeting with the Director of Norfolk Zoology very soon to discuss the impact from the October half term and the summer season and how BreckWorld had contributed and until then he was unsure of the benefit. He believed; however, that the monies allocated from the New Homes bonus towards BreckWorld was money well spent.
Councillor James wanted to convey her thanks to the Facilities Team for the refurbishment of School Lane car park in Thetford. A letter of gratitude from residents who had recently moved to the area was read aloud. The Leader endorsed the aforementioned comments, Breckland Council spent a great deal of money on its car parks and he was pleased that the residents and the communities were satisfied with the work that had taken place.
Councillor Harvey mentioned the 38 street lights in Thetford that had previously been reported and had not as, far as he was aware, been fixed. He asked the Leader if he would commit to looking into this matter to get them repaired sooner rather than later. The Leader stated that half the street lights belonged to Norfolk County Council. He was aware that these street lights had been reported but he would raise the matter again with Councillor Hewett, the Executive Member for Contracts & Assets and ensure that these were dealt with accordingly.
Councillor Clarke directed his question to the Leader. He asked if ShopAppy had experienced significant activity with the run up to Christmas. Members were informed that the Twelve Elves of Christmas had recently been launched, it was on the website and had been linked to the shops that had signed up to the App. Coverage of the App was included in the recent Transforming Breckland magazine. He would check with the Team to make sure that there was no outages on the ShopAppy site and he would gladly write back to all Members on the current position.
Following on from Councillor Dowling’s question regarding trees, Councillor Wickerson had received several emails from residents of Swaffham regarding National Tree Week and the Council having previously declared a Climate Change Emergency. He wanted assurance that this matter would appear on the agenda as originally planned for January 2020 so Members could start to address this very important issue.
The Leader quoted Policy ENV 02 from the emerging Local Plan that incorporated biodiversity protection and enhancement to the environment. Adopting the Local Plan was a real opportunity for Members and Officers to move forward and address these issues. Free trees were available through The Woodland Trust and in relation to Council owned land these matters would all be taken into account via the emerging Local Plan.
Councillor Brindle mentioned an urgent housing matter and directed his question to Councillor Webb. Councillor Webb was unable to respond as she was unaware of this particular case and asked Councillor Brindle to contact her directly and she would investigate and respond accordingly.
Councillor Wilkinson announced that Iceni Partnership had taken delivery of a number of free trees.