Questions on Notice under Standing Order No 6 (Agenda item 6)
- Meeting of This meeting will be streamed live. The link can be found on the Agenda frontsheet and the Reports Pack below, Council, Thursday, 21st January, 2021 10.00 am (Item 7/21)
This item was discussed following agenda item 3.
The Questions on Notice including the responses had been circulated to all Members prior to the meeting (see attached).
The three Members who submitted the questions were invited to ask one supplementary question in accordance with the Council’s Constitution, as follows:
Councillor Birt raised a concern in respect of the questions and responses not being included on the agenda and therefore not being available to the public. He then asked Councillor Hewett, the Executive Member for Contracts & Assets to disclose the exact value of the Council’s investment, the Green Britain Centre, and to disclose how much money had been lost in this sale.
In response, Councillor Hewett felt that his previous written response had clearly answered the question; however, Breckland Council had disposed of a building, a building that had been an iconic part of the Swaffham skyline. In its prime, it had brought employment, visitors, and income to the town but for the past two years the building had remained empty. During this time, for the past 18 months, the Council had been in discussions with the Town Council developing a vision, a community and leisure offering that would be more suited to the town and to its aspirations. This vision had since been dashed albeit for a positive reason and, as a result of the sale, employment and growth could be offered to the town and an alternative location for the Town Council’s vision would be sought.
Councillor Hewett believed that by sharing resources, as a Council, and as Councillors, and as part of the Breckland wider community, everyone could be a part of that vision for Swaffham and he did not intend to apologise to Councillor Birt for supporting the economic spirations of the town.
Councillor Birt was asked to put any further questions in writing which would be dealt with accordingly.
Councillor Clarke’s supplementary question was in respect of the Chairman’s Panel meetings and the subsequent review. He felt that any discussions or outcomes that took place between the Chairman of the Planning Committee, Officers and the Executive Member for Planning should be shared with Planning Committee Members, this would then provide an opportunity for those Members to put their views forward at the same time.
Councillor Morton asked Councillor Alison Webb, the Executive Member for Housing a supplementary question in respect of the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme. He hoped that the application for funding would be successful as it met the necessary criteria of the scheme. If not, he asked the Executive Member for Housing to confirm if the Council would be in a position to support a further bid through the Local Energy Hub scheme.
In response, Councillor Webb also hoped that the application was successful. She pointed out that every time the Council applied for different funding applications, if unsuccessful, the applications were always looked at again as well as requesting feedback from the relevant bodies. Members were reassured that all schemes that were available that benefited Breckland’s communities were considered and applied for accordingly. Any news/progress on the Green Homes Grant application would be forwarded to Councillor Morton.
Councillor Morton had submitted a second question on notice so was entitled to a put forward a second supplementary question.
He had noted that the Council had a Carbon Audit report due to be released shortly, that would most probably look into the position of charging points and he asked Councillor Sherwood, the Executive Member for Customer Engagement & Member Champion for Breckland Sustainable Strategy if he would take the lead on this that would provide people with the confidence to purchase such vehicles.
Councillor Sherwood thanked Councillor Morton for his question as this provided him with the opportunity to apologise as he had announced at a recent Cabinet meeting that the Carbon Audit report would be sent to Members forthwith. Unfortunately, a number of typographical errors plus some broken links had been spotted in the report and once corrected, would be sent to all Members via email. In respect of charging points, the Team was currently looking at all suitable options in support of the ‘Green’ programme.