Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 21st April, 2021 9.30 am

Venue: remotely via Zoom. View directions

Contact: Matthew Stembrowicz  Email:

No. Item


To Receive Apologies for Absence


None received.






Public Questions & Statements

To receive questions / statements from the public, if any.


None received.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 342 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 24th March 2021.


Minutes of the meeting held on 24th March 2020 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Items of Urgent Business

To determine any other items of business which the Chairman decides should be considered as a matter of urgency pursuant to Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.


None received.


Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 233 KB

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests that they may have in any of the following items on the agenda. The Code of Conduct for Members requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest.


None declared.


Petitions From Members of the Public

To consider any petitions received from members of the public.


None received.


Consideration of Any Matter Referred to the Committee by a Member

To consider any requests made by non-executive Members of the Council, and notified to the Monitoring Officer with seven clear working days’ notice, to include an item on the agenda of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.


None received.


Responses of the Council or the Cabinet to the Committee's Reports or Recommendations

To consider any responses of the Council or the Cabinet to the Committee’s reports or recommendations:


At the meeting held on 12th April 2021, Cabinet RESOLVED to accept the following recommendation:


North Norfolk District Council - Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2021-2025


That the Strategy, or Policy, is progressed through the next stages of development, subject to the consideration of amendments suggested by the Overview & Scrutiny Committee.




The Chairman noted that the recommendation made in relation the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy had been accepted by Cabinet. The DSGOS added that the recommendation from the Item 8 discussion on the loss of affordable homes had been accepted by the Assistant Director for Planning, and a report would be prepared for the June Development Committee and PPBH Working Party meetings.






























































Options considered:

This report details the actions taken by North Norfolk District Council in responding to the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic at a strategic, local and organisational level over the period December 2020 - March 2021.  Actions taken are outlined in the report.


These include:-


  • monitoring and responding to the rising number of local cases of COVID in the District during December 2020 and January 2021;
  • making payments of COVID business grants in respect of the Tier 4 lockdown in Norfolk from 26th December 2020 and then the third national lockdown from 4th January 2021;
  • supporting local health partners roll out delivery of the vaccine programme across North Norfolk;
  • development of advice and support for the staged re-opening of local businesses as per the national roadmap from 12th April, 17th May and 21st June;
  • preparing the District for the forthcoming visitor season through refreshing our “You are Welcome” reassurance programme, supported by social distancing measures, fogging of public toilets and other assets so as to provide as safe an environment for local residents and visitors as possible;
  • holding conversations with the Council’s staff about New Ways of Working beyond COVID capturing the benefits of remote working through maintaining customer service provision over the internet and telephone, whilst re-opening the offices to personal callers
  • participation in the Marie Curie National Day of Reflection by lighting up Cromer Pier in yellow lights;
  • holding discussions with the Norfolk Public Health Team to develop and deliver a programme of surveillance testing for local businesses over the coming months
  • continued to support twice weekly mobile testing facilities on Council car parks in Cromer, Fakenham and from early February in North Walsham
  • continued to participate in regular meetings of the Norfolk Health Protection Board and Norfolk Health Engagement Board arrangements which are monitoring, reviewing and responding to local outbreaks of Coronavirus in the county and in preparing for Recovery as lockdown restrictions are lifted in the coming months.


The Council’s response to the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic has been led through regular meetings of its Local Co-ordination Group civil contingency arrangements which has considered options dynamically based on data on local case numbers and Government statements and announcements





The report details the actions taken by the District Council during the period December 2020 – end of March 2021 in responding to the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic, including supporting our local communities and businesses during the extended third all-England lockdown and working with partners to support delivery of the local vaccination programme and in preparing the District for the forthcoming visitor season which is expected to be very busy with large numbers of staycation and day visitors.











Reasons for



Cabinet is asked to note and comment upon the Council’s actions during the period December 2020 – end of March 2021 in responding to the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic, including supporting businesses during the extended third all-England lockdown, working with partners to support delivery of the local vaccination programme and preparing the District  ...  view the full agenda text for item 178.


The CE introduced the report and informed Members that it covered the period from December 2020 to the end of March 2021, during which infection rates had been very high at 442 cases per 100k. He added that infection rates had now reduced to approximately 14 cases per 100k and that the rate of vaccination in North Norfolk was very high, likely as a result of the demographics of the District. The CE noted that during the third lockdown there had been less requirement for community support from the Council, though focus had instead been placed on the payment and administration of Covid support grants. He added that the Council had paid in excess of £30m since January 2021, and the sum total of grants paid now stood at £118m, with 28k more payments processed in comparison to a normal year. The CE asked to record his thanks to the Revenues, Economic Growth and IT Teams for facilitating the caseload. It was noted that a further report on distributing the remaining funds was being prepared for review by Full Council. The CE noted that whilst the prospects for foreign travel remained unclear, a busy summer season was expected for the District, and preparations were under way to address this.


Questions and Discussion


       i.          Cllr N Housden asked whether there would be any benefit in asking Council staff to begin regular testing for Covid as they began to return to the office. The CE replied that is was possible for employees to access tests through NCC, and noted that anyone was now able to register for twice weekly lateral flow testing. He added that discussions were also taking place between HR and Public Health Norfolk to offer staff these tests on a regular basis. It was noted that Polling Staff had also been advised that tests should be taken in advance of the election, though this would not be mandatory.


      ii.          The Chairman asked for a brief assessment of the current impact on Council services caused by Covid-19. The CE replied that at present the impact was relatively low, as the redeployments seen at the start of the pandemic had mostly come to an end. He added that during the initial stages there had also been issues relating to limited bandwidth, which had restricted the ability for all Council staff to work from home simultaneously, though this had been resolved. It was noted that whilst the majority of staff continued to work from home in line with Government guidance, service levels had returned to normal. The CE stated that Covid Advisors were also in place to support visitors, residents and businesses, with additional posts funded by the Controlling Outbreak Management Fund. He added that last year’s Opening up the High Street fund had been renewed for 2021 as the Welcome Back fund, by MHCLG. It was noted that some redeployment had been required to prepare for the upcoming election. The CE stated that consultation was in progress with staff to determine  ...  view the full minutes text for item 178.








Options considered:

This report outlines opportunities presented to North Norfolk through the Government’s new UK Community Renewal and Levelling Up programmes and outlines how the Council might seek to position itself to take advantage of theseopportunities.


It is considered that these new funding programmes present opportunities to secure external funding for the District to support the Council’s Corporate Plan objectives through the Council acting in its community leadership role. Alternatively, the Council could leave it to other local stakeholders to develop project proposals but it is believed that this might not realise the full benefits of a more co- ordinated approach proposed by the Council as outlined in thereport.



The Council should seek to adopt a strategic leadership role in seeking to co-ordinate the development of a programme of projects at North Walsham and Fakenham for submission to Government under the UK Community Renewal and, as appropriate, the Levelling Up Fund programmes





























Reasons for Recommendations:













Cabinet is askedto:-


·     note the opportunities presented to North Norfolk by the new UK Community Renewal and Levelling Upprogrammes

·     endorse the proposals made that a programme of complementary projects be developed in respect of the future planned growth of North Walsham and Fakenham as sustainable locations for future housing and business development at scale supported by provision of key transport, health, education community and green infrastructure and submitted to the County Council as lead body for endorsement and onward submission to theGovernment

·     to agree that in developing any proposals the Council establishes a Strategic Stakeholder Board and Steering Groups for North Walsham and Fakenham to support project development and oversee programmedelivery








To realise opportunities to secure UK Government fundinginto NorthNorfolk tosupport investmentin

projects which meet priorities outlined in the Council’s Corporate Plan as they relate toprovision of housing, economic growth, environment and climate change and quality of life.


(Papers relied on to write the report, which do not contain exempt information and which are not published elsewhere)



Cabinet Member(s)

Cllr Sarah Butikofer, Leader of the Council

Ward(s) affected


Contact Officer, telephone number and email:

Steve Blatch, Chief Executive

Email:- Tel:- 01263 516232



Cllr E Seward - Portfolio Holder for Finance and Assets introduced the report and informed Members that work was progressing quickly, as arrangements had to be in place with bids submitted by mid-June. The CE stated that the fund had been announced on 3rd March to provide an opportunity for the District as a priority area to support investment in skills, businesses and supporting people into employment. He added that it was a revenue fund, and the maximum the Council could bid for was £3m, with a requirement for funds to be spent by Mach 2022. It was noted that there were challenges in developing plans and spending those funds within an eight month period, though it was still believed that the Council could use the funding to advance opportunities at the urban extensions in Fakenham and North Walsham. The CE reported that proposals had to be submitted to NCC by 14th May, then finalised bids would need to be submitted to Central Government by 14th June. He added that the process would involve the creation of a Strategic Stakeholder Board, and a Steering Group in both Fakenham and North Walsham, with arrangements being made for these groups to meet in the coming weeks. It was noted that NCC were also developing County-wide proposals that could be considered alongside the District proposals.


Questions and Discussion


       i.          Cllr A Brown stated that he welcomed the funding, but had concerns that rural areas were being overlooked as a result of the Government’s methodology, and that issues could arise with match-funding. He asked whether the Shared Prosperity Fund planned for 2022 might address these issues. The CE replied that whilst the fund was a great opportunity for the District, £3m wouldn’t cover all areas, and as a result North Walsham and Fakenham were seen as central locations that provided a significant number of jobs and services to residents of the wider District. He added that they were also areas designated for future growth and development, and funding was required to support this growth in a sustainable manner. The CE stated that the Shared Prosperity Fund was expected to provide greater funding opportunities, at which time more support may be available for more rural locations.


      ii.          Cllr C Cushing stated that he welcomed the funding as Fakenham often received less than what was allocated to other towns.


     iii.          Cllr E Seward stated that he did understand the concerns raised regarding rural locations, and suggested that the Council would continue to look for future investment opportunities for these areas. He added that the Community Renewal Fund would enable the necessary preparatory work for sustainable growth in North Walsham and Fakenham. It was noted that if towns such as North Walsham were to continue to grow, then there had to be the necessary supporting infrastructure such as link roads, new primary schools, doctors surgeries, drainage and transport connection improvements. Cllr E Seward stated that that historically, in-land towns had suffered from a lack  ...  view the full minutes text for item 179.



















Options considered:

North Norfolk District Council’s (NNDC) Corporate Plan commits to the delivery, and adoption, of an Environmental Charter.


The draft Environmental Charter is based on evidence and views contributed at engagement events and has been formulated with the input of a wide range of officers and members, through a series of workshops. The draft document appended to this report therefore takes into account how the policy will apply to different services areas. Prior to its final approval, adoption and publication, the draft will be shared with external stakeholders via the Environment Forum, and any further feedback will be taken into account.


To endorse the draft Environmental Charter for consultation with the Environment Forum, prior to a revised draft being considered by Cabinet and Council for adoption




The Environmental Charter is an important step in the Council’s approach to dealing with the Climate Change Emergency declared in April 2019. Born out of public and stakeholder proposals garnered at the Council’s ‘Environment Forum’ the Environmental Charter is a public facing document which sets out NNDC’s path towards environmental excellence and a net-zero carbon emissions future.







Reasons for













The recommendation is to endorse the draft Environmental Charter for consultation with the Environment Forum, prior to a revised draft being considered by Cabinet and Council for adoption.


NNDC’s Corporate Plan commits to delivering an Environmental Charter. Once approved the Environmental Charter will become an adopted Council document which will enable this element of the Corporate Plan to be delivered whilst simultaneously reinforcing NNDC’s commitment to addressing the climate change emergency, which it declared in April 2019. Engaging with the Environment Forum will complete the circle of engagement as the concepts within the Charter are derived from input provided at the first Forum workshop.




(Papers relied on to write the report, which do not contain exempt information and which are not published elsewhere)




Cabinet Member:

Cllr Nigel Lloyd


Ward(s) affected:

District Wide

Contact Officer:

Environmental Policy Officer


Additional documents:


Cllr N Lloyd - Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services, Climate Change and Environment introduced the report and thanked officers for their efforts preparing the draft Charter. The EPO stated that following the declaration of a climate emergency, the Council had committed to developing an Environmental Charter, which had been prepared following the employment the Climate Change and Environment Team. It was noted that workshops had been held to consult with staff and Members during the development of the Charter, which sought to outline the rights, aims and principles aims of the organisation. The EPO informed Members that the Charter had been built around three main chapters, the first of which was delivering change across the Council’s own estate, in order to achieve the target of net zero carbon emissions by 2030. The next chapter outlined the Council’s role as a community leader and influencer, in order to support communities in addressing the challenges of climate change. The final chapter focused on supporting individuals, to help residents understand what they could do to help limit the effects of climate change. It was noted that an Environment Forum meeting was scheduled to take place on 23rd April, where the draft Charter would be shared for public consultation. The EPO provided a summary of the remaining points of the Charter, and stated that the recommendation requested that the Committee endorse the document for further consultation, prior to final amendments and approval by Cabinet.


Questions and Discussion


       i.          Cllr H Blathwayt stated that he welcomed the progress on the Charter, and asked whether quarterly updates should be considered to monitor its implementation. The Chairman noted that the progress of implementation would be covered as part of normal performance monitoring. The ADSG stated that an action plan would follow once the Charter was approved, which would contain measurable targets that could be monitored using the InPhase system.


      ii.          Cllr G Mancini-Boyle thanked officers and expressed his support for the Charter, then asked how closely the Environment and Climate Change Officers would work with the Planning Department to achieve its aims. The ADSG replied that the recent restructure had allowed for much closer working with the Planning Department under the Directorate of Place, and it was expected that there would be good cooperation between the officers involved to achieve the aims of the Charter.


     iii.          Cllr L Withington stated that the development of the Charter had been exemplary, and this was clear in the quality of the document. She added that she was also pleased to hear how the restructure would enable the organisation to achieve the aims of the Charter.


    iv.          Cllr N Lloyd stated that he was pleased to see that officers from across the organisation had embraced the green agenda, and had been highly supportive during the development of the Charter. He added that the new Local Plan would be the Council’s greenest ever, and would allow for further development of green policies and innovation in the future, which would make a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 180.


Sheringham Leisure Centre Project Update: April 2021 pdf icon PDF 394 KB

To review and note the update.


Cllr V Gay – Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Wellbeing introduced the report and informed Members that the old facility had now been demolished, and the project remained on budget and on track for the new facility to open in August. It was noted that some Councillors and officers had recently attended a site visit, and that once the tiling of the main pool was complete, fitting out of the facility would begin. Cllr V Gay noted that the Communications Team has prepared short videos to promote the various professions involved in the development of the facility.


The PPO provided a presentation of pictures taken during the most recent site visit, followed by a time lapse video of development.




1.     To receive and note the update.


The Cabinet Work Programme pdf icon PDF 313 KB

To note the upcoming Cabinet Work Programme.


The DSGOS informed Members that as a result of taking reports as pre-scrutiny items, there was no significant upcoming reports to consider in the immediate future. He added that items such as the apprenticeship scheme could be worthy of consideration, if Members were supportive.


The DSM stated that due to time constraints, the Additional Restrictions Grant report would go to Full Council on 28th April, as opposed to Cabinet. She added that the Solar Car Port report listed on the Cabinet Work Programme was now expected to come forward later in the year.




To note the Cabinet Work Programme.


Overview & Scrutiny Work Programme and Update pdf icon PDF 289 KB

To receive an update from the Scrutiny Officer on progress made with topics on its agreed work programme, training updates and to receive any further information which Members may have requested at a previous meeting.

Additional documents:


The DSGOS informed Members that the May meeting would include an Enforcement Board update, and consideration of a draft 2021/22 Work Programme, for which an email would be circulated to request proposals, alongside guidance on topic selection. He added that officers were also in the process of arranging a briefing on the new Safer Norfolk Strategy, and it was hoped this could take place at the May meeting, though it remained to be confirmed. The Chairman added that historically District’s had their own Community Safety Partnerships, though these had been merged into a County-wide Partnership. Therefore reviewing the new strategy would coincide with the Committee’s recent review of crime and disorder.




To note the Work Programme.


Exclusion of the Press and Public

To pass the following resolution, if necessary:


“That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph _ of Part I of Schedule 12A (as amended) to the Act.”