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Contact: Emma Denny Email: Emma.Denny@north-norfolk.gov.uk
In memory of Paul Neale
Members are requested to observe a one minute silence in memory of Paul Neale, a member of staff who sadly passed away on 7th August 2022.
The Chairman opened the meeting by asking members to observe a minute’s silence in memory of Paul Neale, a much loved member of staff who had died suddenly on 7th August. She also asked members to keep Her Majesty the Queen in their thoughts, following her recent passing.
Apologies for Absence
To receive apologies for absence, if any.
Apologies were received from:
Cllrs A Fitch-Tillett, V Gay, V FitzPatrick, C Heinink, N Housden, N Lloyd, G Perry-Warnes, E Spagnola, J Toye and A Yiasimi
To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 27 July 2022.
The minutes of the meeting held on 27 July 2022, were agreed 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.
TO RECEIVE DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS FROM MEMBERS PDF 721 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 (see attached guidance and flowchart)
To receive the Chairman’s communications, if any.
The Chairman spoke about civic events that she had attended since the last meeting of Full Council:
- 2nd September – Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Annual Summer Reception, Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse
- 4th September – NNDC Chairman’s Civic Reception, Southern Comfort Mississippi River Boat
- 11th September – North Norfolk District Council, reading of the proclamation
- 18th September – memorial service for Her Majesty the Queen, St Mary’s Church, Stalham
- 28th September – Mayor of Great Yarmouth’s civic reception, Hirst’s Farm Shop & Café
- 2nd October – Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association Harvest Festival Service, Norwich Cathedral
The Chairman finished by reminding members that she was holding a quiz night at Stalham Town Hall on 22 October to raise funds for her two nominated charities.
To receive any announcements from the Leader.
The Leader, Cllr T Adams, began by saying that it had been a very difficult period for the Council and beyond. He paid tribute to Paul Neale and said that his thoughts were with his family, his friends and his colleagues. He was greatly missed.
He went onto speak about the many commemorative events held across the District for Her Majesty the Queen and the very special proclamation ceremony for King Charles III. He thanked the Corporate PA team for their excellent work in supporting this.
The Leader then said, that along with many Members, he had been moved by recent events in Pakistan and Ukraine. He said that he had learnt recently that North Norfolk had the second highest number of Ukrainian guests in the County, which residents should be proud of.
Cllr Adams then commented on the recent increase in the number of missed bin collections being reported. He said that this was due to a change to the rounds to improve efficiency and reduce the number of journeys back to the depot. With an increase in housing growth in the District, it was good practice to review the routes for the collection lorries and ensure that journey times were maximised. He acknowledged that there had been some issues due to several new drivers having to familiarise themselves with the routes and a delay to some collections following the bank holiday for the funeral of Her Majesty the Queen. He reassured members that things were starting to improve and he was hoping to join one of the crews soon to see what the role involved and so he could better understand the challenges that they faced.
The Leader then thanked the Council’s Legal team, for their recent successes including good results for several legal challenges. He also commended the Estates Team, which had worked very hard to complete the sale of Parklands, near Fakenham.
He concluded by congratulating Cllr J Punchard on his recent promotion to Station Manager for the Norfolk Fire Service.
Public Questions and Statements
To consider any questions or statements received from members of the public.
Appointments to Committees, sub-committees, working parties and outside bodies
To approve any changes to appointments to committees, sub-committees, working parties and outside bodies, as advised by the Group Leaders.
The Leader informed Full Council of the following change to Outside Body appointments:
Cllr H Blathwayt to replace Cllr Dr C Stockton as a substitute on the Wash & North Norfolk Coast Marine Special Area of Conservation Management Group and Coastal Partnership East.
To receive reports from Cabinet Members on their portfolios.
Members are reminded that they may ask questions of the Cabinet Member on their reports and portfolio areas but should note that it is not a debate.
No member may ask more than one question plus a supplementary question, unless the time taken by members’ questions does not exceed 30 minutes in total, in which case, second questions will be taken in the order that they are received (Constitution, Chapter 2, part 2, section 12.2)
Cabinet members (listed alphabetically):
Cllr T Adams (Leader / Executive Support)
Cllr A Brown – Planning & Enforcement
Cllr A Fitch-Tillett – Coast
Cllr W Fredericks – Housing & Benefits
Cllr V Gay – Leisure, Culture & Wellbeing
Cllr R Kershaw – Sustainable Growth
Cllr N Lloyd – Environment
Cllr E Seward – Finance, Assets & Legal
Cllr L Shires – Organisational Resources
The Chairman asked Cabinet members if they wished to provide an oral update to their reports. Cllr E Seward informed members that the 2019/2020 final accounts were now completed and signed off by the Governance, Risk & Audit Committee and the Council’s external auditor.
The Chairman invited members to ask questions:
Cllr P Heinrich asked Cllr A Brown how much extra work was being generated for planning officers by the Government, due to mixed messages, lack of clarity on the future planning policy and the many issues around nutrient neutrality. Cllr Brown, Portfolio Holder for Planning, replied that there were significant challenges. They had begun with the White Paper issued in 2020. These had been effectively abandoned, and local authorities were still awaiting updated guidance. The Council’s planning team continued to work very hard to serve the public and planning decisions remained above the national standard set for planning authorities. Cllr Brown said that the nutrient neutrality issue had placed additional challenges on officers and the reintroduction of investment zones would add further pressure. There was some positive news regarding nutrient neutrality. Royal Haskoning, consultants to the Norfolk Authorities, had recently undertaken an audit and were due to announce revisions to the original boundaries set out by Natural England, with some key areas being excluded in the future. Cllr Brown concluded by saying that the Council was hoping to move to the next stage for progressing the Local Plan in early 2023, when there would be a clearer idea of how nutrient neutrality would impact on the District going forwards.
Cllr G Mancini-Boyle asked about the joint venture between Natural England and Anglian Water regarding a mitigation plan. He asked for more information about what the Council was doing to try and address the problems caused by nutrient neutrality. Cllr Brown replied that the Natural England calculator would add approximately £5000 to each new dwelling. The auditing and calculation measures brought in by the Council’s own consultants would reduce this by between 30 – 50% which would have a huge impact on affordable housing in particular. He said that he understood that Natural England would accept the revised calculator as it was evidenced based.
Cllr Dr V Holliday asked the Portfolio Holder for Environment how the Council was intending to work with Serco (the Council’s waste collection provider) to improve customer service following the introduction of changes to the waste collection rounds. She said that two residents had contacted her to say that their waste had not been collected since the change-over date, despite several emails to customer services. She said that she had raised the matter of customer services at the recent member briefing and was told that additional training would be put in place. She sought reassurance that the situation would improve soon. In Cllr Lloyd’s absence, the Leader requested more information from Cllr Dr Holliday so that he could look into it and provide a full written response.
Cllr N Dixon said that he wished to put a ... view the full minutes text for item 64.
Recommendations from Cabinet 06 September 2022 PDF 316 KB
The following recommendations were made by Cabinet to Full Council at the meeting held on 6th September:
a) Agenda item 9: Outturn Report 2021/2022
To recommend the following to Full Council:
1. The provisional outturn position for the General Fund revenue account for 2021/22;
2. The transfers to and from reserves as detailed within the report (and appendix C) along with the corresponding updates to the 2022/23 budget;
3. Allocate the surplus of £615,740 to the General Reserve;
4. The financing of the 2021/22 capital programme as detailed within the report and at Appendix D;
5. The balance on the General Reserve of £2.33 million;
6. The updated capital programme for 2022/23 to 2025/26 and scheme financing as outlined within the report and detailed at Appendix E;
7. The roll-forward requests as outline in Appendix G are approved.
b) Budget Monitoring 2022/2023 – Period 4
To recommend to Full Council that £130,000 is released from the Major Repairs reserve to increase the existing capital budget for Fakenham Connect
c) Treasury Management Annual Report 2021/2022
To recommend that Council be asked to resolve that the Treasury Management Annual Report for 2021/22 is approved.
d) Debt Recovery 2021/2022
To recommend to Council the approval of the annual report giving details of the Council’s write-offs in accordance with the Council’s Debt Write-Off Policy and performance in relation to revenues collection.
The following recommendations were made by Cabinet to Full Council:
1. Outturn Report 2021/2022
It was proposed by Cllr E Seward, seconded by Cllr P Heinrich and
RESOLVED to approve:
a) The provisional outturn position for the General Fund revenue account for 2021/22;
b) The transfers to and from reserves as detailed within the report (and appendix C) along with the corresponding updates to the 2022/23 budget;
c) Allocate the surplus of £615,740 to the General Reserve;
d) The financing of the 2021/22 capital programme as detailed within the report and at Appendix D;
e) The balance on the General Reserve of £2.33 million;
f) The updated capital programme for 2022/23 to 2025/26 and scheme financing as outlined within the report and detailed at Appendix E;
g) The roll-forward requests as outline in Appendix G are approved.
One member abstained.
2. Budget Monitoring 2022/2023 – Period 4
It was proposed by Cllr E Seward, seconded by Cllr L Shires and
That £130,000 is released from the Major Repairs reserve to increase the existing capital budget for Fakenham Connect.
Cllr J Rest voted against. One member abstained.
3. Treasury Management Annual Report 2021/2022
It was proposed by Cllr E Seward, seconded by Cllr R Kershaw and
To approve the Treasury Management Annual Report 2021/2022
One member abstained.
4. Debt Recovery 2021/2022
It was proposed by Cllr E Seward, seconded by Cllr P Heinrich and
To approve the annual report giving details of the Council’s write-offs in accordance with the Council’s Debt Write-Off Policy and performance in relation to revenues collection.
Recommendations from the Overview & Scrutiny Committee 28th September 2022
The meeting of Overview & Scrutiny Committee was rescheduled and took place on 28th September – after the Full Council agenda was published. The Chairman will provide a verbal update on any recommendations.
The Chairman of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee, Cllr N Dixon, informed Council that all of the Cabinet recommendations had been considered by the Committee at the meeting on 28th September and no further recommendations were made.
Community Governance Review PDF 428 KB
Following a request from Trunch Parish Council, North Norfolk District Council has agreed to undertake a Community Governance Review within the parish to consider a reduction in the number of seats on the Parish Council from eleven to seven.
That Trunch Parish Council be reduced to a membership of nine (9) which would better reflect the size of its electorate and is within the same range as other councils which also have nine seats (as shown in the attached appendix).
Contact Officer, telephone number and email:
Rob Henry. X6327, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Chief Executive introduced this item. He explained that, following a request from Trunch Parish Council, NNDC had agreed to undertake a Community Governance Review within the parish to consider a reduction in the number of seats on the parish Council from eleven to seven. He said that, having undertaken a comparison with other parishes with a similar number of electors (885) that it would be more appropriate to reduce the number of seats to nine rather than seven.
Cllr G Hayman, local member for Trunch, said that he was supportive of the proposals. He said that he was aware that the parish council was struggling to fill vacancies and that he had a wider concern that more effort needed to be made to encourage people to serve on parish councils. The Chief Executive thanked him for his comments and said that the Council’s Democratic Services Team had recently held two events to encourage people to stand as candidates in the District Elections in 2023. He had also written to parish and town council clerks advising them of their obligation to encourage people to put themselves forward and to promote the local elections in the coming months. In addition, the Council’s Town and Parish Council Engagement Forum had also outlined the assistance that could be offered to clerks who required support in this area.
Cllr H Blathwayt said that it was incumbent on all members to attend parish council meetings as doing so increased the relevance of elected representatives.
Cllr G Hayman asked whether the Council had a statutory duty to hold prospective candidates’ events, and if not, whether they were a good use of officer resource given the financial pressures on the Council. He then referred to the impact of ‘sectional’ behaviour in some parishes which was causing problems and in some cases, forcing people to leave. The Chief Executive replied that there was no legislative requirement to hold them but the Council chose to do so as it gave anyone who was not aligned to a political party the opportunity to find out more about the process.
It was proposed by Cllr G Hayman, seconded by Cllr R Kershaw and
That Trunch Parish Council be reduced to a membership of nine (9) which would better reflect the size of its electorate and is within the same range as other councils which also have nine seats (as shown in the attached appendix to the report)
Questions Received from Members
Notice(s) of Motion PDF 133 KB
Please note that there is a total time limit of 30 minutes for this item – as set out in the Constitution, Chapter 2, paragraph 14.11
(For Motions 2 and 3, additional supporting information is provided at pages 171 – 178)
The following Notices of Motion have been received:
1. Freezing of Council Tax
‘The Independent Group at NNDC is putting forward this motion to the Leader of the District Council.
We are seeking your cooperation in helping to ease the social and financial problems that our residents are, or will be, facing over the coming year.
We are asking you to give consideration to freezing the 2023 council tax, when the financial planning procedure commences.
We feel this could offer comfort for residents to know that at least one financial payment will not be increased along with those we have no control over ( Utilities, General taxation, Interest rates ).
We fully appreciate that any commitment may be affected by edicts from the government preventing the freezing of council tax.
We are also seeking your assurance that this Authority will continue to look at ways that will help our more vulnerable residents at this time and into the forthcoming winter months’.
Cllr John Rest, (Independent Group Leader) PROPOSER
Cllr Jeremy Punchard, SECONDER
2. This Council notes that families and individuals in our district face a cost-of-living crisis.
‘People are facing rising food, energy and fuel prices, and increases that affect mortgage and rent payments.
People living in rural areas, like ours, are disproportionately affected by fuel price increases because of the lack of public transport and longer distances to reach work, education and health services.
North Norfolk has the oldest population in the country which means a larger number of people who are on fixed income pensions, are being specifically affected.
As a Council, we want to do everything within our means to support our residents during this extremely difficult time.
We therefore propose the following:
Council RESOLVES to:
1. Thank our officers for the additional work already being done support residents amid this crisis
2. To hold a ‘Cost of Living Summit’, the outcome of which will be reported to Cabinet, along with any recommendations
3. To ask the Leader and Chief Executive to explore various options for providing additional support to our residents
4. To ask the Leader to write to relevant government ministers and our local MPs to ask for urgent action to relieve the cost-of-living crisis through such measures’
Proposed by Cllr L Shires, seconded by Cllr V Gay
3. Sewage Outflows Data
‘Following a Liberal Democrat motion to Full Council, Anglian Water attended Overview & Scrutiny Committee earlier this year to explain the current situation in regard to combined sewage outflows into our waterways and bathing sites and how they intended to address this problem.
Members were positive that progress was being made when Anglian Water confirmed they were bringing forward their plan for the incorporation of water monitoring equipment at these potential sewage ... view the full agenda text for item 70.
The Chairman began by reminding members that there was a total of 30 minutes for motions. Three motions had been submitted and she suggested allocating ten minutes for each.
1. Freezing of Council Tax
Cllr J Rest introduced the motion. He said that it was self-explanatory, and it was important to give residents some assurance that the Council was trying to ease the financial pressures that many of them faced. Cllr J Punchard seconded the motion. He said that the Independent Group was seeking a commitment from the Administration to support the motion. The only caveat would be if there was an order from the Government for councils to raise council tax to increase revenue. He requested a recorded vote.
Cllr E Seward, Portfolio Holder for Finance, responded. He said that the motion was simply asking the Administration to give consideration to freezing council tax when the financial planning procedure commenced and he was therefore supportive. He added that it was certainly an approach that the Administration aspired to, as demonstrated by their decision to freeze council tax in 2021. Cllr Seward reminded Members that the amount raised directly by NNDC via council tax was less than 10 pence in every pound, so the proposals would have a limited impact on the Council’s revenue. He concluded by saying that meeting this aspiration would depend to a large extent on the financial settlement from central government.
Cllr C Cushing said that he was supportive of the motion and the Conservative Group had opposed previous council tax increases by the Administration and his group had frozen it for seven years. Cllr Seward responded that a Government grant had been provided to enable local authorities to freeze council tax previously.
Cllr Hayman sought clarification on whether the motion could be put forward at this time as it was not during the budget setting process. The Chief Executive replied that the motion was requesting that consideration should be given when the budget setting process began. It was not requesting a clear commitment at this time.
It was proposed by Cllr J Rest, seconded by Cllr J Punchard and
To give consideration to freezing the 2023 council tax, when the financial planning procedure commences.
That the Authority will continue to look at ways that will help more vulnerable residents at this time and into the forthcoming winter months.
2. Cost of Living Crisis
Cllr L Shires introduced the motion. She said that people were currently very anxious as to how they were going to get through the winter with escalating costs across the board. Many of them were having to choose between eating and heating. She said that the situation was unprecedented. There were four simple steps set out in the supporting statement to the motion and she encouraged members to support them.
Cllr W Fredericks, seconded the motion and reserved her right to speak.
Cllr C Cushing said that there was much to commend the motion and his group was supportive of all ... view the full minutes text for item 70.
Exclusion of 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 item(s) of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph(s) _ of Part 1 of Schedule 12A (as amended) to the Act.”