Agenda item

Portfolio Reports

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)


To receive reports from Cabinet Members on their portfolios.


Cllr T Adams - Executive Support & Legal Services

Cllr H Blathwayt – Coast

Cllr A Brown – Planning & Enforcement

Cllr W Fredericks – Housing and People Services

Cllr P Heinrich – Sustainable Growth

Cllr C Ringer – IT, Environmental & Waste Services

Cllr L Shires – Finance, Estates & Assets

Cllr A Varley – Climate Change & Net Zero

Cllr L Withington – Community, Leisure & Outreach (Including Health & Wellbeing)



Cllr M Taylor asked Cllr A Brown, Portfolio Holder for Planning, to confirm whether the Council collected fees for giving out pre-application advice. Cllr Brown confirmed that it did.


Cllr J Boyle asked Cllr C Ringer, Portfolio Holder for Environmental and Waste Services for an update on the introduction of a food waste collection service. Cllr Ringer said that the Council was still waiting for confirmation of funding from central Government. To date, only about half of the required funding had been offered. No funding had been allocated for communal waste collection bins or for depots required for the vehicles for possible transfer stations. He added that the Council was having ongoing discussions with DEFRA regarding the provision of evidence that more funding was required. He said that he hoped that progress could be made soon as the Council would like to proceed with food waste collection as soon as possible.


Cllr G Mancini-Boyle asked Cllr A Varley, Portfolio Holder for Climate Change & Net Zero, about the level of reserves set aside to achieve Net Zero by 2030. He said that the Reserves Statement for 2024/25 showed that £500k had been allocated to Net Zero initiatives but given that it had cost £92k to upgrade the lights in the Council Offices, he queried whether this would be enough and also asked if there were business cases for these projects. Cllr Varley replied that the Council remained fully committed to its Net Zero target and confirmed that there would be business cases going forward. Cllr Varley said that although he welcomed the progress already made, substantial projects would be needed to ensure that the ambitious target of achieving Net Zero by 2030 was reached. Projects such as the solar panels at the swimming pool in North Walsham were a good example of this. He added that there was the possibility of leveraging external funding too.  Cllr Mancini-Boyle replied that he felt the Administration’s approach was unrealistic and not achievable. He said it was not possible that £500k a year would cover the cost of de-carbonising the district.


Cllr L Vickers asked Cllr T Adams, Leader, for an update on 9 Norwich Street, Fakenham. She asked when the Administration would stop procrastinating and if they would commit to taking a decision regarding the site by the end of the financial year. Cllr Adams replied that a position had been taken but that the Council did not own the property and it needed to work with the freeholder to secure the site. He added that it was intended that work would be carried out to the front of the building shortly. However, for the reasons just set out, he could not commit to a timescale, adding that it was a very complex case with additional obligations due to its listed status.


Cllr M Batey asked Cllr T Adams, the Leader, for an update on the Banking Hub in Holt. Cllr Adams replied that he was delighted that Holt had been successful in its bid to have a banking hub and he was convinced that it would be busy. The next stage would be to secure a location for the hub in Holt and he added that the Council would continue to explore similar options for the other towns in the district.


Cllr K Bayes asked Cllr A Brown about a recent Freedom of Information request submitted by a resident of Stalham which indicated that a developer of two major sites in the town had received formal written advice from the Council’s Planning Team but had not been charged for it. He asked Cllr Brown to respond to these allegations and whether he would agree to meet with the two ward members to discuss them further. Cllr Brown said that he would provide a written response and if Cllr Bayes and Cllr Taylor were not satisfied with the reply he would meet with them.


Cllr J Toye asked Cllr L Withington, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, about the Fakenham Leisure and Sports Hub and whether there was an update. Cllr Withington replied that there had been several design meetings with architects and stakeholder groups. Officers had also visited a leisure facility in Leicestershire which was a very similar project, in that it had ‘bolted’ a wet facility onto an existing dry facility. The learning from this was being fed back to the design team. Cllr Withington said that pre-tender contract engagement workshops were being set up to ensure local engagement and the provision of local economic benefits too.


Cllr T FitzPatrick said that his ward adjoined Fakenham and residents used the facilities in the town. He said that if nothing was done to address the issues at 9 Norwich Street, would Cllr Adams agree to find the funds to serve a notice to do the work on the owners or pursue a CPO. Cllr Adams reiterated that everything was being done to progress the situation at 9 Norwich Street. He said that a CPO was not a straightforward process and a lot of preparation had to done. He added that the Council had already ensured that the building was structurally sound. The Council could not speak for the landowner and that made it particularly challenging. He said that if local members required any additional information then officers would be happy provide it.


Cllr P Fisher asked Cllr Ringer about the new waste collection rounds that would be coming into effect in the coming months. Cllr Ringer said that the plans were progressing well and that there was a briefing for members on 13th March. Representatives from Serco would be in attendance and each ward member would receive an information pack setting out the changes in their ward. The Communications Team was starting the process for informing residents regarding the changes. He encouraged all members to attend the briefing and ensure that they were informed as possible.


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