Agenda item

CAB88:             Polling District Review

CAB89:             Council Tax Premiums for Long-Term Empty Properties and Second Homes

CAB90:             Whistle Blowing Policy

CAB91:             Designation of a Village Green, South Lynn

CAB93:             Appointment of Honorary Aldermen

CAB96:             Council Companies Funding


Recommendation CAB88: Polling District Review had been withdrawn from this meeting and would be presented at the next meeting.


Councillor Parish moved each of the recommendations, seconded by Councillor Moriarty.


CAB89:             Council Tax Premiums for Long-Term Empty Properties and Second Homes


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Council was informed that recommendation1 and the relevant part of recommendation 3 relating to empty properties would be taken first.


In proposing the recommendation, Councillor Parish referred to the potential figures which could be raised for each precepting body, he referred to discussions with the County Council on apportionment of the funding.  He expressed the hope that those with empty homes would be encouraged to bring them back into use, or sell them so they could be brought back into use by others. 


Councillor Dark referred to the exceptions in the policy such as hardship or probate and asked if it was proposed to maintain those exceptions.  Councillor Moriarty confirmed and drew attention to the exceptions.


Councillor Bone expressed the hope that the policy would encourage more people to sell those properties to provide homes for those who need them.


Councillor Long supported the increase commenting that some kept properties empty deliberately, which then often made the properties a magnet for anti social behaviour and crime. He made reference to issues faced by executors dealing with empty homes.


Councillor Kemp supported the recommendation hoping it would focus owners minds.


Councillor Morley drew attention to the measures in place to check if homes were empty, and the enforcement of the new law.


Councillor Joyce commented on the that generally where children went to school was their home.  He commented on the valuation office writing properties off for Council Tax.


Councillor Rust responded on the stringent checks on  properties before they could be deemed derelict.  She referred to the information contained on the Valuation Office website and undertook to send it to members.


On being put to the vote recommendation 1 and the relevant part of recommendation 3 were agreed.


Councillors Blunt, Lintern and Devulapalli declared pecuniary interests in the remainder of the item and left the meeting during its consideration.


Councillor Parish proposed recommendations 2 3 (remainder of), 4 and 5 of CAB89 Council Tax premiums for Long Term Empty Properties and Second Homes.  This was seconded by Councillor Moriarty.


In proposing the recommendations Councillor Parish drew attention to the potential funding from the decision, and explained that discussions were ongoing with the County Council regarding apportionment of it.  He acknowledged owners would either pay the Council tax, live in them, turn the properties into businesses, or sell them.


Councillor Bone in supporting the recommendations acknowledged it would bring in additional revenue, as too many second homes in a village often caused it to be uninhabited out of season.  He drew attention to the number of neighbourhood plans which  were being agreed with conditions on second homes, and the number of areas which local people could no longer afford to live in.


Councillor Dark announced a free vote for his group on the issue.  He commented that the law was a tool to be used for this rather than a weapon.  He considered the report vague on the benefits of it, and the vast majority of properties were not band D or above.  He had distributed an email from a constituent who drew attention to the fact that while they paid council tax they rarely needed to draw on the County’s services.  He also sought assurance that the additional money raised would to those areas affected.  He also did not think that the County Council would negotiate on the apportionment when the earlier decision taken had cost them in the region of £200,000.


Councillor Morley commented that people could live here, pay the tax or sell their properties.  He acknowledged he used to come on holiday here, but chose to move here full time to give back to the area. 


Councillor Jamieson spoke in support of the recommendations as it would help ease the financial pressures the County Council was under particularly child and adult social services.  He also commented that he was concerned that some second home owners were  prevented from registering to vote.


Councillor Sandell spoke against the recommendation as the area she represented an area with a lot of second homes which she considered contributed to the local economy and supported local businesses.  She asked if the parishes would receive the funding.


Councillor de Winton spoke of the contribution to the Council Tax pot that the second homes along the coast made.  He proposed an amendment to rec 2 “that up to a 100% premium” and rec 4 “that the funding to go to the parishes, not the Borough Council”.  This did not receive a seconder so fell.


Councillor Bullen supported the recommendations and asked how many school aged children were now in the coastal areas full time.


Councillor Joyce made reference to the grants issued during covid for holiday lets, he also expressed the opinion that the business rate qualification should be based on the number of days let in the summer and winter.


Councillor Rust reminded members that council tax bands did not change until the property changed hands.  She commented on the lack of community cohesion often experienced in areas of high second homes with local populations needing those services which were cut due to second home ownership such as childcare.


Councillor Jameson made a point of clarification that childcare funding had not been decreased by the County Council.


Councillor Collingham commented that if the people of the Borough wanted the services they should pay for them, not expect second homes to do so.  She referred to the fact that the second homes were kept neat, and drew attention to the employment provided by the hospitality sector which employed many young people.  She commented that many of the current generation of second home owners  had dug deep to afford the properties.


Councillor Osborne spoke in support of the recommendations stressing that it was not about penalising those with second homes, but it was being done in order to support local communities and those who did not have a home.


Councillor Squire acknowledged that no one was saying that second home owners were not welcome, but west Norfolk had problems due to the level of them.


It was proposed and seconded that the question now be put. This was put to the vote and agreed.   Councillor Parish summed up briefly, and on being put to the vote the CAB 89 recommendations 2, 3 (part), 4 and 5 were agreed.  Therefore all the recommendations of CAB89 Council Tax Premiums for Long Term Empty Properties and Second Homes were agreed.


At 19.24 Council adjourned for 10 minutes and re convened at 19.34.


Councillor Parish proposed CAB90:   Whistle Blowing Policy, seconded by Councillor Moriarty.


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Councillor Nash expressed  his dissatisfaction with the administration of the Whistle Blowing Policy to date, where he commented that the process should be confidential, but had not been.


Councillor Joyce explained how he considered it should be dealt with, as did Councillor Everett.


Councillor Moriarty responded that it appeared they were historic issues being raised, felt it was key that the witnesses should be supported, and invited him to meet with him to discuss.


Councillor Beales would not comment on personal issues, but  commented on a clear and plain English policy and strengthened procedure which had been put forward.


Councillor Rust supported the strengthening of the policy..  Councillor Kemp commented the policy and procedure should be kept under review.


In summing up Councillor Parish drew attention to the opportunities to discuss the report to date.  On being put to the vote, the recommendation  CAB90: Whistleblowing Policy was agreed.



Councillor Parish  proposed the recommendations in CAB91: Designation of a Village Green, South Lynn, seconded by Councillor Moriarty.  In proposing Councillor Parish referred to the long awaited Green which was larger than originally intended due to the addition of the community orchard.

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Councillor Kemp wished to raise an amendment that the Council would proceed with the Local Plan process and then reviews the sites within the east of Hardings Way and look to remove the sites for 50 dwellings for a more suitable location.  In the mean time the Council will not develop the land in any way.


The Deputy Monitoring Officer gave advice that the amendment was a new issue relating to the local plan rather than the village green.


Councillor Joyce challenged the opinion of the Monitoring Officer as he had advised the Leader on the process and he had no court decision on the matter.  The Deputy Monitoring Officer responded that a court decision was not relevant.  Councillor Joyce challenged the Mayor to decide.  Councillor Beales asked Councillor Joyce to clarify the area of the Constitution which had been breached.  Councillor Joyce stated that Councillor Beales had been responsible for a planning application to put general traffic on Hardings Way, to which Councillor Beales asked him to withdraw the statement. 


The Mayor agreed to move on, the Monitoring Officer confirmed the amendment was not admissible.  Councillor Kemp challenged this ruling.


Councillor Dark expressed concern that there were questions around amendments which would change the original recommendation.  He questioned the amendment being ruled out.  He suggested withdrawing the item at this stage.


Councillor Moriarty expressed the view that the ruling of the Monitoring Officer had been made and should be accorded with. 


The Mayor ruled to continue with the original motion.  Councillor Kemp spoke on it she considered it wasn’t adequate because of the risk of traffic on Hardings Way.  Councillor Moriarty challenged the points raised as being part of the aborted amendment.

Councillor Everett suggested that the meeting was due to approaching the 3 hour threshold.  It was confirmed 20.16 was the cut off time.  The Mayor proposed moving to the vote.  This was agreed. Councillor Parish briefly summed up.


On being put to the vote the recommendations in CAB91 Designation of a Village Green, South Lynn were agreed.


RESOLVED:   That the following items from Cabinet 15 January 2024 be AGREED:


CAB89: Council Tax Premiums for Long Term Empty Homes and Second Homes

CAB90: Whistle Blowing Policy

CAB91 Designation of a Village Green, South Lynn



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