We Asked, You Said, We Did

Below are some of the issues we have recently consulted on and their outcomes.

We asked

We asked for your views on two proposals, the first being the to make summer and winter opening hours the same at all 20 recycling centres in Norfolk. This would mean centres would open from 9am to 4pm on their scheduled opening days throughout the year. 

Our second proposal was to close all recycling centres on Wednesdays. 

You said

A majority of respondents said they strongly disagreed with the proposal to harmonise winter and summer opening hours.

A majority of respondents also strongly disagreed with closing all recycling centres on Wednesdays.

We did

Full Council met on the 21 February and set Norfolk County Council’s budget for 2023-24. 

In light of the need to save money and the council’s need to find £60 million of savings, the council voted to implement the proposal that summer opening hours will be harmonised with winter hours. This means that Recycling Centres will close at 4pm all year round (rather than 5pm October to April). This will be delivered from 1st April 2023.

The proposal to close all recycling centres on Wednesdays did not get passed by full council. Therefore, the recycling centres that open on Wednesday currently will continue to so.

However, a public consultation on the closure of the Mayton Wood recycling centre will be undertaken, for Members of the council to consider this site closure later in the year. We expect the public consultation to take place for six weeks in late May following the local council election dates.

Both changes will be subject to a staff consultation, which will be delivered by Norse and employers of those impacted.

For more details on the Council Meeting in which the budget proposals were agreed click here

We asked

We asked what you thought of a proposal to shut the Norfolk Record Office (NRO) to the public on a Friday, but to extend the opening hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, by opening half an hour earlier. Meaning the NRO's new opening hours would be from Tuesday to Thursday, from 9.30am to 5pm. If our proposals are approved, the NRO will be open for 22.5 hours each week in the future.

You said

During the public consultation on Norfolk Record Office opening hours several respondents expressed concern about the overall reduction in access to the Collection and the impact that it might have on those travelling to use the Norwich searchroom on multiple days.

We did

Having taken these views on board, the NRO will run a six-month trial of pre-booked Friday service.  This service will be limited to consulting original documents booked before 12 noon on the preceding Wednesday.  Microfilms will not be available but can still be consulted at the Norfolk Heritage Centre.  The other proposed changes to searchroom hours will be implemented: opening half an hour earlier, at 9.30, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  Full details of the revised service are available on the NRO website;  www.norfolk.archives.gov.uk

For more details on the Council Meeting in which the budget proposals were agreed click here

We asked

In the consultation we explained a range of options when asking your opinions on how much to raise council tax by in 23/24.

We had questions on 3 options

  • Increasing the Norfolk County Council’s share of council tax (including the Adult Social Care precept) by 2.99% in 2023-24
  • increasing Norfolk County Council’s share of council tax (including the Adult Social Care precept) by 4.10% in 2023-24
  • increasing Norfolk County Council’s share of council tax (including the Adult Social Care precept) in line with current rates of inflation in 2023-24

 

You said

There were a range of opinions regarding the raising of Council Tax, many respondents acknowledged that the money was necessary to maintain important social services and the proposed increase reflects current economic conditions in which all costs are rising.

There was strong disagreement to the proposal that Council Tax be raised in line with inflation (at the time the consultation was launched inflation stood at 10.1%).

When asked, most respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the proposal to raise Council Tax by 2.99% in 2023-24. When the consultation launched, this was the referendum limit set by central government. However, since the consultation closed, the Government increased that limit – the limit councils can raise council tax without having a local referendum – to 4.99%.

 

We did

In February, Councillors took the difficult decision to increase Council Tax in line with the Government’s cap of 4.99 per cent – 2.99 per cent for general Council Tax and two per cent for the adult social care precept. This change will take effect in April 2023.

You can review details of the council meeting in which this was agreed here

We asked

In 2022, across Norfolk, our contractors treat the network of adopted roads (public highways) and pavements twice, based on a schedule of sites where weed growth is an issue. We asked you about your thoughts on our proposal to save money by reducing the number of weed control treatments from two across the county, to one.

You said

Over half of respondents to this consultation said they either agreed or strongly agreed with the proposal. The main reasons given for agreement include that reducing weed spraying is better for the environment, and the understanding that NCC must prioritise and make savings. Another popular answer is agreement as long it does not compromise safety.

We did

Norfolk County Council delivers a weed spraying service on the highway network (adopted roads and footways) in order to help prevent damage to hard surfaces which can be expensive to repair in some circumstances.  This service will still be provided although will reduce from two treatments per year to a single treatment per year.  It is anticipated to save £130k per year whilst also reducing the quantity of weed spraying product used on the highway network.  The timing of the weed spraying treatments are dependant on growing conditions but typically started in May /June with a second treatment in July / August.  A single treatment will require careful planning to ensure that this is delivered at the optimum period to deliver maximum benefits.

For more details on the Council Meeting in which the budget proposals were agreed click here

We asked

We asked for your comments on the proposed school term dates for 2024 - 25

You said

We received 26 responses in total.  Please see the results section and the attached analysis in the consultation report.

We did

We have agreed the school term dates for 2024 - 2025 and they are now published on Norfolk County Council's website.  Click here.

We asked

We wanted to understand how we can help or enable more people to cycle and walk more in the county, as well as identify the places which people want to connect with when travelling on foot or by cycle.

The feedback gathered from this survey will help the development of a cycling and walking network plan for Norfolk which will be safer, more accessible and better connected.

This was Phase 1 of the Countywide Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP), building on our already completed LCWIPs for King’s Lynn, Great Yarmouth and Greater Norwich.

You said

We received over 1600 responses to this survey. In the survey respondents were asked to draw the routes they would like to walk or cycle in Norfolk onto an interactive map, they were also given the opportunity to write this information if preferred. The interactive mapping data has been reviewed by the Cycling and Walking Team at Norfolk County Council. The suggested routes were plotted on various heat maps at county and location level. The written details of walking and cycling routes were also reviewed alongside the route heat map analysis.

When asked what would encourage people to walk and cycle more in the region, safety was the overarching theme in the responses, for both cycling and walking, although respondents’ perceptions of safe practices varied. Safe space away from motor vehicles was a recurring theme for walkers and cyclists. A proportion of walkers raised the need for segregation from cyclists, while respondents who enjoy horse riding called for their needs to be considered with shared routes with both. Safe walking and cycling routes to schools were mentioned by respondents, as were routes to link villages with each other and with larger towns.

We did

After analysing the responses, twenty areas in Norfolk have been identified and they will be the focus of Phase 2 of the Countywide Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan. This next set of engagement will launch in May 2023 and be focused on the following locations:

Acle 

Attleborough

Aylsham    

Cromer      

Dereham   

Diss 

Downham Market

Fakenham

Harleston

Holt 

Hunstanton & Heachham

Long Stratton

North Norfolk

North Walsham

Reepham   

Sheringham

South Norfolk and Broadland

Swaffham

Thetford    

Watton      

Wroxham

Wymoundham & Hethersett

We will ask residents of these places about plans for potentially developing their LCWIPs, with a view to getting funding for these locations at a later date.

We asked

We asked for your comments on the proposed school term dates for 2023-24

You said

We received 55 responses in total.  Please see the results section and the attached analysis in the consultation report.

We did

We have agreed the school term dates for 2023 - 2024 and they are now published on Norfolk County Council's website.  Click here.

We asked

What do you think of our proposals for a new Norwich South Recycling Centre, and does it meet the priorities identified in consultation in 2018.

You said

We received 89 responses. Mostly you felt that the site provided easy traffic flow, plenty of parking and low-level bins. You also provided further comments to help us refine the layout before submitting our planning application.

We did

We refined the proposed layout, for example removing the need to cross the traffic lanes to access bins, we reviewed the number and location of disabled bays and added a foot/cycle path connection to the main park and ride.

We asked

We asked for your comments on the proposed school term dates for 2021 - 2022 and 2022-2023

You said

We received 19 responses in total.  Please see the results section and the attached analysis in the consultation report.

We did

We have agreed the school term dates for 2021 - 2022 and 2022-23 and they are now published on Norfolk County Council's website.  Click here.

We asked

Do you feel the priorities identified in consultation in 2018 are met within the proposed design of the new Norwich North Recycling Centre.

You said

We received 132 responses. You mostly thought the priorities had been met, such as easy vehicle flow, plenty of parking and low level bins, and you provided further comments to help us refine the layout before submitting our planning application.

We did

We refined the proposed layout, for example including bollards to prevent jumping the queue, added a trailer bay and added cycle racks.

We asked

What are your views on the proposed Norfolk Greenways developments creating new sustainable travel routes across Norfolk?

You said

You would be likely to use the Norfolk Greenways should the project go ahead, are positive aboout the project and are exicited about the opportunity to learn as much about the county’s heritage and wildlife as possible.

We did

The results are already helping with the improvements work for Weavers’ Way and will be put into the end of year report for the feasibility routes.

We asked

Your views on our proposal to reduce the number of hours that the searchroom would be open from 41.5 hours a week to between 28 and 30 hours a week and prioritise the work of our staff on digitisation and certificates.

You said

We received 98 responses to this consultation. Overall, slightly more of those responding to the consultation agreed with the proposal (43) than disagreed (38).

We did

Our councillors agreed to go ahead with this proposal and the Record Office will widely promote their new hours.

We asked

Your views on our proposal to iincrease Council Tax.

You said

We received 157 responses to this consultation, the majority of which (96)  disagreed with our proposal. Many of those against an increase said that earnings were not keeping up with increases in council tax and that they felt that council tax was already expensive. Of those that were supportive (51) the main reason people gave for their agreement was the need to protect services, especially frontline services and adult social care.

We did

At a meeting on 11 February 2019, members of Norfolk County Council voted to agree a £409 million revenue budget for 2019-20.

The decision means the county council’s share of band D Council Tax bills will rise by 2.99 per cent to £1,362.24 from April 2019.

Examples of increased investment include £6m to address growing demand on adult social services, and £14.5m to tackle pressures on the looked-after children service

We asked

We asked for your comments on the proposed school term dates for 2020 - 2021.

You said

We received 53 responses in total.  Please see the results section and the attached analysis in the consultation report.

We did

We have agreed the school term dates for 2020 - 2021 and they are now published on Norfolk County Council's website.  Click here.

 

We asked

For your views on our proposal on the future of Burman House care home.

You said

The most common response was that people felt our proposal could negatively affect the wellbeing and health of Burman House residents.  

We did

We decided not to proceed with the proposal to close Burman House care home. Instead, Burman House will be transformed into a specialist dementia care home with 30 beds.

We asked

For your feedback to help us update our Enforcement Policy. This policy includes how we enforce trading standards, planning, flooding, fire safety, highways and blue badges.
 

You said

We received 22 responses to the consultation and most people taking part agreed with our proposal to update the Enforcement Policy.

We did

Following feedback from the consultation, we have made some changes to the policy. We have included a telephone number as an alternative to email and online forms, as a result of the feedback. We have also provided more detail on enforcement processes around public rights of way, as a result of the feedback. 

Our elected members agreed the changes to the Enforcement Policy.

We asked

What you would like to see at the new recycling centre to replace the current Mile Cross site from 2021.

You said

We received 884 responses and you thought it was important a new site included plenty of parking, bins that were at a lower level and provision of a reuse shop.

We did

We are now moving into the design phase for a site at our preferred location and will be looking to incorporate feedback from the consultation.

We asked

Norfolk County Council  asked to join the school catchment areas of Pickenham and Swaffham, from 1st September 2018  

You said

There were 18 responses to the consultation.  8 people agreed (44%) and 10 people disagreed (54%).  The main area of concern raised during the consultation related to the capacity within Swaffham Infant School for additional pupils. 

We did

The Executive Director of Children's Services was reassured that the County Council is planning for growth in Swaffham, as part of its duty to ensure there are sufficient school places.  The catchment change was agreed from 1st December 2018.

We asked

We asked for your comments on the proposal to replace the ‘Hempnall Crossroads’ junction on the A140 in Long Stratton with a roundabout.

You said

456 responses to the online questionnaire were received with over 93% of respondents either agreeing or strongly agreeing to the proposals.

We did

Our councillors considered the outcome of the consultation and approved the submission of a planning application for the scheme. Planning approval has now been granted.

We asked

We asked for views on the proposed merger of Busy Bees Playgroup with Browick Road Infant School in Wymondham.  As part of the merger, it was proposed that the school would take on the management of the playgroup and would be known as Browick Road Primary and Nursery School.  This proposal included a change in age range for the school from 4 - 11 to 2 - 11 years.

You said

Of the 62 people who responded, 61 agreed with the proposal.

We did

This was subsequently agreed by the Executive Director of Children's Services and the merger took place on 1 September 2017.