Planning Committee meeting to be held online and live streamed to the public
Published: Friday, April 17, 2020
Next week’s planning committee will be held remotely and streamed online so that members of the public can see how important neighbourhood building decisions are reached.
With the Government ordering town halls to cease holding traditional committee meetings during the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown, councils are having to explore different ways of holding meetings and fulfilling both their democratic and legal functions.
Next week’s quasi-judicial planning applications meeting (April 23) will therefore be held as a virtual meeting with councillors who sit on the committee fulfilling their roles online.
And members of the public will be able to view proceedings and listen to the debates in real time with the committee live streamed from the town hall.
Planning applications chairman Cllr Guy Humphries said: “Although most council meetings have been deferred until the lockdown has passed and the threat from the virus diminished, there is a legal duty on town halls to consider items like planning applications within a set timescale.
“Councillors on the committee will gather together online so that we can discuss and debate the merits of these applications while still maintaining social distancing rules.
“And because members of the public won’t be able to attend in person, we will be live streaming the meeting to ensure there is complete transparency about what is being decided.
“I’m looking forward to the meeting and excited about the possibilities this technology offers to greater public scrutiny and openness.”
Virtual council meetings are now permitted under regulations enshrined in the Coronavirus Act 2020.
Where it’s permitted under the rules for specific committees, comments and representations from members of the public will be read out to those attending the virtual meeting by the chairman or clerk.
Details of how local people can observe the meetings will be published on the council’s website. Each committee agenda front sheet will contain the link the public can use to view the meeting.
The website also has information about all the council’s overview, scrutiny and regulatory committees.