Change in legislation means council meetings are to return to face-to-face

By Alan Quick   |   Editorial Manager/Photojournalist   |
Wednesday 12th May 2021 1:39 pm
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OVER the last few months, you may have joined Crediton Town Council meetings via its Facebook feed.

Whether you have been an avid watcher or a quick scroller, the Town Council has seen a far greater engagement in council activities than when meetings were held face-to-face.

The council says it has been a great opportunity to involve members of the public, without the constraints of having to attend meetings in person.

From Friday, May 7, it will no longer be legal for Town and Parish Councils across England to hold meetings virtually.

This means that Crediton Town Council will return to meeting at Old Landscore School, with restrictions in place to ensure that Covid-19 regulations are adhered to, until government restrictions are eased sufficiently.

The Town Council will continue to live-stream meetings as it will be unable to allow members of the public to attend due to the number of people allowed in the room.

There was a recent High Court judgement that primary legislation would need to be amended to allow for meetings to be held online, and there is a consultation taking place which the Town Council urges members of the public to respond to.

The link can be found by searching “Local Authority Remote Meetings: call for evidence”: Local authority remote meetings: call for evidence - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) .

Crediton Town Councillor and Town Strategy Chairman Liz Brookes-Hocking said: “The Town Council has been delighted that so many people have taken part in meetings and it has been particularly useful for people who want to follow the discussion on planning applications, whether their own or larger developments.

“We would like to see this involvement continue and to be able to legally hold virtual meetings and engage people in the democratic process. We would welcome people to respond to the consultation, or even write to our local MP!”

The consultation period ends on Thursday, June 17 and seeks to understand the experience of local authorities in the whole of the UK regarding remote meetings.

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