Local authorities in England have been handed new powers to hold public meetings virtually by using video or telephone conferencing technology from Saturday 4th April 2020.
The government has temporarily removed the legal requirement for local authorities to hold public meetings in person during the coronavirus pandemic. This will enable councils to make effective and transparent decisions on the delivery of services for residents and ensure that local democracy continues to thrive.
Local Government Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said “Local authorities are the backbone of our democracy… it’s critical that they continue to provide essential services and find innovative ways to maintain important economic functions they perform like the planning system and they will now be able to do so”.
Meetings will remain accessible whilst ensuring that councillors, staff and the wider public can follow government advice by staying at home to stop the spread of coronavirus to protect the NHS and save lives. However, it will be up to each local authority to decide how they conduct meetings, how voting procedures work and how to ensure that the public has access.
The GFW team is continuing to work with Local Planning Authorities during this difficult time to progress our clients’ planning applications where possible. If you have a property, land or a development opportunity you would like to discuss with our Planning, Architecture and Development team please contact your nearest regional office:
Northumberland: 01665 603231
County Durham: 01388 527966
Yorkshire: 01677 425301