Blackpool could be forced back to holding town hall meetings

Councils including Blackpool have been told emergency legislation allowing them to hold virtual  council meetings during the Covid pandemic will not be extended.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 4:57 pm
Updated Friday, 26th March 2021, 5:00 pm

Local authorities have been told they will be unable to hold remote meetings after May 7.

All three Fylde coast authorities have been holding council committee meetings online since Covid took hold in order to continue making decisions in public.

Now the Local Government Association (LGA) is lobbying the Government to enable virtual meetings to continue.case is clear for the ability for councils to continue to be able to hold meetings flexibly.

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Meetings have not been held in the council chamber during the pandemic
Meetings have not been held in the council chamber during the pandemic

Blackpool Council chief executive Neil Jack said: “There are obvious logistical issues with face to face meetings resuming while social distancing rules remain in place.

“For example, no rooms in the Town Hall could safely accommodate a meeting of the full council.

“In addition to the councillors and officers that need to attend meetings we also have to make provision for any members of the public and media who may wish to observe.

“We are aware the Local Government Association is lobbying the decision and will await the outcome. In the meantime we will look at different options that can allow meetings to take place safely.”

Coun James Jamieson, chairman of the LGA, said: “The case is clear for the ability for councils to continue to be able to hold meetings flexibly.

“We urge the Government to reverse this decision and not force councils to have to hold Covid-19 secure face-to-face council meetings until all restrictions are lifted.”

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