Published Friday, 24th April 2020

Our Council meetings are now being run virtually so that the democratic process can continue despite coronavirus social distancing measures.

A photo of the virtual planning committee held on 15 April 2020Last week’s Planning Committee, on Wednesday 15 April, was one of the first planning committees to be held virtually nationally and is thought to be the first in Surrey. It follows the introduction of  the new government rules allowing remote council meetings in its recent coronavirus emergency legislation. 

The committee considered a complex application for a retirement village on the former Legal and General site in Kingswood.

The meeting was held via an online video conference tool, which allows the Chair to run the meeting like a normal committee, but safely from home. Planning Officers were able to present their reports and use the technology to share slides and videos, which were viewable by the Committee. The Members voted via an electronic poll with the results available to view on their screens.

Twenty six members of the public, including residents, developers and planning consultants were able to listen and participate in the meeting, which is available on the Council’s website.

As the Council adapts to the new challenges and refines its approach, it is anticipated that future meetings will be live streamed on our YouTube channel so Members of the public can watch, as well as listen, to proceedings. Make sure you subscribe for updates.

Ensuring democracy continues

Cllr Mark Brunt, Council Leader, said: “We’re adapting as quickly as we can in response to the challenges posed by the coronavirus restrictions and new legislation, to try to ensure that the democratic process and business of the council can continue. It’s great to be one of the first to be able to achieve this despite the difficult circumstances we find ourselves in.”

The next meeting to be held virtually will be the next Planning Committee on Wedensday 29 April. You can find details of future meeting on our meetings calendar.