Statement on Planning Committee – 11 May 2021Published Friday 7 May 2021
Following a High Court ruling on 4 May 2021 that local authority meetings must be open to the public in a physical sense, we have had to review the arrangements for the Planning Committee on 11 May.
On 25 March 2021 Luke Hall MP Minister of State for Regional Growth and Local Government wrote to Council Leaders and confirmed that The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 do not apply to meetings on or after 7 May 2021.
A High Court challenge by the Association of Democratic Services Officers (ADSO) and Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) for a declaration in the High Court for local authorities on whether they can continue to hold meetings remotely past the 6 May 2021 deadline was dismissed on 28 April 2021.
Following the dismissal from the High Court the court indicated at the end of that judgement within a postscript, that it would consider references to a meeting being “open to the public” or “held in public”. That judgement was handed down on 4 May 2021.
The Court has ruled that local authority meetings must be open to the public in a physical sense. Councils can still provide live streaming/broadcasts to allow wider public access. However, those actively participating in the meeting as objectors, applicants, or appellants must attend in person whilst still also be open to the public, even those not participating.
This development has meant that Harborough District Council has had to review the arrangements for the Planning Committee on Tuesday 11 May 2021 and an adjournment of the meeting to a future date is going to be sought. This will ensure HDC can comply with the Government’s Covid restrictions in place until at least 21 June 2021 and to ensure the protection of health and safety of all those participating at the meeting.
Further information in relation to the arrangements for meetings will be publicised as soon as possible.
- More articles in the news archive