Wealden District Council has successfully held its first online meeting of Planning Committee South, allowing the business of the Council to continue in spite of the extended Covid-19 social distancing restrictions.
“It is vitally important we continue to follow the Government guidelines to save lives and protect the NHS,” said Councillor Ann Newton, Cabinet member for Planning and Development. “But, like many other local organisations, we are finding new ways we can continue to operate, using a different approach.
“On Thursday, elected councillors were been able to have a full debate about a series of planning proposals online, at the time when they would have normally have taken part in the planning committee meeting at our Vicarage Lane council offices. Members of the public have been able make their views about applications before councillors online, using either a recording or written statement.
“By using the Council’s online meeting software, committee members have been able to debate, and then vote, on planning applications. The public are able the watch the meetings live online, or catch-up later through the webcast which will be available on our website.”
Members of the public wanting to make a statement before a planning meeting should register their interest at least three days before the meeting. The recording or statement they provide will either be viewed or read by all member of the committee before the application is debated.
Planning Committee South discussed three applications today, including one for 10 new flats in Hellingly. Future meetings are expected to discuss more items as the officers and councillors familiarise themselves with this new way of working.
Wealden District Council is continuing to provide a full range of public services while the Covid-19 movement restrictions are in place as well providing new support measures to assist households and businesses across the District.
The Council hopes to continue to hold Council meetings online should the social distancing measures continue. Meetings are held using Microsoft Teams software, which allows participation on a range of different devices. Council regulations have been amended to ensure decisions made through this new technology have full legal status.