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I understand that recommendations will be made and sent to the District Council - with decisions ratified at a subsequent full council meeting .
by (180 points)

1 Answer

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Strictly speaking no, local councils can't hold valid meetings via zoom or any other online platform.  Valid council meetings must be held in public, after giving 3 clear days notice and with an appropriate agenda, quorum, etc. etc.  However, if you have a scheme of delegation in place where you have delegated authority to the clerk to put forward a response in respect of planning applications, an informal meeting via zoom to gather general opinions on a planning application might be in accordance with that scheme of delegation.  I know a lot of councils are holding informal group sessions for training/briefing sessions etc. and then making a decision via an officer scheme of delegation.  It's not recommended by NALC but in a situation with ever increasing covid rates, vulnerable councillors, staff and the public it's not entirely surprising, albeit potentially open to challenge.
by (17.5k points)
Thank you for your answer. I can see that  Zoom meetings are good for generating local interest and for information gathering / getting community views on issues. and the delegation facility has been used during covid i know. I just wondered how 'recommendations ' fitted in with the requirment for Cllrs not to be pre determined about items - particularly planning applications.
It is hard how to see that with planning matters there can be a "pre-determination " by a councillor as comments and observations made by council ( or committee) must be based only on planning law and regulations in place and not on subjective views. What the PC can bring to the planners attention are historical facts and also any requirements under the NDP ( if in force)
Even if comments and observations are based on planning regulations / law, if an informal meeting arrives at a recommendation that is 'formal' enough to send off to the planning authority - surely Cllrs must be pre determined towards that recommendation when the application/s are then further decided at a subsequent  Council meeting. I always understood that a Cllr should be 'open minded' about a planning application  (in public anyway) up until the meeting at which the application was voted on by Cllrs.

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