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Can a Parish Council meeting be held outside?

+1 vote
As remote meeting are no longer able to take place, if the village hall is too small to hold a meeting with adequate social distancing and if no other suitable alternative venue can be found.  Does anyone have any views as to whether a Parish Council meeting can take place in say a car park? Standing orders do not cover this area.
asked by (130 points)

2 Answers

0 votes
My understanding is it is legal (providing you clearly specify so "Mathews Court Car Park" as an example).  Obviously do try to pick somewhere safe (last thing you want is Cllrs/Public run over during meeting).  I gather some locally are using Tennis Courts (preferring that to the car park next door).  Nice and flat surface, fenced area with no risk of cars, wind breaks already in situ for sporting purposes,  Its clearly far from ideal but Government have put folk in this farcical position.
answered by (2.6k points)
Thank you.  It looks like PC's cannot hold an indoor meeting legally until 21st June and that's subject to risk assessments and following government guidance.
0 votes
I really don't think this the right thing to do. What will you do if it's pouring with rain? If you have exhausted all the options within your parish (schools, pubs, churches etc), look further afield. There is no requirement to hold the meeting within the parish boundaries.
answered by (32.8k points)
Agree.  Though obviously if you have exhausted all other alternatives (and your members have all indicated they cannot drive themselves to another neighbouring village) really not sure what Clerks are meant to do.  If there is no prospect of enough members attending the out of Parish location to actually legally transact any business and none that you can put your name to as been Covid-Secure they placed between a rock and hard place.
I'm puzzled by the idea of a village hall not being big enough. Each person needs 4 square metres, or less if they are sitting with their back to a wall. I have a very small village hall, but it's still over 65 square metres, so we have a safe capacity of about 18 people, which is more than adequate for a PC meeting. If people choose not to attend, their absence should not be accepted. Can they honestly say they haven't been out of their homes for 14 months? No trip in the car, shopping, libraries, leisure centres, pubs, restaurants, visits to family and friends? If that's the case, are they able to represent their communities?

Outdoor meetings are a publicity stunt and unbecoming of a parish council.
In the Neighbouring villages case the "Village Hall" had a fire during lockdown and is out of use indefinitely.  The Church Hall whilst re-opening during checks discovered serious issues and has been "Closed until further notice" (with rumour its not re-opening).  They basically left with very very small parish office (which duals as a Library) which frankly about size of small garage (and about as well ventilated).  I don't disagree about your assessment in terms of representation mind..
Wow, so local community groups will have nowhere to meet. That's not good. I've seen several communities lose their hall unexpectedly and the wider impact is immense. People gradually stop talking to their neighbours.
I offer everyone in England my sympathy. The Welsh Government has had the sense to allow online and even hybrid meetings to continue, as well as face to face meetings.

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