Vale council explains continuing remote meetings

LEADER of the Vale of Glamorgan Council Lis Burnett has rebuffed criticism over the council continuing to hold remote meetings.

Saying “Vale residents elect councillors to County Hall, not to the sofa”, Mr Davies said he saw no reason to why the council could not set up ways for members to attend meetings in person.

Responding, Cllr Burnett said: “By law, the council and other local authorities must have a multi-location meeting policy in place.

“As a member of the Senedd and former councillor, Mr Davies will note that this was approved at a council meeting on April 25 when he was a serving member of the authority.

“Council meetings are no longer exclusively held remotely as suggested.

“Rather, full council, cabinet, planning committee, governance and audit committee and some scrutiny committee meetings will operate a hybrid system, which allows people to attend remotely or in person at the Civic Offices as required.

“Operating in this way helps to increase diversity within local democracy by allowing members to attend meetings they would otherwise miss because of work, parenting or caring responsibilities.

“It also allows members of the public to view or participate in proceedings without having to attend in person.

“There is also a major environmental benefit to attending meetings remotely as less travel is required.

“Having declared a climate emergency in 2019, promoting greener approaches is a major priority for the council and aligns with its project zero commitment to make the organisation carbon neutral by 2030.

“It is also important to remember that Covid-19 has not left us.

“As case numbers again rise, meeting together in large numbers increases the risk of spreading the disease.”

This does not, however, explain why residents have complained about surveyors not being sent to areas when there have been planning disputes.

One letter, seen by the Penarth Times, dated June 8, 2022, stated that surveyors could not assess a specific area, and asked the complainant to take pictures themselves.

The complainant was also told in the letter to “note that you should only do this if you choose to and if it can be done safely, within the limits set for social distancing, essential travel and daily exercise.”

The council has not explained why this has happened, despite repeated requests from the Penarth Times.

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