Trial could lead to webcasting of planning committee meetings


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Planning meetings of B&NES Council are to be filmed for a trial period of three months, starting today (9 March). Members of the committee will review the films for training purposes and this trial period could lead to public webcasting of the committee meetings. This development follows a campaign by Lib Dem Councillor Paul Crossley for increased transparency and openness in decision-making.

Councillor Crossley (Southdown, Lib Dem), who is the Liberal Democrat spokesperson on the planning committee, started campaigning for webcasting last summer. He welcomed the trial and commented:

“I strongly believe that decisions which affect the public should be made in public. Webcasts of other decision-making meetings, such as Council and Cabinet, are increasingly popular, so it makes sense to extend the webcasting service to decisions taken at the planning committee.”

“Planning committee webcasts in other councils attract the most interest and scrutiny of all Council meetings. There is a direct benefit to residents as webcasting enables meetings to be viewed from people's homes or libraries either live or after the event, as the broadcasts are available for 6 months. This is very useful to residents who are not able to attend daytime meetings for whatever reason.”

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Lib Dem Group Leader, Councillor Dine Romero (Southdown, Lib Dem), added:

"I expect there to be a great deal of interest in this proposal. Many more people would watch meeting webcasts than would be able to attend in person. Webcasting would help increase public awareness of the work this important committee does; it would also improve the public accountability of the committee members."

Meetings of the Council, Cabinet, Health and Wellbeing Board and some other special meetings are already webcast by B&NES Council.

Webcasting was introduced under the previous, Liberal Democrat administration, and the facility has been growing in popularity, with hundreds of residents tuning in to watch on a regular basis.

Councils which already provide webcasts of planning meetings include Bristol and Cornwall.

Lib Dem Group Leader, Councillor Dine Romero (Southdown, Lib Dem), added:

“I expect there to be a great deal of interest in this proposal. Many more people would watch meeting webcasts than would be able to attend in person. Webcasting would help increase public awareness of the work this important committee does; it would also improve the public accountability of the committee members.”


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