The current COVID-19 crisis and the Government measures that have been in place since 23 March, has meant that we have all had to adapt and change the way in which we work. As a result the Town Council took the decision to suspend all meetings whilst it swung in to action to co-ordinated the response for Care for our Community and continue with necessary operational business only.
On 2 April, the Government published changes for Council meetings and the way that can be held, as well as removing the requirement to hold an annual council meeting (The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020). Under regulation 4, it says that Councils may alter the frequency, move or cancel such meetings.
This provides that where an appointment would otherwise be made or is required to be made at an annual meeting of a local authority, the appointment continues until the next annual meeting of the authority or until such time as that authority may determine (Regulation 4 (2). This would apply to the election of the chairman, the first business at the annual council meeting. Therefore the current chairman will remain in place until an annual meeting is held (possibly next year) unless the council decide to elect a replacement earlier.
Regulation 5 allows local councils to hold remote meetings using its preferred form of electronic communications. Edenbridge Town Council will call ‘remote’ meeting(s) when it considers it to be necessary and will publish notice of any public meetings in the usual way under the Local Government Act 1972 sch 12 (10).
All current calendar meetings are cancelled until further notice. The Council will call remote meetings for the full Council and Open Spaces Committee in due course.
The Planning Committee will call a remote meeting where there are potential contentious applications. In the meantime, where it is not viable to hold a meeting applications will continue to be considered under executive powers set out in the Planning Committee Terms of Reference. Responses to consultations are submitted to Sevenoaks District Council.