South Glos Council meeting cancelled ‘on safety grounds’

With rising COVID cases and an extreme heat warning from the Met Office, tonight’s meeting of South Gloucestershire Council due to be held at Kingswood Civic Centre has been called off.

A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson said: “The full council meeting scheduled to take place this evening has been postponed. Our Director of Public Health has advised that given the current extreme heat and the number of people expected at the meeting combined with the rising incidents of COVID-19 across the district, that the meeting should be stood down. The meeting will be rescheduled and as soon as we have a new date confirmed, the details will be added to our website.”

Cllr Claire Young, leader of the opposition Lib Dem Group on the council, said: “Despite the country still being in the middle of a pandemic, in April the Government decided not to extend the law allowing councils to meet remotely. That was a foolish and anti-democratic decision.

“The fact that we are being forced to cancel this month’s council meeting on safety grounds and do not have the option of holding a remote meeting instead highlights just how reckless and short-sighted the Government has been.”

A spokesperson for the ruling Conservative Group said: “The decision to cancel the full council meeting and delay important business was a disappointing but necessary action to take in the face of the challenges being faced, predominantly as a result of the extreme weather conditions that would have posed a potential health risk in the council chamber in combination with rising COVID infection rates. Opposition politicians cannot blame the Government for the weather.

“As legal COVID restrictions have now been lifted across the country, the Lib Dem comments are redundant as they know full well that the use of emergency powers, specifically introduced to allow local government business to continue during the pandemic, would be inappropriate and so new legislation would be required.

“We are supportive of the Government’s ambition to restore powers for local authorities to hold remote meetings and have made strong representations to the national consultation on behalf of South Gloucestershire for the introduction of hybrid meetings to enable greater accessibility for the public.”

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