Atherstone council meeting breaks the four-minute ‘pile-of-paperwork’ record as coronavirus effect takes hold

  Posted: 16.03.20 at 22:27 by Nick Hudson

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Councillors in Atherstone followed the Prime Minister’s call for “drastic action” to curb coronavirus by racing through their policy-making committee meeting in record time.

Tonight’s North Warwickshire Borough Council Executive Board turned into dash for the finishing line – with 11 items in a 58-page agenda taking a shade under FOUR minutes to complete.

And members on the board also took Boris Johnson’s comments on social distancing and stopping “non-essential contact” to heart – with an empty seat separating each member attending.

Local authority leader David Humphreys swept all before him, carolling items six and seven and then lumping eight to 11 together as he asked for a show of hands – and got total agreement from all political sides.

Among the non-contested issues, which would normally attract lively debate, were the council’s “ambitious” corporate plan; a decision to spend £53,000 on outside consultants to help with drawing up a strategy for future leisure facilities in Atherstone and district; and the contentious issue of transferring of powers from the police to the local authority for civil parking enforcement.

The meeting, which began just after 7pm, saw the public and press excluded at 7.06pm. There were no members of the public present – only Nub News.

As the country comes to terms with the draconian measures announced by the PM this evening – with the death toll in the UK from the Covid-19 outbreak reaching 55 – the borough council is also introducing measures to reduce numbers attending meetings.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is looking to legislate to allow remote council meetings to take place.

Councillor Humphreys said the council’s chief executive, Steve Maxey, would be reviewing the situation “on a daily basis”.

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