Carlisle City Council HQ
The headquarters of Carlisle council, which has shelved planning committee meetings

Carlisle cancels planning committee meetings

Chloé Vaughan

The city council has decided to cancel all committee meetings, including planning, while other regional local authorities are preparing to meet today to discuss their own strategies in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

The local authority said in a statement: “Following the Government’s decision to move to a ‘delay’ approach to coronavirus, [the council] has taken action to reduce the spread of the virus.

“In addition to supporting staff by encouraging home working, the council has also taken the decision to cancel all committee meetings until further notice and is reviewing its events programme.”

The statement added: “Our priority is the health and wellbeing of our staff, councillors and customers. We have taken the decision to do all we can to support the Government’s advice to delay the virus.

“We will continue to provide services, ensuring that we’re doing all we can to support our residents and local communities.”

With planning and other statutory committee meetings cancelled until further notice, the development industry could suffer a slowdown as decision making on future schemes stalls.

Place North West understands that a site visit for Liverpool City Council’s planning committee was cancelled today as there were not enough councillors to attend as some are in quarantine.

An emergency full council meeting will take place later today to decide the future of other meetings as nationwide coronavirus measures escalate.

A spokesperson for Manchester City Council said the council is “reacting to national guidance from the Government as it emerges and will follow the protocol for committees and meetings when we receive it.” 

Other local planning authorities in the North West have been contacted by Place North West and asked whether they intend to cancel committee meetings for now, or use webcasts or other virtual meeting technologies an alternatives.

Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram, said in a statement yesterday that the combined authority is “closely monitoring the situation to ensure that [its] services are well prepared, and will provide updates as things change”.

He added that he is keen to “work with colleagues in neighbouring Cheshire to ensure that there is an effective joined-up approach across the entire region”. 

“When faced with difficult times, it is important that we set aside party political and other differences and work together to ensure we effectively respond to this unprecedented challenge,” Rotheram said. 

Cheshire East Council’s strategic, northern and southern planning committees are continuing as normal, but a spokesperson said the council is “working on a day-by-day basis.”

A representative of Preston City Council said it was following the Government’s advice and will “respond accordingly”.

Other than Carlisle, North West councils have yet to agree alternative strategies to host imminent committee meetings, such as hosting webcasts or electing officials to make decisions via delegated powers.

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