IMAGINE being able to watch Hedon Town Council meetings LIVE on the internet! See the drama unfold on your computer or tablet as the council makes decisions on the latest issues in town. Catch the controversy as councillors clash over the best way forward for the Hedon. Or just simply be able to see what your councillors look like and hear them speak.
The suggestion of a live webcam link to Hedon Town Council meetings has come from Councillor Sarah Rommell. This is the latest idea from the councillor who is very keen to make the Town Council more accessible to people in Hedon. She has previously proposed that the Town Hall should become more wheelchair-friendly; people with certain disabilities – indeed future councillors with disabilities – are poorly served when it comes to gaining access to the meeting chamber.
Having the meetings broadcast live over the internet would make the council meetings accessible to anyone with an internet-connected computer or device. “It would suit those who can’t attend meetings,” Councillor Rommell said last night “The council needs to do more to get the people of Hedon involved!”
The Town Clerk, Mrs Joanna Richardson, said that she had taken advice and there was no legal or constitutional reason why the idea could not be developed. Mrs Richardson had been advised that the internet connection would have to be a good one to prevent transmission being broken. Members of the public actually attending a web-linked meeting would also have the rights to film and video the proceedings as well.
Councillor Rommell gained the agreement of last night’s meeting to develop a costed proposal and bring it back to a future meeting for discussion.
So what would we have seen on Hedon Town Council TV last night if it was available?
It was the public participation session with three members of the public in attendance.
The Yorkshire Water Smells: Mr Neil Shillito asked what progress there had been in resolving the foul odours from the Waste Water Treatment Works. Councillor Mike Bryan explained that Yorkshire Water had claimed that only two people made complaints over last the last weekend. This was a low number of complaints and had prompted Yorkshire Water to claim that they were improving odour control. If people experienced odours, urged Councillor Bryan, then they must ring both Yorkshire Water on their Customer Helpline on 0845 1 24 24 24 and the East Riding Council on 01482 396 301.
Councillors Attendance Records: Mr Andrew Hunt quizzed councillors on their attendance records published on the council website. “All councillors know what they are signing up to when they join the council, you have a job to do. Meetings are arranged in advance, councillors are aware of those meetings and really there is no excuse why some councillors are attending less than half the meetings. If you can’t attend the meetings you need to stand down.”
Councillors explained their reasons for poor attendance records in some cases, which involved illness, work shifts and bereavement. Also because the council held more than one meeting each council session, being absent one night is often recorded as missing more than one meeting. It is not unusual for the council to hold four meetings in one night and an absence would be recorded as missing 4 meetings.
Deputy Mayor John Dennis who was chairing the meeting additionally explained that there was no requirement in the rules for councillors to stand down for non-attendance at meetings. The electorate would make that decision every four years in the elections. They will undoubtedly take into account issues such as attendance records.
Hedon Blog says: The internet (and indeed internet TV – Editor) and the publication of public information about councillors’ attendance and activities has brought about a greater level of accountability for those in public office. This accountability is something to be welcomed and is something that the Hedon Blog and HU12 Online is working on locally through its Parish Council News project.
In the Planning Meeting:
Hedon Aerodrome Site: The Town Council had received letters from East Riding Council and Hull City Council regarding suggestions that the old Hedon Aerodrome site would be developed for bio-mass and horticultural uses. Both council’s stipulated that there were no formal plans yet, but they would be urging any developer to engage in ‘consultation with interested parties’ when draft proposals become available, and ‘before any planning application is submitted’.
In the Finance & General Purposes Meeting:
Parking in Hedon: A lengthy response to Hedon Town Council’s suggestions had been received from the East Riding Council, it was scheduled to discuss this at the next meeting in September. However, some earlier progress could be made regarding the car park at the back of the Queen’s Head regarding lack of parking enforcement there and motorists abuse of the white-marked parking bays; to report back at next meeting. The working group on Community Transport would also be reporting back in September.
Skate Park: A working group of five members was established to assess the tenders for constructing the new Skate Park facilities and was authorised to accept the best. It was estimated that the contract process would take about 3-4 weeks and then about 8 weeks to construct the facilities.
Events Committee: Councillor Di Storr and Councillor David Thompson brought forward a suggestion to establish a council Events Committee. The aim is for the council to support a series of smaller community events throughout the year; festivals, carnivals, sports, treasure hunts, fun days, away days, coach trips, etc. It was agreed to set up a working group to consider ‘terms of reference’ (rules) for an Events Committee. The aim was to involve representatives of local voluntary and community groups in the Committee, to be self-financing but also be able to raise money for local good causes.
Two proposals; for an away-day coach trip and a Hedon Charity Calendar, would be brought to the September meeting for consideration.
Next Hedon Town Council meeting (note – no meetings in August) – Thursday 12th September 2013.