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Gloucestershire Business News

EXCLUSIVE: Gloucester City Council to live stream public meetings

Gloucester City Council has confirmed it will start live streaming its meetings from early next year.

It will mean business owners and residents will be able to watch debates taking place over key decisions that affect them.

The city council is the last authority in the county to sign up for broadcasting its public meetings.

Gloucestershire County Council and the councils in Cheltenham, Stroud, Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean all already live stream theirs.

Tewkesbury Borough Council revealed in June  it was moving forward with plans to introduce webcasting for meetings.

Gloucester City Council voted down proposals to live stream meetings in 2018 because of costs. At the time it said introducing the service could cost up to £60,000 and the up keep would cost up to £15,000.

It streamed some of its meetings during the Covid 19 lockdown via YouTube but the last video posted was in July 2021.

Reacting to this week's announcement Cllr Richard Cook (Con, Kingsway), leader of Gloucester City Council, said: "It's incredibly important for democracy that we are transparent and that it's easy for people to watch council meetings and see how they are being represented by those they vote for and how taxpayers' money is being spent.

"It will also allow more people to become engaged and involved in the business of the council and hopefully encourage them to get more involved in how these decisions that have a huge impact on our city are taken."

It holds most of its public council and committee meetings at the Civic Suite in North Warehouse, The Docks and anyone can attend. Members of the public can also ask a question, present a petition or make a speech to members if they give advanced warning.

Leader of the opposition Cllr Jeremy Hilton (LD, Kingsholm and Wotton) said it was "about time" the council joined the 21st Century.

He added: "Liberal Democrats have been eager for this to happen for a long time. At last the Conservative administration has conceded to our demands.

"The public will be able to watch councillors in debate without having to attend themselves. This is good for democracy and record keeping.

"Journalists will benefit when writing up copy and so will the committee clerks, in that they will be able to double check what members have said in debate."

Cllr Alastair Chambers (Ind, Matson and Robinswood) said: "About time. I have been pushing for live streaming and recordings for the last three years.

"I often vídeo the meetings for the local people as the city council has failed to do this for over three years.

"I feel that the city council has enjoyed the meetings not being out in the public. This will stop, the public will hear and the public will know."

Cllr Tree Chambers-Dubus, (Lad, Moreland) , leader of the labour group, was also contacted for a comment.

A spokesperson for Gloucester City Council said: "Gloucester City Council is planning to start live broadcasting of meetings early in 2024."

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