05:27PM, Wednesday 12 May 2021
Slough Borough Council meetings are set to return face-to-face this week with the annual council moving to The Centre in Farnham Road.
The council said it has been 'working hard' in light of the judgement to ensure in-person meetings will be 'safe and effective'.
Emergency legislation was passed in the House of Commons last year when the pandemic hit, allowing local authorities to meet online.
Hertfordshire County Council, along with two local Government groups, applied to extend these measures, but this was dismissed by the court on Thursday, April 29.
Judges Dame Victoria Sharp and Mr Justice Chamberlain said that primary legislation would be needed to extend the use of online meetings.
A Government spokeswoman added: “Government has previously confirmed that it is not possible to secure primary legislation to extend the regulations to meetings beyond [May 6].”
Slough Borough Council said that meetings would take place in the council chamber in Observatory House - where webcasting facilities are available.
A spokeswoman said: “The situation in terms of the national public health measures is changing all the time and we will be responsive to this. Our priority is to ensure the safety of all our members, staff and other attendees without any impact on the continuation of our robust democratic and governance arrangements
“In common with councils across the country, SBC has needed to consider how to accommodate democratic processes in spaces which were designed before the advent of social distancing requirements. The Council’s immediate plans are for committee meetings after May 7 to take place in the council chamber at Observatory House, where webcasting facilities are available.”
The annual council meeting on May 20 will take place in The Centre as the space is large enough for 42 councillors and officers to socially distance. There will be limited public access which will be first come first served. Meetings will continue to be webcast online.
A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokeswoman said: “We are grateful for the efforts of councils to ensure meetings could continue remotely over the past year.
“Councils will need to return to face-to-face meetings after May 6 and should continue to prepare accordingly.”
The changes could see Colnbrook with Poyle, Langley Kedermister and Foxborough wards moved from Slough to the Windsor parliamentary constituency.