A DECISION by the High Court to make councillors return to the council chamber – rather than carry on with virtual meetings, has been described as ‘a disappointment’ by Dorset Council leader Spencer Flower.

The council has already moved its annual meeting forward to avoid the May 7th deadline when current legislation to allow virtual meetings ends.

Other meeting have been postponed, or cancelled, both at Dorset Council and town and parish councils across the county.

All are unable, under current regulations, to hold meetings involving all of their councillors in any of the buildings they own under current Covid-safe rules,

Form June 21st, assuming regulations change, indoor meetings involving larger numbers are likely to be allowed again.

Said Cllr Flower: “Being able to hold council meetings virtually has been widely welcomed and a great success for local government during the pandemic. I am incredibly disappointed regarding the High Court ruling announced on Wednesday. Speaking to fellow council leaders across the country, we all agree that the government should allow some flexibility in whether meetings are held in person, when social distancing rules allow, or remotely as has been the case for the past year. I am hoping that the Government will listen to the views of local government leaders and bring forward legislation as soon as possible so that virtual meetings can be part of the arrangements going forward.”