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New Milton Town Council meetings may be broadcast online

It could be “some while” before meetings return to the town hall
It could be “some while” before meetings return to the town hall

NEW Milton Town Council meetings could be broadcast online in a bid to improve communication with residents.

The idea of joining other councils in recording sessions was suggested by Cllr Steve Clarke, who told a recent full town council meeting, held over video conferring service Zoom, that evidence showed a “surge” in the public’s interest.

The activities of town and parish council meetings has been a hot topic since Jackie Weaver's stint hosting a raucous Handforth Parish Council session went viral last month. Her fame led to an appearance in a New Forest District Council information video.

“At New Forest District Council they stream all their meetings now, live via YouTube,” he said. “I think we should look at doing that too.

“Of course, if people want to actually take part in a meeting they should attend in the normal way [via Zoom], but this would provide greater access to the public in the general.”

The idea was backed by fellow councillors, including Neil Tungate, who said it would further move the town council into the 21st century.

Cllr Keith Craze added: “We’re all about improving communication and involvement with the community.”

Town mayor Cllr Alvin Reid suggested the matter be referred to the finance and general purposes committee to discuss costs and how many cameras would need to be installed in the town hall.

Speaking at the end of the meeting, New Milton Residents’ Association chairman Alan Watson pointed out it could be “some while” before meetings return to the town hall.

He argued the council should follow the example of others across the country by recording and streaming the meetings it currently holds over Zoom. Cllr Reid confirmed this idea would also be discussed.

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