Ludlow Town Councillors will hold an urgent meeting on the growing threat of Covid-19 on Monday night. It will be held in the Methodist Church not the Guildhall, which is too cramped for meetings in our era of social distancing. It begins at 7pm. Members of the public can speak in the 15 minute (max) slot at the beginning of the meeting. Conventionally, public speakers are restricted to three minutes. Speaking is at the discretion of the mayor or his deputy.
The main items on the agenda are to allow flexible working for staff, including home working, and keeping our wonderful market thriving.
The agenda notes that “Only seven of the fifteen serving councillors are under 70 years of age. So, there is a high proportion of councillors in the high risk category.” It would be best to work online.
However, I see from my Shropshire Council emails that members must be physically present to vote. Shropshire Council is quorate with just three councillors present. But if I read the rules right, Ludlow Town Council must have five members to be quorate. Councils across the country are lobbying the government to amend the Local Government Act 1972 to allow remote decision making. We didn’t have the internet or Skype in 1972. I am not sure we had email. We do now and we should use them more.
Ludlow Town Councillors are being asked to close the public toilets and the Buttercross Museum until further notice. When the museum reopens, it will host temporary exhibition on the Weyman family.
The Town Clerk will get additional delegated powers for the period of the emergency.
Market pitch rates will be frozen at winter prices (they usually go up in summer).
Councillors are being asked to cancel Mayor Making, our annual pomp and circumstance. It is not required, though the election of the Mayor is an annual requirement.
There is no information on the May Fair or Spring Food Festival. No doubt we will hear about whether those will go ahead shortly. We must work within the constraints of public health advice. But Ludlow without the May Fair? Unthinkable.
There are no council elections in Shropshire this year. We work on a different schedule from most other councils. But the Police and Crime Commissioner election was due and that is now delayed to May 2021.
We live in unusual times.