Good news for members of the Leeds public interested in observing council debates and decision-making: over half a million pounds is going to be spent on a new, purpose-built venue in the Civic Hall for meetings that are open to the public.
As a report going to a meeting of the council’s executive next Wednesday (16th July) notes, there have been long-standing issues with the rooms where the council’s planning and licensing committees, watchdog scrutiny boards and executive board currently meet.
There regularly hasn’t been room for all the members of the public who have wanted to attend, which has led to “complaints about the Council not being open and transparent”, the report says.
Problems too with air-conditioning and heating, and noise from the street below, which is home to A&E at the LGI.
Council bosses are being asked to endorse spending £550,000 on a much larger venue in a quieter part of the building, with much more seating for the public.
What the new room is also going to have is “new audio visual equipment … capable of supporting the recording of meetings”.
While no specific mention is made of plans to broadcast meetings from the new venue, it seems pretty unthinkable that they won’t take the opportunity to kit out the new, purpose-built space out so that key decision-making meetings held there can be relayed live on the internet as currently happens with monthly meetings of full council (its formal, debating chamber).
The new room “will create a new larger modern fit for purpose committee room facility which will fully meet its democratic responsibilities and meet public expectations within the Civic Hall, which is the central democratic hub of the council,” the report says.
Good news all round.