Under the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic Merton.TV made the decision to not attend future meetings on Sunday 22nd March 2020. We published this statement.
Merton Council reduced the number of members attending Cabinet to just three (legal minimum) and moved the meeting to the Council Chamber to allow the meeting to be recorded using the council equipment, and also provided more space for social distancing. The Monday 23rd March 2020 Cabinet Meeting can be found here.
On Wednesday 25th March 2020 Parliament enacted the Coronavirus Act 2020 allowing changes to Local Authority Meetings, see Coronavirus Act 2020 Section 78 for more details.
A Design Review Meeting was due to take place on Wednesday 25 March 2020, but it was cancelled and took place by email due to the lockdown. One of the three developments being discussed was a live application so the notes made on this development were made public in a report created 17 April 2020.
On Thursday 8th April 2020, the Merton Chamber of Commerce hosted a Zoom meeting titled Reach Out and Connect which included Merton Council CEO Ged Curran and Head of Revenues and Benefits David Keppler to announce support to local businesses.
On Tuesday 21 April 2020 the Merton Council Live Stream saw some changes, which under normal circumstances limits itself to broadcasting Peregrine Falcon’s nesting on top of the Merton Council Civic Centre in Morden.
A new YouTube channel Merton’s Falcons, was created to take over the Live streaming of the wildlife for the local Twitchers to continue viewing while leaving the official Merton Council Channel for actual council business.
On Thursday 23 April 2020, the Merton Council Democracy Services staff tested live-streaming ahead of the Cabinet meeting due to be broadcast five days later. In the Zoom broadcast were Julia Regan (Head of Democracy Services), Louise Fleming (Senior Democratic Services Officer), Amy Dumitrescu (Democratic Services Officer), Stella Akintan (Scrutiny Officer) and Rosie Mckeever (Scrutiny Officer).
Tuesday 28th April 2020 saw the first-ever live Merton Council Cabinet meeting taken on zoom and broadcast on YouTube.
A screenshot shared to social media (Twitter/Facebook) by Merton Council reveals there were at least three other users participating in yesterday’s Merton Cabinet meeting, the first Louise Fleming (Senior Democratic Services Officer) who we could hear (but not see) throughout the recording being the voice who announced any members indicating they wanted to speak. Louise is the Democratic Services Officer who attends all Cabinet Meetings and creates the minutes.
Also shown in the image is Louise Round – Managing Director of South London Legal Partnership (SLLP), the council’s in house legal team shared with Richmond, Kingston, Sutton and Wandsworth. Matt Burrows is the new Head of Communications and Customer Experience at Merton Council. Missing from the screenshot is Caroline Holland, Director of Corporate Services who spoke on the staffing and finance situation.
On 6 May 2020, we saw the first Licensing Sub-Committee addressing a business in Mitcham (BRS Brothers, 256 London Road, Mitcham, CR4 3HD) wanting to sell alcohol, in an already saturated and problematic area of Mitcham. The Metropolitan Police spoke against the proposal and explain that the application went against Mitcham’s Cumulative Impact Zone policy. The application was refused.
On Tuesday 12th May, Merton TV, along with other local groups signed an Open Letter to Merton Councillors & MPs asking for action on Walking and Cycling projects in Merton.
Thursday 14 May was the first Zoom virtual Planning Applications Committee. The members approved all four applications.
Overview and Scrutiny Commission Wednesday 20 May – A virtual meeting expected to be broadcast live on the Merton Council YouTube channel.
There was also a scheduled second virtual Cabinet meeting confirmed to be broadcast live on the Merton Council YouTube channel, but this has since been postponed.
Planning Applications Committee Wednesday 20 May – A virtual meeting broadcast live on the Merton Council YouTube channel.
Borough Plan Advisory Committee Thursday 4 June – A virtual meeting expected to be broadcast live on the Merton Council YouTube channel.
South West London and Surrey JHOSC Sub Committee Thursday 4 June – Sutton will be hosting the virtual meeting discussing the poorly name Healthcare Together 2020-2030 plans to removal local healthcare facilities.
Licensing Committee Tuesday 9th June – The second virtual meeting expected to be broadcast live on the Merton Council YouTube channel.
Cabinet Monday 15 June – With the previous meeting postponed, this is set to be the second virtual meeting expected to be broadcast live on the Merton Council YouTube channel.
Planning Applications Committee Thursday 18 June – A virtual meeting expected to be broadcast live on the Merton Council YouTube channel.
Overview and Scrutiny Committee Wednesday 24 June – The second scrutiny meeting expected to be broadcast live under the section 78 of the Coronavirus Act 2020.
Design Review Panel Thursday 30 July – This meeting will be held again by email, the first meeting was difficult to get the public details of the meeting. A number of Freedom of Information requests have been needed.
The Annual meeting of Merton Council which sees the Mayor of Merton being replaced has been delayed until Autumn.