THE Government decision to end virtual council meetings in May has been described as a ‘disappointment’ and ‘an opportunity missed’ by the Dorset Council leader.

Cllr Spencer Flower told a full online council meeting that it was 'a missed opportunity to embrace change'.

“This is not about putting all local authority meetings online, it’s about giving local government the flexibility of what works for us and which of our meetings are best suited to being in person, and which online,” he said.

He said that a High Court case would decide this Wednesday, what constitutes ‘attendance’ at a meeting and Dorset Council would wait the outcome of the case before deciding what to do next.

The council has already said that it has no meeting rooms where full council, or committees, can meet and comply with Covid regulations, and had failed to find any public premises big enough to hold them – leaving the authority questioning how it is supposed to comply with the Government rules between May and the third week in June when, all being well, indoor meetings will again be allowed.

The council has also surveyed its member about their views on retaining virtual meetings.