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Cairngorms National Park Authority's first public virtual meeting hailed success

By Gavin Musgrove

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The Cairngorms National Park Authority has been congratulated on the success of its first teleconference meeting held in the public domain.

The CNPA's planning committee held its first ever virtual meeting which the public could access this morning, and everything ran smoothly.

The CNPA's first public teleconference in which two planning applications were debated ran smoothly.
The CNPA's first public teleconference in which two planning applications were debated ran smoothly.

There are now calls for park bosses to roll out its coverage so that it can better connect with the public.

Day time meetings can make it difficult for the public to attend.

And this combined with the length distances between venues because of the size of the national park means that most proceedings are often just watched by a handful of public members

CNPA board member Dave Fallows has argued for many years within the organisation that it should be providing more teleconferencing and webcasting which would allow the public to catch up on meetings at a later date.

He said after this morning's planning meeting: "Congratulations are in order for the park authority in getting live streaming going.

"It all went pretty smoothly and I believe was a major advance in connecting with the public.

"I’m aware that the intention is to repeat the process for the next board meeting but the authority’s strategic committees could, and should, also be included, with the obvious condition that some items need to be taken in confidence.

"Today, having set up and run this excellent planning broadcast, the authority moves on, this afternoon, to a finance and delivery committee. It is a pity that the ability to live stream wasn’t carried forward to the afternoon session.

Mr Fallows, also a former local Highland councillor, continued: "All in all, though, it’s a substantial turnaround in that the CNPA has become so much more accessible, whilst in Highland Council, who had previously streamed for years, almost all committee meetings have been abandoned and the chief executive officer (Donna Manson) rules the roost.

"Never mind the public not seeing decisions made - most Highland councillors aren’t either. Such is this topsy-turvy world."

A CNPA spokeswoman said: "The park authority has been working on delivering meetings in a virtual way for some time now and today’s meeting proved a success."

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