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Coronavirus outbreak forces Highland Council to postpone committee meetings and member workshops

By Scott Maclennan

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Highland Council convenor Bill Lobban.
Highland Council convenor Bill Lobban.

HIGHLAND Council has postponed all committee meetings and member workshops due that were due to take place in March and April over coronavirus.

The only exceptions at the moment are the quasi-judicial planning and licensing committees which have statutory obligations to conclude applications within a specific time-frame.

Already this week the inaugural tourism committee has been cancelled, which was due to discuss the long-awaited tourist tax, and so too has the pensions committee and board.

Next week the audit and scrutiny committee has also been postponed with chairman Councillor Graham Mackenzie anticipating that the agenda will be rolled into the scheduled June meeting.

Convener of Highland Council Bill Lobban said: "The decision has been taken in response to the Prime Minister and First Minister's announcements on Monday afternoon, and the guidelines that have been issued thereafter.

"This will also free up key staff to focus on the Council's emergency resilience response to Covid-19. The situation will be kept under constant review to ensure consistency with national guidelines."

Chairman of the licensing committee Cllr Andrew Jarvie said: "We are looking at mechanisms that would allow the smallest number of committee members and officers take decisions to limit unnecessary gatherings.

"However, as we are restricted by time limitations on applications that has complicated matters, this is ongoing work at the moment."

The meetings currently affected are:

Tourism Committee – March 18

Pensions Committee and Board – March 19

Appeals Sub-Committee – March 20

Audit and Scrutiny Committee – March 26

Waste Strategy Working Group – March 29

Crown Estate Funding Members Workshop – March 25

Climate Change Working Group – March 25

* Click here for more on coronavirus.

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