In-person Hartlepool council meetings return with move to new venue
Hartlepool is to host its annual council meeting next week by marking the return of in-person meetings for the first time since lockdown.
The Hartlepool Borough Council annual meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 25, at the Borough Hall, on the Headland, starting at 7pm.
The meeting will see the council leader, deputy leader and ceremonial mayor elected for the coming year along with appointments to committees being made.
The historic Borough Hall is being used, instead of the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road, to enable social distancing to be maintained.
Denise McGuckin, the council’s managing director, said: “With social distancing guidelines still being in place, a large meeting like this can’t be held in the council chamber at the Civic Centre.
“An alternative venue had to be found to enable social distancing, so it was agreed that the most suitable place was Hartlepool Borough Hall.”
A small number of members of the public will be able to watch the proceedings with spaces being available on a first come, first served basis.
Over the past year council meetings have had to be held remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic and have been streamed live via YouTube.
The last time a full council meeting of all councillors was held in person was February 2020.
The meeting will also mark the first since the local elections, with all 36 councillors elected invited to attend.
They will vote on who they want to be leader and deputy leader for the coming year, along with deciding who will be chair and vice chair of each committee.
“Positive conversations” have been held between Conservatives and independents over a coalition being formed, which looks set to lead the council for the coming year.
Labour Group leaders said they will “support this new administration in any way they can for the benefit of the town” and have put forward councillors for a range of positions on the council.
A decision will also be made on who will be ceremonial mayor, who acts as chair of council, and their deputy.
A recording of the meeting will be made available on the council’s website at www.hartlepool.gov.uk.
Those wishing to attend should phone (01429) 523568 or (01429) 532013 by midday on Monday, May 24, and details will be taken for NHS Test and Trace.