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Keighley Council meeting filming is planned
Keighley Town Council could allow its meetings to be ‘professionally’ filmed for the first time if its members accept a recommendation this evening.
They will decide on a resolution proposed by the council’s policies and governance committee, which comes in the wake of a dispute that saw 11 members of the public removed from a council meeting by police.
They were escorted out of the July full meeting after refusing to stop filming proceedings.
The parishioners argued they were legally entitled to film, citing support for their stance from government minister Eric Pickles and Keighley MP Kris Hopkins.
However, the council countered the members of the public had broken the council’s standing orders, which currently prohibit the filming and recording of meetings.
The recommendation to go before tonight’s meeting says the rules should be amended to enable the council to arrange to film its meetings professionally.
It also states members of the public wishing to do their own filming must obtain permission from the council at least seven days in advance, and abide by protocols to cover issues, such as filming of minors.
Responding to the recommendation, Mr Hopkins said: “To say I’m baffled some councillors are proposing to waste yet more public money by paying professional film-makers to show them in action is something of an understatement.
“What are they going to do with the footage? Show it in cinemas or pay-per-view TV? Set up a DVD stall in Keighley market?
“I would respectfully suggest the council allows whoever wants to film them to simply do so. If it has nothing to hide, it has nothing to fear.”
Ingrow resident Elizabeth Mitchell, one of the people ejected from the council meeting in July, said the new recommendations did not go far enough.
“They do not satisfy our call for transparency,” she said. “If the council carries out its own filming, our fear is it will just be like the minutes of their meetings – edited highlights.
“They also mention we’d have to abide by these ‘protocols’, but we don’t know what the protocols are.”
Mrs Mitchell is a member of the Cavetown Council group, which is fiercely critical of the way the council is run. The group has organised a petition calling for parishioners to be allowed to film the council’s public meetings, which so far has accumulated about 1,300 signatures.
Town clerk Miggy Bailey this week asked whether Mr Hopkins, in his latest comments about the filming row, wanted the council to fail.
She said: “He is contradictory in that he wants public access to filming, but not for the council to make videos available to everyone, just those who film privately and then can choose or choose not to distribute it.
“The process of making decisions is not a matter for public entertainment.”
Today’s meeting begins at 6.30pm in Keighley Town Hall.
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