TRAFFORD Council is to become more transparent by allowing public questions and, for the first time, some meetings to be webcast.

The authority has approved a proposal to change its constitution in a bid to ‘improve’ scrutiny and to encourage ‘openness’.

Further changes include reducing the amount of signatories for a petition to be debated in public from 3,000 to 300 – and the number of members needed to sign a motion is now two.

Council bosses say this will allow for smaller political parties to take part in the process.

Members of the authority’s full council approved the report on Wednesday.

However, during a previous meeting Cllr Karen Barclay, shadow member for constitutional reform, was concerned about questions being allowed during planning and licensing meetings.

“If they are I don’t think the meetings would get started – and besides they are already tightly regulated,” she said.

“Also, if officers are going to decide which questions are to be put forward, it is only right the rejected ones are made public.

“It may also be appropriate for a member to sponsor a question because that would provide a safety barrier so we know it is a legitimate one.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Mike Freeman, portfolio holder for constitutional reform, disagreed with some of the comments.

He said: “Any question asked will be at the discretion of the chairman – therefore it’s about how the chair handles that meeting.

“We don’t own this council, the public does – and it’s high time that residents and backbenchers are allowed to ask questions.”

The new webcast facility will start next month – and to subscribe – visit