TRAFFORD Council has apologised after its executive meeting was not recorded or streamed last Monday – and has responded to suggestions of 'a lack of transparency'.

The meeting, attended by executive councillors from the Labour Group and other councillors from all parties, considered controversial issues including a relief road in Carrington and school places across the borough.

But because of technical issues, residents were unable to follow these considerations from home.

Councillor Nathan Evans, leader of the Conservative Group, took to Twitter the following morning to ask Trafford Council for a full explanation.

He used hashtags to suggest the technical issues were 'convenient'.

His suggestion was echoed by Sue Carroll, the chair of Healthwatch in Stockport, who compared the situation in Stockport to the one in Trafford.

She responded: "Having lived in Stockport, I'm horrified at the lack of transparency in Trafford."

She added all meetings at Stockport Council are recorded and streamed, with residents able to sign up for reminders before meetings are starting.

The Messenger put these suggestions to a spokesperson for Trafford Council, who apologised for the technical issues in the town hall, before explaining these are not likely to be resolved soon due to the cost involved.

They said: "We apologise we were unable to record and stream the executive meeting on Monday.

"We record and stream the majority of our meetings, although there is no legal obligation for us to do so, and we have endeavoured to maintain this by bringing in external providers to record and stream meetings when we have had to hold meetings outside the usual venues."

"Given the number of councillors and officers who are required to attend and the need to social distance due to Covid, we held the executive meeting in the council chamber as this was our only option at the town hall.

"This followed Covid safety advice from our health and safety and public health team.

"We have been having serious technical issues with the system we use in the council chamber and other meeting rooms in the town hall and are looking to find a long term solution to these problems.

"However, the solution will require a considerable injection of capital and will not be available in the short term."

The spokesperson said the council arranged for its external providers to record and stream the meeting, but staff illness stopped them from doing so.

They stressed the process of recording and streaming is not as simple as it might seem.

They said: "Webcasting from the town hall due to cyber security requirements is not a simple process and requires specialist equipment and software.

"Going forward, we are working on putting in place a solution which will enable us to continue to webcast and record all our committee meetings, subject to wider considerations as to cost. All our committee decisions will of course continue to be published on our website."