The Mayor of Peterborough, Councillor John Fox, is sending the following information to councillors today:
"You will all be aware of the disruption caused by demonstrators at the council meeting on Wednesday (19 July), which led to my decision to adjourn the meeting for one week.
"This followed lengthy negotiations with the demonstrators by officers and the police. Ultimately, no agreement could be reached.
"Based on information from officers and the police, I feel I have grounds to expect a similar protest at the reconvened meeting on 26 July. There is no evidence that the circumstances around the protest have changed, if anything it may be on a larger scale. I believe that there is a strong possibility that the demonstration will be equally, or perhaps even more disruptive.
"As such, it is with the greatest reluctance that I have taken the decision, under my inherent powers as Chairman, to exclude the public from the council chamber and public gallery at the reconvened council meeting. I have come to this view after very carefully weighing up the needs to secure the safety of the public and members, and the need to ensure that the legitimate democratic processes of the council are not further frustrated. In forming this view I have taken the advice of officers, the police and the council’s legal officer.
"I am mindful that this is a very unusual step. In order to ensure that the public have access to the proceedings as they occur I have given instructions that arrangements for a livestream of the meeting to take place in the Bourges-Viersen Room for the public to view.
"Accredited members of the press and Councillors’ guests will be permitted into the Chamber as usual."