COUNCIL officers are being given sweeping new powers to make decisions during the COVID-19 health crisis if councillors have to self-isolate and are unable to hold meetings.

In Trowbridge, councillors last week gave the town council's chief executive and town clerk Lance Allan emergency powers to make decisions on their behalf.

They approved five recommendations delegating decision-making to Mr Allan and other officers in the event they may not be able to meet.

These included "all necessary actions required" to continue the council's activities and to respond to the requirements of the government, Wiltshire Council, and other appropriate authorities.

Officers will have authority to make decisions on finances, human resources, meetings and other matters.

Trowbridge council has cancelled or postponed meetings except for its annual meeting on May 19 which has to be held but needs only seven councillors to be present instead of the usual 21.

All non-urgent and non-contractural spending is being suspended and responses to planning issues have been delegated to Mr Allan during the current crisis.