TWO council planning committees look set to be merged into one during the coronavirus crisis weeks after calls to make the move permanent were labelled as "stupid."

An extraordinary meeting of Malvern Hills District Council's (MHDC) has been called for this evening (March 24) where it is expected a temporary change to the authority's northern area and southern area planning committees which will see them both merged into a single committee until further notice.

The move comes despite some councillors rejecting a call to merge two committees last month.

A report, due to be discussed by the district council later this evening, said a single planning committee would require any ten of the 38 district councillors to attend to allow for meetings to go ahead and decisions to be made.

The council said it would be easier to find ten councillors if there was one meeting open to everybody.

The council is also set to suspend public speaking at its meetings for safety reasons.

Former council leader Councillor David Chambers has reignited his previous call for MHDC's northern and southern planning committees to be merged into a single body, which he says will lead to better outcomes for residents and the council.

Former southern area planning chairman Cllr Paul Tuthill, who is no longer a district councillor but sits on Worcestershire County Council and Malvern Town Council, called the idea "stupid."

Worcester City Council and Wychavon District Council both only have one planning committee meeting which decides on several applications each month.

The council’s northern planning committee is currently chaired by Cllr John Michael with Cllr Julie Wood chairing the southern planning committee. Both receive £2,218.50 extra on top of their basic councillor allowance each year for the role.