If rushing to an evening council meeting after work doesn't appeal, you can now catch up on local politics by watching it online from the comfort of your own home.

Webcasts of planning, street management and budget decisions have been available since last year and will continue to be available after a 12-month pilot was deemed a success.

Councillor Oonagh Moulton, leader of Merton Conservatives, who proposed the initiative last February, said: "It adds to transparency and democracy. That's why we originally put forward the motion and I supported it.

"Given that a lot of residents aren't attending public meetings in person, it does give them an opportunity to hear about issues that affect them."

The pilot, which cost £15,191, attracted an average of 696 viewings per meeting, with 2,100 tuning in for the full council meeting in May.

Coun Moulton said: "The cost needs to be kept under review, but what price do you put on democracy?

"Our parliament is broadcast and I think it's not a bad thing to webcast our council meetings so residents have greater transparency."

Broadcasts are controlled by an operator, who adds agenda points and speaker profiles to the webcast and is available to respond to any public queries.

Archived for six months, time-strapped residents can tune in at their convenience and follow links to any items of interest on the agenda.

Merton council cabinet agreed to continue webcasting at a meeting on January 20.

To tune in, visit www.merton.public-i-tv