Consultation on North Yorkshire unitary proposals begins

Photo: Benjamin Hopkins.

The Government has launched a consultation on two alternative plans for new unitary authorities in North Yorkshire.

Two options are being consulted on — two unitary authorities following the current North Yorkshire County Council and City of York Council areas and an east/west model.

The second proposal would see Richmondshire grouped together with Hambleton, Harrogate and Craven, while the other unitary authority would include Ryedale, Scarborough, Selby and York.

Councils in the county were invited to submit their ideas for moving from a two-tier system to a single tier by the government in October last year.

The consultation asks questions about each proposal around value for money, proposed geography of the council and impact of the proposal on local services.

As a result of the consultation launch, the district and county council elections due to be held in May this year will be rescheduled to May 2022.

Officials say that rescheduling local elections avoids the possibility of the electorate being asked to vote for councils while at the same time they are being given the opportunity to express their views on the possible abolition of those councils.

They say it also avoids members potentially being elected to serve short terms.

The elections for local Police and Crime Commissioners, as well as elections to any town or parish councils, will continue to take place in May 2021.

Residents of Cumbria and Somerset will also be consulted on separate unitary proposals.

Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said: “I have always been clear that any restructuring of local government must be locally-led and will not involve top-down solutions from government.

“Now that councils in Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Somerset have submitted their proposals, I am pleased residents, businesses and service providers will have the opportunity to have their say on what will work best for their area.

“Where there is local support, changing the structure of local government can offer better value for money and improved services for residents.”

Residents, councils, local enterprise partnerships, public service providers, businesses and voluntary organisations will be able to have their say on the plans.

The Local Government Secretary will consider all proposals following the consultation before making a decision about which option, if any, to implement.

This would then be subject to Parliamentary approval.

The consultation period will run for eight weeks until Monday, April 19.

Those responding may do so on the department’s online platform ‘Citizen Space’ or by email or post.

To take part in the consultation click here.