Plans approved to reduce number of Richmondshire councillors

Proposed changes to the number of councillors serving Richmondshire District Council have been approved.

Officials say the move us part of an ongoing drive to improve efficiency within the authority.

Members of Full Council on Tuesday gave their approval to plans to reduce the member count by ten – to 24 – from 2019.

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They were told the authority is now ‘oversized’ and could easily operate and function with a 29 per cent reduction in members – but still provide the right representation for the district’s residents.

Their recommendation will now be considered by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) – it will undertake consultation exercises with local bodies and residents to seek views before making a final decision.

“The council has seen significant changes since the last review in 1999 – both in how its members govern and how decisions are made,” said chief executive, Tony Clark.

“There are less meetings to attend – both internally and externally and our research shows that a base of 24 members will enable the council’s governance and decision making to operate effectively and efficiently.

“There is an ongoing drive to increase efficiency and productivity within the authority and our members believe that it is right that they should be part of this – they will become more efficient in how they use their time on council business and in their interactions with residents, officers and stakeholders.”

The LGBCE is expected to undertake consultation in June 2017 – with a final decision on the new structure in early 2018.