Unitary change means ‘effective local democracy is dead’ in North Yorkshire, councillors claim

Photo: Benjamin Hopkins.

The decision to move to a single unitary authority for North Yorkshire means effective local democracy is dead, Richmondshire councillors have claimed.

The two members of the  Green Party and Independent Group on Richmondshire District Council have spoken out about the change announced this week by the Government.

The decision will mean the county’s district councils will be abolished from April 2023, with a single unitary authority responsible for all services.

The councillors say the change will give all powers to the Conservative controlled county council.

Cllr Leslie Rowe said: “In our opinion, the so called ‘consultation’ was nothing more than a smoke screen.

“It is just a pity that the district councils spent thousands of pounds identifying a realistic alternative that had no chance of success.

“This local government reorganisation will leave North Yorkshire with the worst local democratic representation in Europe.”

Cllr Rowe said each new unitary councillor would be representing about 8,000 voters.

“This is not what we would call local or democracy.

“Even worse, it is proposed that both the unitary authorities in North Yorkshire and York would answer to one, all powerful mayor, who would have the last word on everything.

“The rural communities like Richmondshire would suffer the most, being remote from the main urban centres of York, Harrogate and Scarborough.

“Even now, these urban centres gobble up most of the resources.

“With these proposals, effective local democracy in North Yorkshire is dead.”

Cllr Kevin Foster said he felt was a very sad day for residents in Richmondshire.

“Residents constantly complain to me about the amount of housing development in Richmondshire.

“This reorganisation makes planning oversight much more remote, which will definitely help developers build more houses that serve their need and not those of residents.

“It will be a very sad day when the lights are turned out for the last time at Richmondshire District Council and my thoughts are with the staff that now face a very uncertain future.”


  1. Does this lack of democracy mean that you will not be wasting another hundred thousand pounds of our money on a bike race. maybe someone in the future may think that truck drivers should be treated as human beings.Back to the diverse bike race,would anyone on the council put fifty quid of their own money on race day being nice and sunny to show off the countryside, doubt it.

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