Unitary decision will have “huge impact” on Richmondshire says council leader ahead of consultation deadline

The district council has proposed two North Yorkshire authorities should be created.

The leader of Richmondshire District Council has urged residents to take part in a consultation on plans to reorganise local government in North Yorkshire, saying the outcome will have a “huge impact” on the district.

Cllr Angie Dale has spoken out as the deadline nears for people to have their say on how the county’s local government will look in the future.

Earlier this year, Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick announced that two proposals from councils in the area would be taken forward as part of the Local Government Reorganisation process, the consultation into which closes on April 19.

North Yorkshire County Council has submitted a bid for one large authority to cover the county, with more powers passed on to town and parish councils.

City of York Council, itself already a unitary, would be left as it is under the proposals.

Six of the county’s seven district councils – Scarborough, Harrogate, Ryedale, Craven, Selby and Richmondshire – submitted a proposal dubbed the “East & West plan” that would see the county and York split in half to create two authorities of roughly the same population size under one Mayor.

Councillor Angie Dale, leader of Richmondshire District Council, has urged Richmondshire residents and businesses to take part in the consultation before the deadline.

She said: “This decision being made by the Government will have a huge impact on Richmondshire.

“Our own independent research clearly shows that a large majority of people across North Yorkshire would prefer our East & West model of local government reorganisation.

“This model is balanced for residents, businesses, communities and partners across the whole area.

“Richmondshire, Harrogate, Craven and Hambleton would join together to form a unitary authority of 363,000 people which fits the ideal population range for a unitary authority as set out in the Government guidelines.

“It gives better connectivity for those of working age across the two unitary authorities, which is better for financial sustainability.

“East and West also provides a better opportunity to level up standards in all our people-based services.

“It also protects and strengthens local democracy. Our proposal would see councillors with between 3,000 and 4,000 electors which fits comfortably with the Local Boundary Commission recommendation. The NYCC recommendation would have councillors representing over 5,000 people.

“And most importantly is practical and deliverable with significant savings possible.”

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

Subject to Parliamentary approval, it is expected that any new unitary council would be fully operational from April 2023 with transitional arrangements expected to be in place from 2022, including elections in May 2022 to the shadow or continuing councils.

To take part in the consultation visit www.gov.uk/government/consultations/proposals-for-locally-led-reorganisation-of-local-government-in-cumbria-north-yorkshire-and-somerset.