Call to hold Harrogate town council elections next year
Nov 20, 2023
Photo of Harrogate town centre, showing Bettys and Cambridge Crescent.

A Liberal Democrats councillor has called for elections to be held for a future Harrogate town council in May 2024 rather than 2025.

In July, North Yorkshire Council agreed to pause work on the new council to undertake a third public consultation about how it will be formed.

Harrogate and Scarborough are the only two areas in the county without a parish council and the council is creating them at the same time.

But the Lib Dems have raised concerns that another consultation will mean a longer wait for Harrogate residents to be represented on a town council.

Harrogate Town Council would have far fewer powers than North Yorkshire Council or the former Harrogate Borough Council but it could run some local services.

Philip Broadbank

Cllr Philip Broadbank

Cllr Broadbank, who represents Fairfax and Starbeck, raised the subject at a meeting in Northallerton last week.

He asked if Harrogate could be treated separately from Scarborough and if the process could be speeded up so elections can take place in six months’ time.

Cllr Broadbank said:

“Whilst new warding proposals for Scarborough will of course be new and take longer to formulate, boundaries for Harrogate town already exist.

“A consultation on whether Harrogate has single member or two member wards can be done quickly and allow elections next year rather than 2025 as currently envisaged.”

However, his proposal was knocked by Conservative executive member for corporate services David Chance, who said a decision had already been taken by councillors in July.

Cllr Chance said:

“The proposals for Harrogate and Scarborough have been brought forward together and delivered in tandem to deliver parity in our approach.”

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Last month, the council revealed the winners and losers of the 12 ‘double-devolution’ bids from parishes that would like to take control of assets in their areas.

These included Ripon City Council, which wants to take over the running of assets including the town hall and market square.

Knaresborough Town Council has been invited to develop a business case to run the town’s weekly market.

Harrogate was excluded from the process because it doesn’t have a parish council. If a Harrogate Town Council were created, it could bid to run services in the town such as looking after its parks or the Stray, operating car parks or managing the Royal Hall.

It has previously been suggested by North Yorkshire Council that residents would pay between £40 and £60 on top of their council tax each year to pay for the new council.

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