County council elections postponed until May 2022


Feb 23, 2021

Local elections for North Yorkshire County Council have been postponed until May 2022.

It comes as the government has launched a consultation on plans to scrap the two-tier council system in the county.

The move would see both the county council and the seven districts, including Harrogate Borough Council, abolished and replaced with either one or two new unitary councils.

Robert Jenrick, secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, will consult on two proposals for the county. This year’s election is being delayed to avoid voters being asked to choose representatives for an authority that may be abolished within a year.

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Mr Jenrick said he would make a decision on which, if any, proposal to approve following the consultation.

He 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.”

Mr Jenrick added that should any of the models proposed be approved, councillors could be elected to the new unitary council or councils next year. If no decision is made, then the county council elections will take place as normal in May 2022.

He said:

“If a unitary proposal is implemented the rescheduled elections will be replaced by elections in May 2022 to the new unitary authority or authorities which could be in shadow form or a continuing council taking on the functions of the other councils in the area.”

The government said the decision to postpone the elections will avoid asking people to vote for local councillors while also asking them to give their views on possibly abolishing the council. It would also prevent councillors being elected on short terms.

While the county council elections will be postponed, elections for the local Police and Crime Commissioner will go ahead as normal on May 6.

Ministers are consulting on two opposing models for the future of local government in North Yorkshire. Six of the district councils in the county have proposed an east/west split made up of two councils.

It would see Craven, Harrogate, Richmondshire and Hambleton join together to form a unitary council in the West, with a population of 363,000, and Selby, City of York, Ryedale and Scarborough join together to form a unitary council in the East, with a population of 465,000. 

A rival model, submitted by North Yorkshire County Council and City of York, would see one unitary council for North Yorkshire with the York authority remaining in place.

The consultation will last until April 19. Residents and businesses can give their views on the proposals here.

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