County to draw up plans for single North Yorkshire council


Jul 30, 2020
North Yorkshire County Council's headquarters in Northallerton

North Yorkshire County Council will draw up plans for a single authority to serve the county in a move which would see Harrogate Borough Council scrapped.

It comes as part of local council reorganisation plans requested by the government in order to reach a devolution deal. Earlier this week, NYCC said it would bid for more than £2 billion of investment as part of the shake-up of local government.

Simon Clark, local government minister, told council leaders across the county earlier this month that a change in the number of councils will be required for any devolved powers to be agreed.

It would mean that the county council and its seven districts, including Harrogate Borough Council, would be scrapped and replaced with a single authority which would provide services for the entire county.

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The move would see the new council work alongside City of York Council in a proposed devolution deal. 

A final decision on whether to submit the bid to government for a unitary authority will be made by the council’s executive at a later date. Councils have until September to submit any proposal.

Cllr Carl Les, leader of North Yorkshire County Council, said:

“The timing is critical as we drive post-pandemic recovery and York and North Yorkshire need to act now to ensure we are not left behind.

“We have therefore today instructed officers to put together a business case for a single strong, sustainable council for everyone in North Yorkshire, based on the current map and population.

“Not only will a single council based on the county’s current identity, simplify things for people and businesses – renewing our economic fortunes following the shock delivered by the pandemic – it will protect and strengthen high-quality frontline services.

“It will also unleash the county’s potential and deliver very significant financial savings by ending duplication, improving efficiency and driving innovation.

“We estimate savings in excess of £25m every year, offering the best value for money for everyone. No other bid would be able to match these benefits. Equally importantly it will protect a global and recognised brand which is crucial for our visitor economy.”

Devolution bid

Meanwhile, county councillors pressed ahead with proposals for a devolution deal earlier this week when the executive agreed a list of “asks” worth £2.4 billion.

More powers over transport, skills, regeneration and energy are included in the submission, as well as a mayoral funding pot worth £750 million over 25 years.

All councils across the county have to agree to the submission before it can be put on the table to government.

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