New proposals outlining the number of Harrogate district councillors for the new super authority leave voters “short changed”, says a county councillor.
Liberal Democrat cllr Philip Broadbank, who represents Harrogate Starbeck on North Yorkshire County Council, is to submit an alternative proposal to government so the borough is “better represented”.
Under current proposals, 89 councillors would sit on the new authority – of which 20 would be in Harrogate district.
This means that each councillor in Harrogate would represent on average 6,194 voters, compared with 5,329 across the county.
Cllr Broadbank said the plan was “not right” and that he will be submitting an alternative which will reduce the average number of people per ward.
“I’m proposing a new arrangement for Harrogate and Knaresborough. It will affect nowhere else.
“It feels like Harrogate is getting short changed. I’m just trying to get better representation for Harrogate and Knaresborough.”
Under his proposal, the number of councillors in Harrogate and Knaresborough would increase by one but reduce the average people in a ward to below 6,000.
It would also bring the total number of members on the unitary authority to the government’s maximum of 90.
Cllr Broadbank will put his proposal to senior county councillors on the executive on Tuesday. However, he said he intends to submit it to the government as well.
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Ministers at the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government will have the final say on how many new councillors are elected to the new authority.
‘Tinkering too much’ with the proposal
Meanwhile, Conservative Cllr Gareth Dadd, executive county councillor for finance, agreed that the district was “slightly underrepresented”.
However, he warned against “tinkering too much” with the proposal.
Cllr Dadd told a meeting of the Harrogate and Knaresborough constituency committee that he had been lobbied by other “interested groups in the county” to also change the number of councillors.
“If we succumb to the other two or three ‘lobby groups’, we could end up with 92 or 93 councillors. Where do you stop?
“It’s a debate to be had.”