Central Government consultation on Local Government Reorganisation in North Yorkshire

This is a very important consultation as two different structures for local government are being proposed, either a larger single authority (put forward by North Yorkshire County Council) or an East-West model (advocated by some of the District Councils, including Richmondshire District Council).   Central government appears to be intent on making changes so retaining the current 2 tiers (County and District levels) does not appear to be an option.

A major driver for central government is to reduce running costs.  Your Town Councillors however are concerned that the unitary proposal, which would remove the intermediate tier of District Councils, will reduce democratic accountability as the number of councillors will be significantly reduced.  A large, single authority covering all of North Yorkshire will be remote from the residents it serves and the smaller parish and town councils and service levels may be reduced.  Some services may be delegated to parish and town councils which may not have the financial and operational resources to provide them.

Whatever your views on this, your Town Councillors urge residents to take part in the consultation which can be accessed here https://consult.communities.gov.uk/governance-reform-and-democracy/northyorkshire/.  Responses can be submitted online, be email or in the post.  If you don’t have access to a printer, please contact the Town Clerk.

A summary of NYCC’s proposal is available here  www.northyorks.gov.uk/strongertogether

A summary of RDC’s proposal is available here https://www.richmondshire.gov.uk/news/news-archive/december-2020/full-business-case-for-reorganisation-model-submitted/

Richmondshire District Council’s proposal for the east-west model for local government in North Yorkshire

This week Councillor Angie Dale, Leader of Richmondshire District Council has written as follows:

As you will be aware the six district and borough councils of Craven, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby, have submitted a full business case for local government reorganisation to Government.

Our proposal is for an ‘East & West’ model, which would see Craven, Harrogate, Richmondshire and Hambleton join together to form a unitary council in the West, and Selby, City of York, Ryedale and Scarborough join together to form a unitary council in the East.

The Government has indicated that it is intending to consult on these proposals for reorganisation – and a second proposal from North Yorkshire County Council. This consultation will begin this month (February).

Key stakeholder organisations and local authorities will be asked for their opinions on two models:

  • The East & West model, which would create two balanced unitary authorities, with a population of 465,000 in the East, and 363,000 in the West
  • A unitary authority to cover the whole of North Yorkshire, representing 600,000 people and 3,000 square miles, leaving the City of York as a small unitary authority representing around 200,000 people.

Any local organisation, business or member of the public will also be able to respond to the consultation.

Many organisations across North Yorkshire and York have been supportive of the East & West model and we would like to thank all those who have written letters giving their views on it. We believe it will be better for businesses, residents and communities – for business and economy because it:

  • Gives balanced populations, demography and economic power – creating councils that are the right size to retain links with businesses and give businesses a strong voice
  • Maximises growth opportunities building on existing economic footprints
  • Delivers a fair and balanced Combined Authority – crucial to the success of devolution
  • Supports Covid-19 recovery
  • Unlocks the potential of York
  • Attracts investment to build on our strengths
  • Understands the importance of local places and businesses

Our detailed proposal can be found on the Get Change Right website.

We hope that you will take part in this important consultation when it is launched by Government. Local government reorganisation will affect the lives of all our residents; it’s crucial that we get change right. Your views are vital.

What Sort of Policing do Residents Want in North Yorkshire?

The North Yorkshire Police Fire and Crime Commissioner is asking North Yorkshire residents how much they are willing to pay in their council tax bill for North Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.  The survey began on 16 December and is open until midnight on Wednesday 13 January 2021.

The survey can be completed online at www.telljulia.info.

It can also be downloaded Download – Print out – Complete the Precept Survey 2021-22 and mail back FREEPOST and completed on paper and returned to the Freepost address.

After the Christmas break, the Town Council will seek to make copies of the form available from the Key Centre.

Local Government Reorganisation and How it may Affect North Yorkshire

Central government is undertaking a consultation for reorganisation of local government in parts of England, including North Yorkshire, at a time when all levels of government are  focussed upon Covid19.  The outcome of this review may have significant consequences for the future provision of local services and democratic accountability in our area of North Yorkshire so residents may wish to follow developments and contribute their own views.

Your Town Council convened a community meeting on 23 September 2020 to hear residents’ views and received a presentation from NYCC (RDC was invited but did not take part).  The approach to future arrangements put forward by our District and County Councils are quite different.

The submissions to central government made by the Town Council, Richmondshire District County and North Yorkshire County Council can be accessed by clicking the links.

Middleham Town Council

RDC – East-West Public summary

NYCC response to central government

Town Council submits comments to central government consultation on proposed changes to the planning system

Town Council response to the Government Consultation on proposed changes to the Planning System

Positive proposals that we support:

  • The additional support and facilitation for small self-build and community housing developments.
  • The additional measures to increase carbon neutral and other more environmentally sustainable measures within proposed developments.

Negative measures that we need to see changed or removed:

  • The reduction of the ability of local authorities and local people to influence planning policy and applications within their area of responsibility.
  • The proposed significant increase in central government’s role, amounting to their dictating housing targets remotely and the reduction of any meaningful local balance appropriate to regions and local council areas. This will make these decisions and the entire process even more remote from local people, which is undemocratic and retrograde.

Additional measures we would like to see within any reform:

  • Streamline the process for developing and approving Local Plans by local councils as Planning Authorities. This would enable them to be more flexible in responding to local needs and factors. The current process is overly bureaucratic and forms a barrier to local councils who are keen to be more agile and responsive to planning needs and changing circumstances.
  • Provide local councils with additional powers to make developers build on the land they already hold and to implement the approved developments within a stricter timeline to reduce land hoarding and increase actual houses built.

Details of this consultation can be found here:  Please note that this consultation has now closed.

A COMMUNITY MEETING to discuss local government reorganisation and potential benefits and risks of installing 5G in the Dales will be held on Wednesday 23rd September 2020

The Town Council invites you to hear presentations from Lucy Moss-Blundell, Stronger Communities Delivery Manager (Richmondshire) at NYCC and Michael Grayson, NYCC’s Programme Manager – Mobile Phone Coverage.  There will not be a formal vote on either matter; your Council wishes to create awareness of these key issues and hear your views before taking any decisions.

This will be held a virtual meeting using Zoom. You may join either by computer or telephone. https://zoom.us/j/99690563830?pwd=cVFhR1Vjd3N1Q0IrdlhkWUN6NzNPQT09

Telephone numbers 0203 901 7895 or 0208 080 6591 or 0208 080 6592 or 0330 088 5830 or 0131 460 1196 or 0203 481 5237 or 0203 481 5240

Meeting ID:  996 9056 3830

Passcode:                 563328

The meeting will last approximately 1 hour. THIS MEETING IS OPEN TO ALL RESIDENTS OF THE TOWNSHIP OF MIDDLEHAM

Richmondshire District Council publishes a leaflet on proposed local government reorganisation

The Minister of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Simon Clarke MP, wants local government in York and North Yorkshire to be reorganised and simplified. His vision is to see at least two unitary authorities (councils that provide all services currently provided by the county, borough and district councils) that would work together at a strategic level, as one combined organisation.

The ‘mega-size’ council is being proposed by the County Council. The Leaders of the district and borough councils in North Yorkshire have come together to oppose creation of a North Yorkshire mega-size council, and create a more practical alternative bid, based on more workable geographies, a grass-roots understanding of local communities, and respect for local democracy.

RDC has published a leaflet setting out the key issues and wants local councils to give their views.  Copies are available in the Key Centre reception area.  It can also be seen here GetChangeRightDemocracy.

This is an important consultation and the outcome of changes may affect the provision of local services and accountability.  Residents are encouraged to get involved and give their views.