The Government has announced that local councils in North Yorkshire will be reorganised to form one council across the whole of the county, covering a population of 618,000.
The announcement, made in Parliament today (July 21), leaves York as a separate, small unitary council with 211,000.
The Government decision follows a consultation held earlier this year on the future of local government in North Yorkshire and York.
Government ministers had told councils in July 2020 that they wished to see local government in the area reorganised into unitary councils, which would provide all services to residents.
Six of the seven district and borough councils – Craven, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby – had joined together to propose an East and West model of local government.
Craven, Harrogate, Richmondshire and Hambleton would have formed a unitary council in the West, with a population of 363,000. Selby, City of York, Ryedale and Scarborough would have formed a unitary council in the East, with a population of 465,000.
However, the Government has decided not to implement the East and West proposal, and instead has accepted North Yorkshire County Council’s bid to create one council across the whole of the county.
Councillor Angie Dale, Leader of Richmondshire District Council, said: “I am extremely disappointed that the Government has chosen to create one huge council across the whole of North Yorkshire.
“This is not the best option for our district or the county. The East and West model would have created two balanced unitary authorities, with similar population sizes and economic strengths. It would also have unlocked the potential of York, by including the city within the proposals for reorganisation.
“We will now have the most ‘un-local’ local government in the country. But we will work together to make sure this new system of local government works for the residents and businesses of Richmondshire and for North Yorkshire. There is a great deal of hard work ahead of us, to make sure that our excellent services continue as we prepare for the new council to take shape by 2023. I will make sure that our district has a voice during the transition, so that local places and the interests of our staff are represented.”
North Yorkshire County Council and the district and borough councils of Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby will continue to operate until March 2023.
After this, they will cease to exist and the new unitary authority will come into operation. Council staff will continue to be employed by their current council until March 2023, after which the vast majority will be transferred to the new authority.