Government announces plans for a unitary council to cover the whole of North Yorkshire

Selby District Council logo

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 yesterday, 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.

The six district and borough councils of Craven, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby had joined together to propose an East & 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, and 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 & West proposal, and instead has accepted North Yorkshire County Council’s bid to create one council across the whole of the county.

Councillor Mark Crane, Leader of Selby District Council, said:

“We are disappointed that the Government has chosen to implement North Yorkshire County Council’s proposal to form one council across the whole of North Yorkshire.

“We did not believe in the need for any change to the current system, which we feel delivers excellent services to local residents. Additionally, the East & West model had a great deal of public support and 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, with one council covering an area bigger than as big as Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire combined. But it is now our job to make sure this works in every area across North Yorkshire. 

“We will work with all our partners to ensure the very best outcomes for our local residents, businesses and communities in the future. There is a great deal of hard work ahead of all of us, to make sure that our excellent services continue for the people of North Yorkshire, while we prepare for the new council to take shape by 2023. We will aim to ensure that the district and borough councils have a voice during the transition, so that local places and the interests of staff are represented.

“For 47 years, Selby District Council has supported local residents to live their best lives, kept the most vulnerable safe from harm and given the district a strong voice in regional and national discussions. We are hugely proud of the legacy that we will leave behind us as we enter into this next phase of local public service delivery.”

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.

The district and borough council leaders are: Cllr Richard Foster (Craven), Cllr Richard Cooper (Harrogate), Cllr Angie Dale (Richmondshire), Cllr Steve Siddons (Scarborough) and Cllr Mark Crane (Selby).