New era begins in North Yorkshire
April 1, 2023
Biggest towns will have remote control
Abolished are the seven huge district councils — Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby — which were formed in 1974 by the amalgamation of municipal boroughs, urban and rural districts and placed within a new county-wide authority of North Yorkshire County Council.
As the district authorities disappear, the county authority, North Yorkshire County Council, has been reformed as a "unitary authority" — one that is massively bigger than any other such authority in the country, but taking on the local responsibilities as well as those county-wide.
It will leave North Yorkshire's two largest towns,
North Yorkshire is about three-and-a-half times bigger than Yorkshire's previous largest unitary authority, East Riding of Yorkshire.
North Yorkshire is the largest county in England, covering around 3,085 square miles and including around 500 towns and villages and one small city.
The fastest road journey from North Yorkshire's westernmost village,
Changes will include the establishment of 30 community networks to help set local priorities at North Yorkshire Council as it makes budget savings. A total of 731 Parish and Town Councils across North Yorkshire are also likely to be making a greater contribution to local services. Harrogate and Scarborough are the only towns where these have yet to be established.
Other changes that more than 0.6 million residents will notice will be access to all council services across North Yorkshire through one telephone number, however the new council says there will be a main office in each of the former districts, supported by around 30 new additional local access points across the county.
There was public consultation on the unitary authority plans back in 2021 which produced just short of 4,300 responses, that including public bodies and voluntary organisations as well as from the 600,000-plus general population. The status quo was not an option and the unitary North Yorkshire plan was favoured over one that would have scrapped the county of North Yorkshire and divided it into a western area combining Craven, Harrogate, Richmondshire and Hambleton and an eastern area including Scarborough, Selby and Ryedale districts while controversially also including York, which is already a unitary authority and has a proud and long history of having its own city council.
City of York continues to be a separate unitary authority under the implemented plan. North Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service continue to also include the City of York unitary authority area.