Liberal Democrats call for a Harrogate Town Council

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The leaders of the Liberal Democrat Groups on both Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council have written a joint letter to the respective council leaders calling for action to be taken to form a Harrogate Town Council when reorganisation sees the demise of the present Borough Council.

Cllr Pat Marsh, Lib Dem group leader on Harrogate Borough, said:

It seems almost certain now that the days of two-tier government are numbered and that the Borough Council will soon be dissolved, with powers and responsibilities transferred to a new unitary authority. I believe that it is essential that services that apply to Harrogate only are devolved to a local level and to do that we will need to form a new town council, along the same lines as Ripon City Council and Knaresborough Town Council.

 

Cllr Geoff Webber, Lib Dem group leader on North Yorkshire County Council, added:

We must insist on the maintenance of local democracy when the Borough Council is subsumed into a larger unitary authority. Whilst we must be careful not to set up another system of two-tier government under different name, a town council would provide some degree of local accountability and a local input into the management of local services.

 



Joint letter to council leaders reproduced below:

From:

Cllr Pat Marsh

Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group

Harrogate Borough Council

 

Cllr Geoff Webber

Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group

North Yorkshire County Council

 

To:

Cllr Richard Cooper

Council Leader (copy to Chief Executive)

Harrogate Borough Council

 

Cllr Carl Les

Council Leader (copy to Chief Executive)

North Yorkshire County Council

 

4th November 2020

Dear Council Leaders

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REORGANISATION

Today’s council meetings have respectively approved the submission of both the east/west and the unitary county option to the government. Both Harrogate and North Yorkshire now await further information and guidance from the Secretary of State. What ever option is chosen by the government it seems a reasonable assumption that a Harrogate Town Council should be formed to provide democratic accountability at the lowest level and administer some very local services. We understand this is triggered by the principal authority initiating a Community Governance Review.

We also understand that the new principal authority will not be formed until 2022 at the earliest and may not become effective until 2023. That being the case we believe that the planning to start a review should be initiated in the very near future, immediately post New Year at the latest, to avoid undue delays when the new principal authority is in a position to offer delegated services and budgets.

We request that either Harrogate Borough Council or North Yorkshire County Council, or preferably both working together, start to make plans now to carry out a Community Governance Review and that the review be put into effect as soon as the government has decided on their preferred option.

Yours sincerely

Cllr Pat Marsh

Cllr Geoff Webber


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