Richard Cooper the Leader of Harrogate Borough Council has voiced disappointment in the decision to move North Yorkshire to a local government structure of a new large monolith council for all of North Yorkshire, while retaining York as an existing unitary council.
Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for the Ministry o Housing, Communities and Local Government announced that they have decided to implement, subject to Parliamentary approval, the proposal for a single unitary council for the whole of the existing administrative county of North Yorkshire.
Councillor Richard Cooper, Leader of the Council, Harrogate Borough Council:
Naturally, I am disappointed at this decision and I will be interested in due course to read the government’s reasoning.
It is more appropriate to comment on how this odd decision, which flies in the face of the government’s own criteria, was reached after I have done that reading.
I have always been in favour of unitary government. It is less confusing for residents who will only have one council to go to for all services and it avoids the expense of duplication. My argument has always been that any unitary for our area needs to be of the right size and structure to deliver efficient and responsive services to residents.
The county council deliver some services exceptionally – children’s services and adult social care to name two. In other areas they let our borough down. My job now as the Leader of Harrogate Borough Council is to explore how the new unitary authority, based on the county structure, can improve these shortcomings.
I do not believe that many are bothered who empties their bins, cuts the grass, fills the potholes and provides all the other local services as long as they do it well. Making sure current services which are excellent continue at that high standard and ensuring those that are falling short improve is my primary concern.