Scarborough and Harrogate are the only parts of the county not to have a parish or town council.
North Yorkshire County Council say they are seeking the opinions of residents of Harrogate and Scarborough on the principles to create new town councils. This is the second consultation, and is a consultation on the structure of what a council would look like, and not what it does.
Currently, there is not an understanding as to what a new town council for Harrogate would actually do, or the exact additional costs.
North Yorkshire County Council have said that they expect a Harrogate Town Council to cost between £40 to £60 per year for a Band D property, meaning an additional £1m to £1.6m would be collected from the taxpayer.
Some structure has been developed following an initial consultation, such as 10 wards with 19 councillors. But there is little detail as to what the Harrogate Town Council will do, just plenty of conjecture what the council could do.
The public are now being asked to comment on the structure of a Harrogate Council, rather than anything that it would functionally do. The plan is to then take the comments on that draft plans, develop a greater level of detail of what the council will do, then put that to full council in July 2023, likely with the statement that it has support from Harrogate.
The approach being adopted ensures that Harrogate does not have a voice in what the Harrogate Council will actually do. In the first consultation there were suggestions, but nothing concrete.
In essence, county council is asking the people of Harrogate to comment on the makeup of a new element of local council, but not have comment on what its power would be.
North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for corporate services, Cllr David Chance, said:
The new North Yorkshire Council will cover a large, diverse geographical area and aims to be the most local authority in the country. We are committed to working with town and parish councils, and other partners, to support communities in driving local action and priorities.
Having received strong support in the initial consultation for the creation of new parishes and councils to serve them, we are keen to hear views from as many residents as possible on the detailed proposals we are now putting forward.
If you took part in the first consultation, please share your views again on these detailed proposals. This is a separate consultation, so please make sure your views on the proposals are taken into account by completing the survey.
The consultation is open and will run until Friday, 5 May 2023. Residents can take part at https://online1.snapsurveys.com/gk8nbd
With further information at www.northyorks.gov.uk/CGR
Alternatively, you can request a paper copy of the survey by calling 01609 536400 between 9.30am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The town councils would be formed for administrative purposes from April 2024, and the first elections would be on 2 May 2024, when councillors would be elected for a reduced term of three years. Elections would then take place every four years from 2027.