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The new North Yorkshire council launches on Saturday – what will change?

Wednesday, 29 March 2023 13:14

By Thomas Barrett, Local Democracy Reporter

After years of preparation, a new unitary council for North Yorkshire is set to finally launch on Saturday.

But the answer of what will change for residents is probably not much.

Bins will still be collected on the same day, planning applications will still be processed and grass will be cut — just the name of the council on your council tax bill will be different.

North Yorkshire Council has been billed as a brand new authority although in many ways it will appear as a continuity council of North Yorkshire County Council.

The elected leader, Cllr Carl Les, will be the same, as will his cabinet of Conservative councillors.

Richard Flinton, who has been the North Yorkshire County Council chief executive since 2010 will also have the same role at the new council.

The county council already has responsibility for key matters like education, roads and health & social care and it’s these areas where residents are likely to see the smallest difference.

Most meetings will be held in Northallerton although some, such as planning committees and area constituency committees, will be held locally.

Councillors who were elected to serve on North Yorkshire County Council last May will sit on the council for the next four years.

Officers working behind the scenes to create North Yorkshire Council have promised a seamless transition of services that were run by Harrogate Borough Council and Craven District Council. The vast majority of staff will transfer to the authority and continue in their previous roles.

The reorganisation was the decision of central government with an aim of streamlining structures and cutting costs but Cllr Les told a meeting in January that he can not guarantee that there won’t be job redundancies in the future.

A new website will launch on Saturday where residents can do things such as report potholes, submit planning applications or pay council tax.

Residents will no longer pay council tax to Harrogate Borough Council/Craven District Council and North Yorkshire County Council and there will be a 4.99% increase on last year’s bill. This equates to an increase of £83.64 for an average Band D property.

Perhaps the most visible change for residents will be branding. A new logo has been created for North Yorkshire Council and adding this to bin lorries, libraries, registrar offices and various other places used by the authority. The changes will cost an estimated £400,000.

The Conservatives have dominated local politics in Harrogate and Craven in recent times but the balance of power in Northallerton is more finely balanced.

The party is still far and away the largest party with 44 councillors but their majority is just two over the other parties. Another by-election loss, like seen in Masham & Fountains in January, would threaten the Tories’ overall control of the council.

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