BOSSES at North Yorkshire County Council will today (January 17) unveil details of a business plan which will support the creation of a single tier of local government for North Yorkshire - a move that could see local democracy moving even further away from residents.
the challenges of the future mean that we cannot stand still
A New Council for North Yorkshire Report
Councillors will decide at a special meeting next week whether to submit the plan to the government - If it is submitted and accepted by ministers the plan will lead to abolition of District Councils across North Yorkshire.
The plan - "A New Council for North Yorkshire" - envisages the creation of a single unitary council in place of the existing eight authorities - the seven district councils, and the county council itself. It describes the government's invitation to councils to submit bids as "a golden opportunity."
The decision on whether to submit the plan to the government will be taken by a full meeting of county councillors next Tuesday. The deadline for submissions is Thursday January 25.
The last time a unitary authority was proposed for North Yorkshire most District Councils rejected the idea in favour of merging with neighbouring councils, yet in the foreword to the plan, the county council states: "the challenges of the future mean that we cannot stand still.
"It is therefore important that we seize this golden opportunity that now arises to harness all of the skills and resources across local government to do an even more effective job, to provide an even stronger voice for the people of North Yorkshire, and to shape our services around the local communities that we serve.
"We believe that this proposal will make a real difference to the people of North Yorkshire and create a council ready for the challenges of the future."
An electronic copy of the Plan will be posted on the county council's website - www.northyorks.gov.uk - from tomorrow.
This is little more than blatant empire building by NYCC. The future challenge is to enable communities accross the dales to have more control over their day to day lives by passing greater responsibility down to Parish Councils and local groups. The "golden opportunity" is merely to inflate the egos (and expenses claims) of county councillors and NYCC officials.
Ian Fleming - Horton in Ribblesdale