Ryedale Council opt against legal challenge for government's single unitary authority decision

Ryedale Council has decided not to explore the option of a legal challenge to the Government’s decision to scrap North Yorkshire’s local authorities and replace them with one unitary council.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Friday, 30th July 2021, 3:10 pm
Updated Friday, 30th July 2021, 3:12 pm

Earlier this month, the government confirmed its intention to abolish North Yorkshire County Council and the district and borough councils in Harrogate, Scarborough, Selby, Craven, Ryedale, Hambleton and Richmondshire, and create a new council to take over services in 2023.

Six of the district councils, including Ryedale, had backed a rival East/West plan that would have seen two unitary councils created and absorbed the City of York Council.

Instead, the green light was given to the North Yorkshire County Council-backed single unitary proposal as part of the Local Government Reorganisation process.

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Ryedale House, where Ryedale Council meet.

Last night, the Independent Group’s Cllr Paul Andrews put an urgent motion in front of the council’s Policy and Resources Committee to discuss whether to take legal advice from a “leading London counsel” in regards to a possible challenge to the local government restructure.

He told the meeting that any challenge had to come in the next six weeks.

He said: “If this council is going to get a legal opinion so that all members can then later decide whether or not to do anything about it then that decision has to be taken now.

“If the council wants to leave it as it is then that is up to the council.

“And I would say, this is a matter of democracy. Why shouldn’t the residents of Scarborough have the right to run their own local services?

“Why shouldn’t the residents of Harrogate have a right to run their local services, and why shouldn’t the residents of Ryedale have the right to run their own local services? If you feel about democracy then you will support what I am saying.”

The committee, which runs the leaderless council, voted to not even debate the motion, ending Cllr Andrews’ hopes of a judicial review.