‘Sad but also excited’: Scarborough Council bids farewell to residents before authority is abolished as part of shake-up
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The new North Yorkshire Council will take over responsibility for local services on April 1 – vesting day – with borough and district councils as well as North Yorkshire County Council set to be abolished.
The local government shake-up also aims to see the creation of a new Scarborough Town Council for the currently unparished areas of the borough.
If there are no major changes to the plans, Scarborough Town Council will have an electorate of around 28,000 people with the parish set to retain a mayor and will have the opportunity to take on responsibility for “any assets formerly belonging to Scarborough Council” such as the Town Hall.
Until a town council is created then the charter trustees – the councillors on North Yorkshire Council representing the electoral divisions in the unparished areas – will continue to carry out ceremonial duties and will be dissolved once a town council is established.
The six charter trustees are Cllrs Eric Broadbent, Liz Colling, Janet Jefferson, Rich Maw, Tony Randerson, and John Ritchie.
One of the trustees, the mayor of the borough, Cllr Eric Broadbent, will complete his current mayoral term of office on March 31 when Scarborough Council is dissolved.
Reflecting on the upcoming changes he said: “To a certain degree I’m sad, but I’m also excited. It’s the start of a new era and I’m confident it will work.
“It’s a system we went for about 15 years ago and I’ve been elected to the new council. I will get to see how it goes and will be part of it.”
The Mayor added that representatives “need to shout loud and get a bit of levelling up done” while noting that “there’s still a bit of work to be done”.
Scarborough Council has said that while its services will be moving to a new website, it can still be contacted on its existing phone number at 01723 232323, with customer services set to remain open at the Town Hall in Scarborough and Whitby Job Centre Plus as usual.
Meanwhile, the council leader, Cllr Steve Siddons said the future of the borough will be “different and obviously much larger” and said he hoped people on the coast would not be “forgotten about or minimised in any way”.
Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, he said: “It is going to be a much, much bigger operation than Scarborough Borough Council was and the challenges are going to be quite large.”
Cllr Siddons predicted that the biggest challenge “will probably be money” but said he hoped devolution would bring “some additional money into the area, though it won’t be enough”.
Alongside the local government reorganisation scheme, a plan for devolution in North Yorkshire is also being sought and if approved by the government, it could deliver greater local powers and decision-making.
Cllr Siddons added: “Scarborough borough has punched above its weight for many years and when you look at what we do here compared with some of the district councils, we do a significant amount more.”
The leader of the Labour-led authority will not be continuing as a representative on the new council and ruled himself out of running for mayor of the combined authority.
He also announced that he would be retiring from politics “to let younger people take it on”.