Scarborough and Whitby MP Robert Goodwill backs plan for creation of new town council

Scarborough and Whitby's MP has backed plans to create a new town council in the area.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 4:33 pm
Scarborough and Whitby's MP, Robert Goodwill, has backed plans to form a town council once the borough council is replaced.

Scarborough and Harrogate are currently the only major places in North Yorkshire not to be covered by either a parish or a town council.

As part of the winning Local Government Reorganisation bid from North Yorkshire County Council, which will see all of the county's councils scrapped and replaced with new unitary authority in the coming years, creating town councils in the two towns were a part of the proposal.

Earlier this month, Scarborough Council voted to start the process to gather information to allow the authority to make an "informed decision" to try and get the Town Council up and running before May 2023.

Speaking at a meeting of North Yorkshire County Council's Scarborough Area Committee today, Mr Goodwill said: "I was very pleased to see the borough council make a unanimous decision on Scarborough having a town council because I think if we are going to have that sort of bottom rung of local democracy it would be very unfair on the residents of Scarborough, unlike everybody else in a parish, or in Whitby or Filey for the matter, not to have a town council.

"I think we also need to think very carefully about how wide the border of that town should be and I actually would like to see some of the other parishes that are in effect part of the Scarborough convocation coming together to be part of the new Scarborough Town Council. It would then be in a great position to engage with the new unitary council."

Mr Goodwill suggested that Newby and Scalby Parish Council, for example, should consider becoming part of the new authority, though he said Eastfield, a town council in its own right, should remain as it is now.

He added: "I know they are fiercely independent some of them but I think the benefits to them of being part of that town council would outweigh some of the parochial issues.

"I think a Scarborough together would be much stronger than a Scarborough divided."

If a town council was created it would mean residents in Scarborough would pay a parish council precept as part of their bill for the first time, in line with the rest of the borough.

In order to create a new authority, a community governance review must be triggered by the borough council which would then start the procedure around setting out the boundaries and the powers of the new authority.

Under existing legislation, a public referendum is not a legally required part of the process and any result would be non-binding. Consultation with the public must be carried out, however,

Once the process begins it must be completed within 12 months.