Ryedale leader calls for better alternative to ‘super-council’ proposal
The leader of Ryedale District Council said he is seeking a better alternative to plans for a North Yorkshire-wide “super council”.
Councillor Keane Duncan said he is working to find an arrangement to ‘keep local government local’ under plans to reorganise councils across the county.
He stands opposed to the North Yorkshire County Council proposal to create a single unitary authority, delivering all council services, to the existing county’s 600,000 residents.
That proposal would see the district councils abolished, but keep the City of York, already a unitary authority with 200,000 residents, unchanged.
Cllr Duncan said he is instead working with other district leaders to explore the creation of two unitary authorities of roughly equal size, each with 400,000 residents, by involving York in proposals.
He said: “My aim is to keep local government local. But this isn’t just about size, it’s about identity too.
“For Ryedale, we have much greater links and connections with the City of York than more distant parts of North Yorkshire.
“In fact, a large chunk of the city’s suburbs was part of Ryedale district until 1996.
“While the county council’s proposal seeks the status quo in York, the city is very much integral to the options we’re looking at.
“Connecting it with neighbouring areas like Ryedale holds great potential for jobs and investment.
“It would also allow us to push for the long-awaited dualling of the A64 with renewed strength and unity.
“The outcome would be two new authorities of roughly equal size. Both would be big enough to be cost effective and small enough to keep connected with the public.
“This alternative option should not only out-perform the ‘super council’ in financial terms, but empower communities and enrich democracy at the same time.
“We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to get this right.”