Three cheers for our district councils for fighting to keep their status as the representatives of local people. £175,000 seems a lot to put into the fight but divided by the populations of seven districts it is not significant - about 29 pence per head.

Proponents for change claim that a single authority would create 'very considerable savings'. In that event, are they going to reduce our rates to pass on the savings? Of course not, they are going to spend it. The question is, will Craven get its fair share?

The present system allows residents to know their councillors and to interact with them because of their accessibility. How can a remote, unified council know better than Craven District Council what is best for Craven? How would local groups get their voice heard?

Perhaps one reason North Yorkshire County Council wants full control is to build a case for taking away more decision making from Westminster. In effect they are aiming for a more 'bottom up' system, something we would all approve of. Unfortunately they do not realise that this is just what they are taking away from the districts.

Leeds and Durham are presented as examples of how popular a unitary system is. I don't see many people from Craven rushing to live in Leeds or Durham. On the contrary, plenty are moving out of Leeds into Craven and I guess many more would like to.

Craven is a wonderful place to live. I rate highly the quality of life and there is a great community spirit. The district council must be doing the important things right. Local government is not just about money but also about that quality of life.

When the final decision is made it must be a democratic one. Residents must decide - they have to live with the decision for many years. We must have a vote.

If there is a decision taken from the top without consulting the people it will be an outstanding example of what we will be in for with a large, remote single county council.

JS Maude

Bannister Walk