A RESEARCH study showing Craven, Harrogate, Richmondshire and Hambleton linked together to form one of two unitary councils in the proposed local government reorganisation with North Yorkshire is to go before councillors.

The study by professional network KPMG places Craven in a ‘West ‘ unitary council while Selby, City of York, Ryedale and Scarborough would join together to form a unitary council in the East.

Meanwhile, North Yorkshire County Council is pushing for a ‘single, strong and sustainable new council’, which it believes could deliver up to £252 million in savings over five years to support frontline services.

Councils have been invited to submit an outline bid to Government by November 9, proposing how unitary authorities could be created within North Yorkshire and York.

Craven District Council commissioned KPMG to propose a model for local government reform based on research and evidence and have returned stating the research study provides compelling evidence that the creation of two unitary authorities of balanced size would provide the strongest local leadership, the most effective services and the fairest democratic representation, as well as the most savings for local taxpayers.

District council leader Councillor Richard Foster said: “This research by KPMG clearly shows that the East and West model of local government reorganisation is better than any of the alternatives.Our model, with two equal partners, also provides the strongest approach to unlocking devolution.

“We expect North Yorkshire County Council to submit a proposal for a ‘mega-council’, which would create a massive imbalance. North Yorkshire is five and a half times the size of Greater London; it’s as big as Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire combined.”

Responding to the evidence base by accountancy firm PWC, the county council’s deputy leader Cllr Gareth Dadd said: “We are presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity at a key moment in our history, as we battle to emerge from the devastating impacts of the pandemic. A unique chance to deliver very significant savings that will be ploughed back into frontline services, support enhanced local democracy and end unnecessary waste. Our bid maximises all the benefits and delivers those benefits more quickly. It is also the least disruptive.

“The county council will submit its full bid next week.