THE Government is seeking the views of people in Craven on proposals for local government reorganisation.

The expected consultation on plans for a single, unitary authority, which will see the end of the present Craven District Council, was launched on Monday, and will run for two months, until April 19.

It looks at two proposals - one from North Yorkshire County Council, and a joint proposal from Craven District Council, Harrogate Borough Council Richmondshire District Council, Ryedale District Council, Scarborough Borough Council and Selby District Council.

The consultation comes after a formal invitation from Government last October to councils in North Yorkshire to submit proposals for reorganisation.

Because of the consultation, district and county council elections, which were to be held in May in Craven, will now take place in May, 2022.

The Government says rescheduling local elections avoids the possibility of people being asked to vote for councils while at the same time being given the opportunity to express their views on their possible abolition.

It also avoids members potentially being elected to serve short terms on councils which will cease to exist in two years time.

The election for a new Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire will however take place as planned in May, as well as elections to town and parish councils.

Local Government Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “I have always been clear that any restructuring of local government must be locally-led and will not involve top-down solutions from Government.

“Now that councils in North Yorkshire have submitted their proposals, I am pleased residents, businesses and service providers will have the opportunity to have their say on what will work best for their area.

“With local support, changing the structure of local government can offer better value for money and improved services for residents.”

The proposals outline how the councils want to restructure local government in their area to establish unitary local government. This means moving from a two-tier system of county and district councils, to a system where there is a single tier for any given area.

Residents, councils, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), public service providers, businesses and voluntary organisations now have the opportunity to have their say on which proposal, if any, is the best fit for their area.

The Local Government Secretary will consider all proposals following the consultation before making a decision about which option, if any, to implement.

Parliamentary approval will be needed before a proposal can be implemented.

The consultation seeks views on whether proposals will provide greater value for money, geography, and impact local police, fire and rescue, and health services.

The Government says it expects any new unitary council to be fully operational from April 2023 with transitional arrangements expected to be in place from 2022, including elections in May 2022 to the shadow or continuing councils.

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