CRAVEN District Council has effectively entered a form of ‘purdah’ for the next two months while the consultation into local government reorganisation is underway.

Councillors at the council’s full meeting were told by the chief executive Paul Shevlin that the advice from the Government department carrying out the consultation into two possible options for a new unitary authority for North Yorkshire, was that public money could not be used to campaign for a specific proposal.

Individual councillors were allowed to promote a particular option using their own resources, he said, but would have to be careful about what they said in council meetings, because they were recorded and went out on the authority’s YouTube channel, which would be seen as a council resource.

The consultation, which ends on April 19, 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.

Because of the consultation, district and county council elections, which were to be held in May in Craven, will now take place in 2022. The police, fire and crime commissioner election will take place as will town and parish elections and by-elections to the district and county councils.

Council leader, Richard Foster, said he would have preferred it had people been given the chance to vote on a new authority and said it was vital that residents made their opinions known.

“Should it had gone to the ballot? I’d have preferred it if it had. I do think for a lot of people, this will pass them by and suddenly, local government will look a lot different in North Yorkshire and they will wonder why it has happened," he said.

He added: “The two proposals are there, and we just need as many people as we can across Craven to voice their opinions.

In response to a question from Cllr Andy Brown whether it was right that the council could be abolished without electors being given the opportunity to vote, he added: “It is a sad day, we are losing Craven District Council if either of these proposals go through."

Referring to the council’s performance over the last year, including the setting of a balanced budget, he said: “We can balance a budget in the hardest of times, we can deliver services in the hardest of times. We can look after our public and make sure things go forward in the hardest of times. We’ve shown how resilient we are, but there is a confusion with the three tiers of government, and it is an expensive way of running local government. Maybe these are the arguments we should have been having before.”

To take part in the consultation go to