THE leader of Ryedale District Council (RDC) is backing proposals for an “east and west” model as the best option for North Yorkshire local government reorganisation

Cllr Keane Duncan is working alongside fellow district and borough council leaders, who are ready to put forward their model, which could see the disappearance of RDC by 2023, after the government invited councils across North Yorkshire and York to submit a proposal to create unitary authorities.

Researchers KPMG have worked with the district and borough leaders over recent weeks to draw up a case for the creation of two unitary authorities; with Craven, Harrogate, Richmondshire and Hambleton in the west, and Selby, City of York, Ryedale and Scarborough in the east.

Cllr Duncan, speaking on behalf of the leaders, said: “We still believe this is not the right time for local government reorganisation, as we are all focusing our efforts on supporting our communities and businesses through the Covid-19 pandemic.

“However, we fully expect North Yorkshire County Council to submit a proposal for a ‘mega-council’, which would create a massive imbalance in any combined authority.

“This means we will have no choice but to submit our alternative model.

“The district and borough leaders have held a range of consultation events over the last few months with local people, businesses and organisations.

“We have listened carefully to their views, in order to get change right, and we know there is growing support for our model.

“District councils are deeply embedded in the fabric of their communities, towns and cities; this has been evident in our swift and effective response to the Covid-19 crisis.”

Cllr Duncan said: “We know many people fear that in a county-wide unitary, local knowledge and representation of local communities will be lost, and this is a real danger.

“Our model will enable service delivery improvement across the whole of the City of York and North Yorkshire, whilst minimising disruption to key services, especially for vulnerable groups and safeguarding.

“Our model will enable existing partnership working to grow and strengthen, to promote strong, safe, inclusive and healthy communities.

“We will continue to engage with residents, businesses and local organisations and partners as we finalise our case for an east and west model.”