Why a new, single council for North Yorkshire will be great for arts, culture, sport and your quality of life.

If creativity and imagination aren’t words you would immediately associate with local government, we’d like you to think again. A single unitary council for North Yorkshire can, and will, improve everyone’s quality of life by championing and supporting arts, culture, heritage, sport and the great outdoors.

North Yorkshire is home to thousands of people who create, make and take part – world class professionals and all of us who listen, watch or join in for fun, as well as a wealth of local history in the traditions, collections, built environment and landscapes of North Yorkshire.

A new single North Yorkshire council will bring with it an opportunity to create a platform, an incubator, a bigger stage to work alongside all that is creative and competitive and to invest in the stewardship and potential of all that makes our county one of the best places to live and work in the UK. In so doing, it will be able to bring together our creative and sporting sectors alongside communities, schools, health experts, planners, housing, care services and more to build on the achievements of its eight predecessor councils.

A new unitary council for North Yorkshire will be able to put the county’s great heritage at the heart of its aspirations. By safeguarding and building on the historic identity of North Yorkshire, a new council can develop its market towns, maintain historic landscapes and promote its cultures and traditions as an integral part of delivering positive outcomes for local communities.

As well as being a source of stimulus, an influencer and a commissioner of works large and small, a new council will get alongside the thousands of creative individuals and organisations that make North Yorkshire special.

Whether it is big events such as Harrogate International Festivals or the Tour de Yorkshire, or what writer and director Stella Duffy calls “tiny revolutions of connection”, a single North Yorkshire council will be able to work effectively alongside individuals and organisations to bring fun, joy and happy memories and to back the creative economy.

A new strong single council can take a leadership role in creating places in our villages, countryside and towns that are well-designed and that bring people together. Based on the existing North Yorkshire footprint, a new council will have the critical mass and influence to engage with national and regional partners, including neighbouring local authorities, the Local Enterprise Partnership and central government.

All of these statements are much more than “cloud capp’d towers”. They are very much about practical steps and economic reality. As we deal with the challenges created by the Covid-19 crisis, a new, single council will be big enough to bring together funding, ideas, talents from all quarters and to take risks in order to build upon the massive contribution they make to social and economic well-being.

C: the difference

A single North Yorkshire council will:

  • Be a catalyst for bringing together the arts, heritage, culture, sports, outdoors organisations and volunteers, together with audiences, funders, decision-makers and those people who make decisions around health, the economy and planning.
  • Celebrate the cultural heritage of North Yorkshire, bringing more world-class sporting and cultural events to the whole county on a regular basis. Building on our historic identity, sense of place, belonging and civic pride in the county of North Yorkshire.
  • Champion the artisans and makers and the creative industries that will make a significant contribution to economic growth, providing bespoke business advice and the digital infrastructure required to work and create within the county.
  • Collaborate with individuals, communities and partner organisations to plan and fund new work; to improve the design and accessibility of our towns, villages and countryside; to attract new funding; and to support more people to be physically active. A new council can establish art and design expertise within planning and regeneration services to ensure that our towns, villages and rural areas are places with vibrant sustainable communities which continue to thrive.
  • Connect individuals and communities to what makes life interesting and fun for them, including building on existing work to make culture, sport and the outdoors inclusive for all.
  • Create the conditions for the long-term sustainability of culture, sports and the outdoors, bringing together organisations, funders and sponsors, attracting private sector investment, philanthropy and crowdfunding. By involving partners in urban and rural design, supporting incubator initiatives for small creative businesses; and continuing to stage national and international competitions to highlight the county of North Yorkshire.
  • Commit to putting culture and sport at the heart of service delivery and the aspirations of communities. Ensuring that culture and sport are not perceived as a ‘nice to have’ or a luxury addition, but are an essential part of delivering health, well-being and prosperity. And by establishing a dedicated Culture, Sport and Outdoors senior team to work with the sectors and to influence business, health and education and by learning from other cities and counties that have led the way on culture, sport and creativity.