North Yorkshire County Council has set out its priorities and hopes for the future following the election of a new council.
The council has pledged that it will "work to achieve the best for North Yorkshire". While the priority will always be to protect frontline services, the election has brought with it a renewed impetus for progress.
The council will continue to face austerity "in these uncertain times" according to Richard Flinton, the county council's chief executive, and so the nature of services and the way they are delivered will continue to change.
However, the county council is in a strong financial position to face the challenges ahead. Richard Flinton said: "With a newly-elected council we will face these challenges and our priorities with renewed vigour.
"We will actively pursue the best devolution deal that will be of benefit to North Yorkshire and the region and we will continue to help the economy to grow. Through the work of the local enterprise partnership and the continuing expansion of high-speed fibre broadband to the county's more remote rural areas, we will continue to build the county's reputation for creating and supporting business opportunities. We are close to a £21m procurement contract for phase three of Superfast North Yorkshire, a programme we set up to address market failure.
"By the end of phase three the total number of business and residential premises connected to high quality broadband will reach 96 per cent and our ambition is to reach as near to 100 per cent as possible."
Richard Flinton said the council would also take advantage of the long-lasting development opportunities offered by the Tour de Yorkshire and other world-class cycling events programmed for the county.
He also stated that the council would continue to promote east-west connectivity and the upgrading of key rail and road arterial routes such as the A59 and A66 as well as the relief of congestion in Harrogate. "What's more," he said, "we must never overlook opportunities to improve the safety and connectivity of the A64, a Highways England road but which nevertheless is a major concern and priority for us."
North Yorkshire will continue to face the challenge of supporting an ageing population with the increasing demand this brings for health and care services. "We will therefore strengthen our work with private, public and volunteer partners," he said "to support the elderly and vulnerable, helping them to remain independent and in their own homes for as long as possible. We will pursue our ambition for an extra care development in every market town and carry on our innovative work to combat loneliness and isolation."
North Yorkshire, said Richard Flinton, would also continue to build on its national reputation in children's services. "We aim to carry on improving. We will continue to protect and educate our children, striving to make the county one of the best places for children and young people to grow up."
Central to the council's new ways of working will be support for volunteers. Richard Flinton said: "North Yorkshire is blessed with a strong volunteering culture and the county council will continue to work in partnership with groups and communities to provide innovative solutions for services such as transport and libraries."