Parish and town councils will be asked for their views on a charter that will help them to carry out their “crucial role as a voice for their communities” to support grassroots democracy across North Yorkshire.
All 731 parishes across England’s largest county will be invited to take part in a 12-week consultation on a new parish charter, which will define how parishes and the new North Yorkshire Council, which will launch on April 1, will work together for the benefit of communities.
Executive members endorsed the draft charter and gave the go-ahead for the consultation at a meeting today (Tuesday, 10 January). The consultation will begin on Wednesday, 18 January. We will write to every parish and town council and parish meeting to invite them to respond to the consultation.
Council leader, Cllr Carl Les, who will lead North Yorkshire Council, said: “Grassroots democracy will be at the heart of local government for North Yorkshire Council. It is vital for the new council and parishes in every part of the county to have a strong relationship and understanding to enable parishes to have confidence in carrying out their crucial role as a voice for their communities.”
The draft charter has been drawn up with the help of a working group that includes representatives from parishes. Pledges from North Yorkshire Council in the draft include working with parishes to promote and protect social, economic and environmental wellbeing for the benefit of communities, engaging on issues that are likely to affect or be of particular interest to an area, consulting on planning, licensing and highways matters, and supporting parishes to maintain their own local services and assets if they wish to, and where it is practicable.
Executive member for stronger communities, Cllr Greg White, said: “Recognising the distinctive local needs of parish and town councils was key from the outset in establishing the vision of North Yorkshire Council. This charter is a stage in that process, and an extremely important one. It presents a framework for a partnership that will grow as North Yorkshire Council develops and transforms over time. I urge all parish councils to take this opportunity and make their voices heard in the consultation.”
The new council will be launched on 1 April when ourselves and the existing seven district and borough authorities merge in the biggest shake-up of local government since 1974. While the new authority will cover the largest geographical area of any of the nation’s councils, it aims to be the most local.
The restructuring of local government is taking place to pave the way for a devolution deal, which is set to see the Government hand over key decision-making powers and millions of pounds in funding to be overseen by local political leaders.
The proposed devolution deal, which is set to see an influential metro mayor elected in May 2024, offers the chance to improve education and job opportunities, boost economic growth and provide better roads and public transport, and places York and North Yorkshire at the forefront of the green energy sector to tackle climate change.
Subject to the outcome of the parish charter consultation, which is scheduled to run until Wednesday, 12 April, the charter could be adopted in summer.