Parishes set to be consulted on charter to guide vision for future

This story was published 23 December 2022

A new charter is being drawn up to strongly support grassroots democracy across North Yorkshire and ensure communities are best served with the launch of a new council covering England’s largest county.

A view of Reeth

The draft charter, which will define the relationship between North Yorkshire Council and parishes and establish how they work together for the benefit of communities, has been drawn up with the help of a working group including representatives from parishes.

Executive will be asked on Tuesday, 10 January, to endorse the draft charter and to give the go-ahead for a 12-week consultation on the proposal with all 731 parishes across the county, to ensure they all have the opportunity to comment on its contents.

The county council’s leader, Cllr Carl Les, who will lead North Yorkshire Council, said: “Parish and town councils are an important link in the chain of local government and have a vital role in acting on behalf of their communities.

“The new North Yorkshire Council is eager to work with parish and town councils across the county as a key aspect of its commitment to connect with local communities, understand their needs and respond to their priorities.”

Pledges from North Yorkshire Council in the draft charter 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: “We recognised from the outset in establishing the vision and aims of North Yorkshire Council that our communities are the lifeblood of the county. Each has its distinct attributes and needs, and parish and town councils are uniquely placed to understand and represent these.

“The draft charter is the first stage in a process and presents a framework for a partnership that can be built on as North Yorkshire Council develops and transforms over time.”

The new council will be launched on 1 April next year 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 as it will serve England’s biggest county, 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 executive’s decision, the aim would be to carry out the parish charter consultation early next year with a view to adopting the charter in June or July next year.