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Parish Council's Not Clear on Local Government Changes

There are concerns that Parish councils on the Yorkshire Coast are not being involved in discussions about local government reforms.

Scarborough Borough Council and North Yorkshire County council will disappear in 2023 when they are replaced by a new unitary authority.

That has knock on effects for parish councils, but Borough Councillor Michelle Donahue Moncrieff says the parishes are not being involved in discussions about the changes.

As well as being a borough councillor, Michelle is a parish councillor in Hunmanby. She says many parish council clerks have expressed their concerns about the changes.

There are 731 parishes in North Yorkshire. Some parish councils in our county are known as town or city councils, but have the same role as a parish council.

The services provided by parish councils vary depending on how large and how active the councils are. Some do not meet very often, and are not very active. Other larger parish councils carry out many duties such as street lighting, managing cemeteries, allotments, commons, village halls, war memorials and markets.

When the proposals for local government reorganisation were put forwards for North Yorkshire, the county council's prefered plan included what was described as “double devolution” to pass greater powers and funding to parish and town councils, for those that wanted it.

Speaking in September 2020 County Council Leader Cllr Carl Les said:

“I was a parish councillor for many years and I attend parish council meetings. Parish councils are the salt of the earth and I enjoy working closely with them. I hope town councils will be interested in taking on more powers – but it is up to them.

“We believe this double devolution, which transfers powers from Whitehall to the town hall and from the town hall to the village hall is an exciting prospect. We are seeking more powers from the government, but we want more powers to be devolved to the very local area as well. We want to bring people together to get more things done at a local level.”

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