Concerns raised after Hull invited to join North Yorkshire devolution bid

North Yorkshire County Council offices

North Yorkshire County Council offices

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North Yorkshire County Council has voted to enter into formal discussions with Government over a York, North Yorkshire and East Riding (YNYER) devolution deal.

However, the leader of Harrogate Borough Council has criticised the county council following a majority agreement to invite Hull to join the YNYER bid.

Coun Richard Cooper questioned the similarities between Harrogate and Hull, stressing their economy and links were much more closely tied with those of Leeds.

He said: “It just flies in the face of reason that we would want to be part of a Hull led devolution region. In what way is their economy similar to ours?

“It seems ridiculous to me that some people a week ago argued that Harrogate was not compatible with Leeds but are now pushing for a Hull bid.

“Harrogate has very strong links with Leeds, we have a direct railway line, a direct bus service and people travelling every day for work between the two.

“We don’t have evidence of those things with Hull so why would we want to be married up with a devolution deal where Hull is the biggest economic part of it?”

The vote, taken by council leaders on Friday, moves the bid forward to the next stage but does not formally commit any of the ten authorities involved to the deal.

Coun Carl Les, leader of North Yorkshire County Council, defended the decision to invite Hull into the deal by outlining the potential benefits of the city.

He said: “Hull is a major port and anyone from there would probably benefit from this partnership.

“Hull is also very important in terms of renewable energy and they have an investment to build cruise liners.

“That would be a way for people to go out on a cruise. Ships will also come in and people will spend the day in Hull but they can take buses to visit Craven and Harrogate.”

Hull had originally approached West Yorkshire council leaders over the possibility of the city joining the area’s combined authority in November last year.

However, the city may now switch its focus to North Yorkshire after attempts to secure an agreement failed.

Coun Cooper warned that, should the city decide to accept North Yorkshire’s invitation, the deal would become the Hull City Region bid which Harrogate would be a part of.

He said: “Why on earth would North Yorkshire expect us to go for a devolution deal led by Hull?”