Brexit uncertainty forces Harrogate council to move meeting

Harrogate Convention Centre will host the May general meeting of council.
Harrogate Convention Centre will host the May general meeting of council.

Uncertainty over Brexit has led to Harrogate Borough Council having to shift their annual meeting from their civic centre headquarters.

The May 20 annual meeting, which will include the official handover of the mayoral reins from Coun Bernard Bateman to Coun Stuart Martin, will now be held at Harrogate Convention Centre.

It comes as continued delays to the United Kingdom leaving the European Union means it'll likely have to take part in European Parliament elections - which will require multiple rooms at Harrogate council's headquarters.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of holding the meeting at the convention centre at their April meeting.

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In introducing the motion, council leader Richard Cooper said the move would also give members of the public attending the meeting an opportunity to "sample the wonderful benefits" on offer at the convention centre.

"Members will be aware that the United Kingdom did not leave the European Union on 29 March 2019 as planned, and at the time of writing this report there is still some uncertainty over exiting arrangements," a council report on the matter states.

"In the event that no withdrawal is agreed by 12 April and an extension granted, elections to the European Parliament will take place on 23 May, which is the same week as the annual meeting."

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Council's larger meeting rooms will be in use for up to three weeks before the elections are held, with a change of location for meetings the least disruptive option, the report states.

"Preparation for elections requires the use of a number of the council’s larger meeting rooms in the three weeks run up to election day," the report states.

"Changing the location of the annual meeting will reduce disruption to the elections preparation."

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter