Harrogate council's chief executive in multi-million pound pledge to district even as council faces the axe

Despite the disappointment of losing the battle for the future of local government in North Yorkshire, Harrogate Borough Council has pledged to deliver on investment projects across the Harrogate district in the months before its own demise.

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 10:03 am
Updated Friday, 23rd July 2021, 10:06 am
Wallace Sampson OBE, chief executive of Harrogate Borough Council, said: "Understandably, we are disappointed that the Government has chosen to form one council across the whole of North Yorkshire.

The six district and borough councils of Craven, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby had joined together to propose an East/West model for reorganising local government.

But the Government decided this week not to implement the East/West proposal, and instead has accepted North Yorkshire County Council’s bid to create one council across the whole of the county, leaving York as a separate unitary council.

After the Government's announcement on Wednesday that local councils in North Yorkshire are definitely to be reorganised to form one council across the whole of the county, district and borough councils including Harrogate, Craven, Hambleton, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby will cease to exist after March 2023 when the new unitary authority will come into operation.

But Harrogate Borough Council s chief executive said the council remained committed to carry on with a number of investment projects in Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon.

Wallace Sampson OBE, chief executive of Harrogate Borough Council, said: "Understandably, we are disappointed that the Government has chosen to form one council across the whole of North Yorkshire.

"We believed the East/West proposal would have been the strongest possible option for levelling-up, and driving future recovery and growth in York and North Yorkshire.

"Despite this outcome, Harrogate Borough Council will continue to exist until 2023 and we have no plans to sit back until this time. We have a number of exciting and ambitious projects that have either started or are due to start in the coming months.

"Our multi-million investment project at Ripon Leisure Centre is taking shape and further investment at the Hydro in Harrogate and a new leisure centre in Knaresborough are progressing well, for example.

"We are also committed to supporting our economy post Covid and will be looking at all projects, before the new unitary authority comes into operation, to explore what investment projects should or could be delivered."

The Government's decision to back the Northallerton vision of change followed a consultation held earlier this year on the future of local government in North Yorkshire and York.

Harrogate Borough Council will now work collectively with North Yorkshire County Council and the six district local authorities to implement the transition plan. Further updates will be provided in the coming months.