Pateley Bridge candidate to be powerful new North Yorks mayor calls for a single headquarters located in York
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Pateley Bridge man Keith Tordoff, former chair Nidderdale Chamber of Trade, who is standing as an Independent after quitting The Yorkshire Party following a disagreement over a policy to hand out free chickens, was speaking after the launch event of the new York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority.
The new public body will see whoever is elected mayor lead a Combined Authority Board including four councillors from York and North Yorkshire to deliver schemes worth £18 million per year on transport, housing, net-zero and business.
But, as campaigning begins in earnest for the inaugural elections on May 2, Mr Tordoff said plans for the authority to have two main offices in York and Northallerton were a waste of tax payers money and would not go ahead if he were to win.
"The new Combined Authority needs to be work efficiently and use money in a way that gives value for money," said Mr Tordoff, a former police officer.
"The Combined Authority have already said that there will be two bases for them, but I don't believe that it is necessary or efficient use of money.
"If elected my intention would to not add a further tax levy, but go further and locate the Combined Authority in one location, in York."
Mr Tordoff, who was awarded the MBE in 2018 for services to business and the community, also criticised a political rival in the race to be North Yorkshire's powerful new mayor.
He said Tory candidate Keane Duncan's commitment to not raise a further tax bill as Mayor was merely "political positioning".
"Keane Duncan is a little stating the obvious as the Combined Authority receives a large budget, and part of the work of the Mayor is to raise further funds from private investment, rather than just add a further tax, " said Mr Tordoff.
"Once again we are seeing political positioning from the Conservative Mayoral candidate.
"I can also commit that I wouldn't add a further tax to the people of North Yorkshire."
The creation of the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority follows last year’s abolition of district councils in the county, including Harrogate Borough Council.
The major shake-up is part of the Government’s pledge to foster local devolution giving decision-making powers to local political leaders and provide millions of pounds in funding to shape major policies and projects on a regional level.
The new mayoral role for York and North Yorkshire will also include the brief of the current Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.
That means the office and staff at Harrogate Police Station on Beckwith Head Road will be brought under the control of the new mayor.
York and North Yorkshire Mayor election: The candidates
The Conservative Party’s candidate is Keane Duncan, North Yorkshire Council’s Executive Member for Highways and Transportation.
The Labour Party’s candidate is York business leader David Skaith, who was born in Harrogate.
The Liberal Democrats have chosen Felicity Cunliffe-Lister, the owner of Swinton Park, Felicity Cunliffe-Lister.
The Green Party candidate is former soldier Kevin Foster.
The sole independent is Keith Tordoff.