A STUDY showing an East and West model of two unitary councils has gone before councillors.

Councils have been invited to submit an outline bid to the government by November 9, proposing how unitary authorities could be created within North Yorkshire and York.

Over the summer, experts at KPMG were commissioned to assess a range of options and propose a model for local government reform based on research and evidence.

The East and West model described in the study would see Craven, Harrogate, Richmondshire and Hambleton join together to form a unitary council in the west, and Selby, City of York, Ryedale and Scarborough join together to form a unitary council in the east.

The contents of the study have been shared with councillors last week.

All seven district and borough councils will then consider the study at meetings in early November before the government’s deadline for proposals. If one or more council agrees to submit the KPMG research study, it will form part of the outline bid to government in November.

Cllr Keane Duncan, leader of Ryedale District Council, said: “This research by KPMG shows clearly that the East and West model of local government reorganisation is better than any of the alternatives.

“The KPMG study clearly shows that the East and West model will provide strong local leadership, the most effective services, the fairest democratic representation, the most financial savings. Our model, with two

equal partners, also provides the strongest approach to unlocking devolution.

“We expect North Yorkshire County Council to submit a proposal for a ‘mega-council’, which would create a massive imbalance.

“North Yorkshire is five and a half times the size of Greater London; it’s as big as Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire combined.

“While we believe now is not the time for local government reorganisation, North Yorkshire County Council’s determination to drive their proposals forward leaves us with no option but to offer an alternative.

“We continue to consult with local people, businesses and partners as we finalise our case for an East and West model.”

The district and borough council leaders are: Cllr Richard Foster (Craven), Cllr Mark Robson (Hambleton), Cllr Richard Cooper (Harrogate), Cllr Angie Dale (Richmondshire), Cllr Keane Duncan (Ryedale), Cllr Steve Siddons (Scarborough) and Cllr Mark Crane (Selby).