The Lib Dem led campaign against the local Conservative Councillors and MP's proposals to merge York into a new 'mega-council' stretching from the suburbs of Redcar in the north to those of Doncaster in the south, along the east coast, has reached a major new milestone.
Following overwhelming cross-party support being secured at a Full Council meeting, City of York Council has been able to submit its evidence to the Government for York to remain as an independent unitary authority (report can be found here).
The submission details why retaining York on its existing footprint will enable greater focus on recovery from the pandemic, whilst at the same time ensures York can continue to deliver value for money services to residents, businesses and communities.
The evidence in the report demonstrates the positive local support for York and significant detrimental impacts of a local authority merger, including eroding local decision making in York, breaking the 800-year historical connection between the Lord Mayor, council and the city, and disrupting key services at a time when they are needed the most.
Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said:
“I'm delighted that the Council has now submitted its first set of evidence making the case for York and to highlight why York should remain as a unitary council in its own right, rather than be merged with surrounding rural or coastal areas.
“It is clear from the consultation and analysis in this report that a change to York’s footprint would either increase the cost to residents, or stretch services further, thus making it harder to meet York’s own unique challenges.
"The city has spoken - decisions that affect York’s residents, businesses and communities should be made in York.
“It is vital that York continues to lead its own recovery, by putting residents and local businesses at the heart of our efforts to build back better. By avoiding unnecessary disruption caused by boundary changes, we can access the investment provided through devolution quicker than any other model, in order to benefit our communities and businesses and to help facilitate a strong recovery.
"I'd like to thank, as well, the more than 4,000 local residents that have backed our campaign to keep York as an independent unitary council."