PROPOSALS to create a unitary authority in North Yorkshire have been dismissed by the county council – despite being told it could save millions.

Ukip councillor David Simister earlier this month asked North Yorkshire County Council’s executive to consider the move to create one authority instead of maintaining the current seven districts - Richmondshire, Hambleton, Craven, Scarborough, Selby, Ryedale and Harrogate.

Although the executive rejected the plan, Cllr Simister raised the motion again at the authority’s annual meeting at Northallerton’s County Hall today (May 21).

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He said: “The motion was a look at the creation of one unitary authority or maybe two authorities for North Yorkshire, with the A1 as the split between the two areas.

“We believe it should be looked at properly because we are facing austerity cuts with the council having to save millions of pounds.

“There is not just a potential to save money – there are real savings to be made.”

Cllr Sam Cross, who seconded the initial motion, added: “In North Yorkshire we have a county council, seven district councils, 700 parish councils and eight chief executives.

“Now is the time to consider this – we are going through difficult times financially and the council taxpayers will benefit.”

Council leader John Weighell said: “This is such a huge issue.

“To create a unitary authority would save about half the £74m of cuts. But while 30 years ago I would have gone for two or three authorities, now I’m concerned that a unitary authority of 600,000 people is not cost-effective enough.

“This is completely the wrong time to push for a unitary authority. I hate wasting money and time on something that will not yield any benefits because it will be rejected all the way through.

“After the election next year might be the time to think again.”