A LIST of decisions that North Yorkshire's seven district and borough councils can make until they are abolished next year has been approved.

It comes as one local authority leader raised concerns the Government move to limit their powers could impact on major projects.

The first meeting of the newly-formed county council's executive heard the second tier authorities would be handed general consent to progress many initiatives and plans in their budgets without the county council's approval "to avoid paralysis in public service".

Read more: This historical gem has been granted listed status to celebrate the Jubilee

The decision follows Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, issuing a direction that any financial decision by the district and borough councils which could bind the new authority in a potentially unfavourable way must be passed by the county council.

The meeting was told the direction will restrict district councils from entering into revenue contracts and disposals of land over £100,000 or capital contracts exceeding £1m without the executive’s consent.

The executive was told that due to the current economic climate some contracts and areas of spend may well be in excess of budgets, so second tier authorities would be able to use up to a maximum of £200,000 of their reserves to previously approved projects.

County council executive member for finance Councillor Gareth Dadd said without the list of decisions to be given general consent, the regime facing district and borough councils would be so stringent it would be nigh-on impossible for them to operate efficiently and effectively.

The meeting was told the Conservative-led county council was trying to strike a balance between its democratic mandate to make decisions following the recent election and giving a limited amount of decision-making power to district and borough councils.

Among a number of second tier local authority leaders attending the meeting, Scarborough Borough Council leader Labour councillor Steve Siddons welcomed the list of general consents as "a sensible thing to do".

He said: "Whilst most of the funding that we are working through is part of this general consent, there are some omissions to that and I want to flag those up at this stage to make sure we carry through with the discussions we've had up to now."

Read more: School calls in police after angry parent says he is 'going to get' student

He said the borough council had set aside £4m for specific projects which were not set out yet, but "clearly part of a programme of work that is in train".

Cllr Siddons said: "We have a number of developers who are keen to work with us in Scarborough and Whitby over the coming months.

"I would like to make sure we have continued constructive discussions about that."

He added Scarborough was facing a housing crisis and having spent 18 months developing a Better Homes programme, he wanted the scheme, which would benefit the rest of the new unitary authority, to be progressed.

However, the meeting heard as the Scarborough schemes had not been progressed they would ultimately need the county council's approval.


Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated North Yorkshire Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on newsdesk@nne.co.uk or contact 01325 505054