THE chairman of YarmTown Council has said he believes a referendum to take the town into Yorkshire is 'a waste of money'.

Chairman Peter Monck was asked at a council meeting this week what his personal views were on the referendum and whether Yarm Town Council could publicise the fact it was happening.

He said: "This has been called by a group of individuals.The town council doesn't have a view on it."

But when pressed for his personal opinion, he said: "I think it is a waste of money. Personally I think that, but when I am speaking to the press as chairman of Yarm Town Council I have to take the view of the residents and what they want."

"Yarm for Yorkshire" campaigners have pushed for an official poll which will now take place on Tuesday, May 27 and which will cost about £4,000, which is funded by Yarm Town Council and organised by democratic officers at Stockton Borough Council.

The result is not legally binding and, if Yarm were to become part of Hambleton district and North Yorkshire county, it would need Government consent.

The question to be asked in the poll is: "Do you, the electors of Yarm, wish Yarm to be removed from the control and administration of Stockton Borough Council and beome the responsibility of North Yorkshire County Council and Hambleton District Council?"

At the meeting of the town council on Tuesday, residents and some councillors asked if the town council could publicise the fact the poll was going ahead on its website, and with a press release.

Coun Monck agreed to publicise the details on the town council website.

Yarm residents have felt aggrieved by the amount of housing planning applications approved for greenfield land around the town by Stockton Borough Council in recent years, plus the controversial parking charges which are now in operation in the High Street.

Stockton Council has arranged for the poll to be held between 4pm and 9pm on the 27th although no polling cards will be issued and no postal votes taken.

Hambleton Council has so far offered no comment on the poll but John Weighell, the leader of North Yorkshire County Council, said he was "very interested' to know the wishes of Yarm residents.

Campaigners hope being part of Hambleton would reduce their council tax, as it has one of the lowest tax rates in the country.