Liberal Democrats have, today, launched a petition calling on the Tory Government to abandon their disastrous proposals for a mega council and Executive Mayor, instead bringing decision-making closer to residents.
The ‘Hands Off Harrogate’ campaign argues that Harrogate district should make its own decisions and run its own services. It argues that councillors in areas as far away as Scarborough — out of touch with Harrogate district residents’ concerns — should not be pulling the strings.
Commenting on the proposals, Liberal Democrat leader on Harrogate Borough Council, Pat Marsh, said:
“Harrogate Conservatives are too busy fighting one another to stand up for residents in our district, with council leader Richard Cooper writing articles in the press, criticising his Tory colleagues.
“At such a difficult time, with many residents really suffering from the effects of Coronavirus, do we really need to be going through a massive local government reorganisation that could cost taxpayers millions and disrupt vital local services?
“We need local decisions to be made by people who live in our area, not those on the other side of our vast county. I don’t see why the Government is trying to force this through and it's time Andrew Jones MP stood up for our area on this.”
Judith Rogerson, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson, added:
"Nobody in Harrogate and Knaresborough will think a huge new council is acceptable. If we have to have local government reorganisation the most sensible solution would be to create a unitary council covering just the present Harrogate district. There are similar sized authorities in other parts of Yorkshire & the Humber.
“This would mean disruption is kept to a minimum, local people are still in control of council decisions, and we can keep on using the expensive new Council Offices that the Conservatives insisted on building with £millions of taxpayers money in Harrogate.
“We’re asking residents to sign our petition here: www.hklibdems.org.uk/HandsOffHarrogate”