Agenda item

Data Profile for Harrogate and Knaresborough Area Constituency Committee

Report of the Assistant Chief Executive (Legal and Democratic Services)


Purpose:  To enable Committee Members to review key data for the committee area and determine whether any issues highlighted in the data profile merit further investigation and inclusion on the committee work programme.


Considered:  The report of the Assistant Chief Executive (Legal and Democratic Services) which presented key data for the constituency area and invited the Committee to determine whether any issues highlighted in the data profile merited further investigation and inclusion in the Committee’s Work Programme.


During discussion, the following issues were identified from the data profile for possible further investigation by the Committee:-


  • As discussed earlier during this meeting, the Harrogate and Knaresborough constituency area had a poor record when it came to the local carbon footprint, as demonstrated by the figure of 9,578kg of carbon per person indicator compared with 8,133kg for the whole of England.  The Committee should therefore ask to see a comprehensive and ambitious programme of de-carbonisation, above and beyond that already in place through Harrogate Borough Council, and call for an urgent summit of interested parties to explore how that ambition could be realised.


  • Whilst generally crime levels for the Harrogate and Knaresborough constituency were below the England average, reports of antisocial behaviour (ASB) were 38% higher (30.4 per 1,000 population compared to 22).  Whilst not all ASB was youth-related, a large proportion would be, and this chimed with residents’ concerns expressed in various surveys and ‘on the doorstep’.  The Committee should therefore convene a meeting at which the Youth Services and the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner should be asked to give account of the measures they were taking to address this in a collaborative way across Harrogate and Knaresborough.


  • The health of people in the constituency was generally good when compared with national averages, as would be expected in an area of relative affluence.  However, the prevalence of coronary heart disease (CHD) was 27% higher than the England average and rates of emergency admissions to hospital for CHD were 19% higher.  The Committee should therefore hear from Public Health Officers in the Council as to what prevention measures were being pursued to address this and how local Councillors could champion this issue.


·      Being admitted to hospital should be a last resort, but only if well-resourced and trusted services were available in the community.  This was particularly so for the very young.  However, whilst A&E attendances for the under 5’s were not high relative to England, average emergency admissions to hospital were.  Across England, for every 100 A&E attendances for under 5’s, 26 were admitted, but this rose to 60 in the Harrogate and Knaresborough area.  The Committee should therefore ask for data consistency issues to be checked and, if appropriate, seek to understand better why average emergency admissions to hospital for the under 5’s in the Harrogate and Knaresborough constituency were high relative to England, how parents were accessing services for the very young in the constituency, and what measures could be taken to support and reassure parents at times of concern for their children’s health.


  • Households in fuel poverty were slightly below the England average at 12% compared to 13.5%.  However, when one considered that only 1.5% of the local population were in the lowest one-fifth (20%) deprivation group, and the Harrogate and Knaresborough rate of fuel poverty was similar to the England average, this suggested that there were particular challenges in the Harrogate and Knaresborough constituency area with regard to the cost of energy, potentially linked to large properties with poor insulation.  The Committee should therefore seek to understand what factors were contributing to these unexpectedly high levels of fuel poverty in a relatively affluent area.


  • The Harrogate and Knaresborough area thrived on small business ingenuity and innovation, as witnessed by the level of self-employed being at 11.6% of the workforce compared with 9.8% nationally.  The Committee should hear from the business community, perhaps in informal development sessions, about how this vital sector could be best supported, particularly in enabling and encouraging the entry of new talent amongst younger adults, so that the essential services currently being provided to small businesses by the Borough Council and others could be continued and built-on.


  • Average house prices were higher in the Harrogate and Knaresborough constituency compared to North Yorkshire and England. 

·         A Member queried whether data was available to show how many people were living in affordable housing and were in fuel poverty.  Councillor Peter Lacey undertook to look-up such information and suggested that intelligence could be shared in an informal development session with relevant Council professionals. 

·         Members commented that ‘affordable housing’ was not always affordable, especially for young people in the rural areas.  They suggested that the Council should look towards providing more social housing, and the possibility of preventing people from selling such housing after a few years.


·           Members asked whether any data was available about the following access issues:- wait-times for ambulances; to NHS dentistry; and to GP services.   Members commented that, whilst some of these were national issues, they would wish to be aware of such data to see if there was anything which this Committee could do to assist.  Members commented that any such data was particularly pertinent to the amount of development taking place in Harrogate and Knaresborough, eg to find out where the dental practices, surgeries were located to cope with that development.  Members also queried whether a plan existed to show how the NHS intended to recruit staff for these services, recognising the national shortage of GPs and NHS dentists etc.


·           To improve social deprivation amongst young people within the constituency, the Committee should seek information regarding social sports facilities and consider how such facilities were being used within communities.  An example given was a field in Harlow Hill that was no longer used as a football pitch.


·           The Committee should seek information concerning thought processes regarding what the site of the Woodfield Community Primary School might be used for if that school were to close.  Councillor Paul Haslam expressed the view that Woodfield Community Primary School was very necessary within the Woodfield area and he hoped that that view would be expressed within responses to the consultation regarding possible closure of that school.


·         To address the health of the environment within the Constituency, the Committee should seek a report about pollution levels, information on the AQMA areas, and number of EV chargers to understand the locations where pollution levels were high and to be reassured that action was being taken.  A Member suggested that the Committee should also consider the way in which air quality was being measured and expressed the view that it should be measured in real time. 


  • Whenever constituency data profile packs became available in future, they should be emailed to Members without delay for possible discussion at the Committee’s meetings.  Members commented that data profile packs should be produced more frequently than every 4 years.  They also highlighted that many of the figures in the data profile considered today, whilst helpful in identifying trends, were out of date (eg the 2011 census and fuel poverty figures from 2017/18) and therefore the data was not as accurate as it could be. 


  • Members asked for the data profile pack for each Electoral Division to be forwarded to the relevant Member as a matter of urgency.


Resolved -  


That each of the suggestions put forward during the debate, as recorded in the preamble to this Minute, be discussed between the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Principal Democratic Services Officer to determine how best to progress each issue.

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