Agenda item

Public Questions & Statements

Members of the public may ask questions or make statements at this meeting if they have given notice and provided the text to Melanie Carr of Democratic Services (contact details below) no later than midday on Tuesday 20 September 2022. Each speaker should limit themselves to 3 minutes on any item.  Members of the public who have given notice will be invited to speak:

·           at this point in the meeting if their questions/statements relate to matters which are not otherwise on the Agenda (subject to an overall time limit of 30 minutes);

·           when the relevant Agenda item is being considered if they wish to speak on a matter which is on the Agenda for this meeting.

If you are exercising your right to speak at this meeting, but do not wish to be recorded, please inform the Chairman who will instruct those taking a recording to cease whilst you speak.



Mr Adrian Perry attended the meeting to read out a statement on behalf of Scarborough Civic Society, as follows:

‘We have great concerns about the future structure of local government in North Yorkshire especially in the unparished part of Scarborough. Some sources of information state that there will be a gradual change and officers are involved in work-streams to discuss how things might operate. However, residents are asking for answers and reassurances now.  For example, will all current services be maintained at the same level? NYCC seem to have little experience of managing parks and gardens and may try to get a new Scarborough Council Town Council to maintain them. The recent document issued by NYC explains that a Scarborough Town Council may wish to undertake the maintenance of parks and open spaces which could be financed by a precept. This would result in the local tax payer suddenly having to pay a very high precept for a service which was included in their previous council tax bill which was without a precept. 


Can we assume that we will continue to have a planning department based in Scarborough as well as locally based Ecology Officers and Conservation Officers. Planning, we understand, will be done on a constituency basis. For Scarborough and Whitby, it means that the planning committee will consist of members drawn from the 15 unitary councillors elected last May. This could create complications in its own right. For example some of the councillors might have executive roles and so could not serve on the regulatory committees.


Will officers be remaining in the St Nicholas Street offices? Or will they eventually move out to Pavilion House. Or will most officers be based in Northallerton?


What will happen to the Town Hall? Has any thought has been given to the creation of a town museum by obtaining grant-funding to expand Scarborough Museums and Galleries.  For what seems like many years there has been talk of a Museum on the High Street, so it is dispiriting to see large sums of grant money directed towards new projects in the Town Bid, when we risk losing the Town Hall which is an important cultural asset packed with historical artefacts. Currently there is no capacity to display these works of art elsewhere. Is it planned to continue to allocate grants to support cultural enterprises such as SJT?


The reasons given for the changes are that this is central government driven, with the aim of reducing costs and enabling more direct funding to the area via a mayor. However, there is a fear that this will result in asset stripping by NYC with the sale of Scarborough SBC properties and the transfer of revenues such as parking charges from Scarborough to NYC.

We don’t want to sleepwalk into this new council. These issues need to be clarified before April next year otherwise we will be confronted by a fait accompli which could be very damaging to our trust in local government.’


In response, the Democratic Services Officer read out a prepared NYCC Officer Response, which confirmed all the assets and services that were currently provided by Scarborough Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council would become the responsibility of North Yorkshire Council on 1 April 202, and all staff would be transferred across with be no gap in service provision.


She also confirmed the Council was committed to retaining offices in all areas of the County in order to administer services locally, and it was absolutely not the case that all officers would be based in Northallerton.  It would also be undertaking reviews of all office accommodation in Scarborough, including Scarborough Borough Council’s existing proposals for the development of new offices at Pavilion House and the former Comet building, to ensure that offices met the requirements of customer, provided efficient working environments for staff, and value for money.


Finally she noted that:

·          At this stage, no decisions had been made, including in respect of Scarborough’s Town Hall.

·          A Community Governance Review, including a public consultation, was currently being undertaken to identify whether there was interest in and support for the establishment of parish councils for the unparished areas in Scarborough and Harrogate.  The closing date for the responses is 30 September 2022 and full information is available at 

·          The Civic Society and all interested individuals and organisations were being encouraged to participate in the public consultation.

·          If a parish council were to be created for the currently unparished areas in Scarborough, it was likely that the first election would take place in May 2024.  After the first election, the parish council would be able to call itself a town council if it so wished, and it would also be able to express an interest to North Yorkshire Council for taking responsibility for services or assets in the parish that were managed by North Yorkshire Council.  This process was called double devolution.  Proposals would have to have a solid business case and delivery plan.  If a transfer were agreed, the budget incurred by North Yorkshire Council for the agreed level of service would be transferred to the parish council.  The parish council could also choose to raise a precept to provide a higher level of service. 

·          The intention was there would be no change in the delivery method or standards of Street scene services on day one. The existing teams would continue to deliver the services as they do now. Post day one; there would inevitably be a review of the services, as teams were brought together under one structure.  

·          Discussions were ongoing with regard to the structure of the committee system, and a member working group was considering the matter, with the intention that the Executive would agree the new committee structure in November, in order to have it in place for day one and training and support provided for members and officers.

·          In terms of the planning service, very little would change on day one, with teams still based locally dealing with the caseload of applications as they do now. 


Members went on to discuss the issues raised in the public statement and expressed their own concerns and the need for keeping services in the borough. 


County Councillor David Jeffels drew members’ attention to the coming ‘Lets Talk’ events, recognising that good communications would be key to addressing residents’ concerns.


County Councillor Janet Jefferson confirmed that Chartered Trustees were now in place in unparished area responsible for preserving the civic side of the Borough and could choose to appoint a Major and ask for a precept.  She also suggested it might be worthwhile extending the consultation period to take account of the recent mourning period, and Mr Perry asked that more be done to advertise the consultation, as he was confident that some residents were unaware.


County Councillor David Chance confirmed the key intention was to be ‘safe and legal’ on vesting day.