A DRAFT charter has been drawn up to shape how North Yorkshire's new single authority will work with parish councils in South Craven and across the county.

If the charter is endorsed at a county council executive meeting on Tuesday January 10, a 12-week consultation will begin with all 731 parish and town councils in North Yorkshire.

Councillor Carl Les – who is leader of the county council and will head up the new authority, which launches on April 1 – says: "Parish and town councils are an important link in the chain of local government and have a vital role acting on behalf of their communities.

"The new North Yorkshire Council is eager to work with parish and town councils across the county as a key aspect of its commitment to connect with local communities, understand their needs and respond to their priorities."

Pledges in the draft charter include consulting on planning, licensing and highways issues, and supporting parishes to maintain their local services and assets if they wish to and where practicable.

Cllr Greg White, the county council’s executive member for stronger communities, says: "We recognised from the outset in establishing the vision and aims of North Yorkshire Council that our communities are the lifeblood of the county. Each has its distinct attributes and needs, and parish and town councils are uniquely placed to understand and represent these.

"The draft charter is the first stage in a process and presents a framework for a partnership that can be built on as North Yorkshire Council develops and transforms over time."

The new authority is being formed through a merger of the county council and the existing seven district and borough authorities, including Craven Council. It represents the biggest shake-up of local government since 1974.

Cllr Les adds: "Whilst the new authority will cover the largest geographical area of any of the nation’s councils, it aims to be the most local.

"The restructuring of local government is taking place to pave the way for a devolution deal, which is set to see the Government hand over key decision-making powers and millions of pounds in funding to be overseen by local political leaders.

"The proposed devolution deal – which is set to see an influential metro mayor elected in May 2024 – offers the chance to improve education and job opportunities, boost economic growth and provide better roads and public transport."