Town Council status for Sherburn in Elmet
Following a resolution at a meeting of the Council (15 August 2022), where residents were offered the opportunity to have their say on Town Council status, Sherburn in Elmet Parish Council unanimously agreed to rename itself Sherburn in Elmet Town Council.
Town Council Chairman Gary Limbert said that residents’ responses were in the main very positive about the change, although some wanted to know what it would mean for the village. It was accepted that Sherburn in Elmet is now larger than many other Town and Parish Councils within North Yorkshire. There are in fact 731 parishes in North Yorkshire including 25 Town and 129 Parish Councils, Sherburn is now the 10th largest in North Yorkshire with a population in excess of 8,000 and growing, with new housing developments still to be completed! It is also the biggest employer within Selby District, and probably North Yorkshire, mainly at the industrial park and the newly developing Sherburn2 business park.
The Town Council appreciates that many old and new residents want to live in a semi-rural location and to be part of a thriving community, this will not change, and even though Sherburn in Elmet has increased in size, through population, housing development and employment, it still has a thriving and passionate community.
North Yorskhire County Councillor Bob Packham said that the decision to have a change in name to a Town Council was in large part linked to the decision being made by Central Government to change the system of County and District Councils in North Yorkshire and will see the old system significantly change from 1st April 2023. The changes will include a single unitary council for North Yorkshire, with the exception of City of York Council, which will remain as a separate unitary council. This will mean that all current district councils (including Selby District Council) will no longer exist. The new North Yorkshire Council will have 90 unitary councillors, being those elected as county councillors in May this year, to represent people across North Yorkshire. Where previously Sherburn had 3 Selby District Councillors and 1 County Councillor we will now have just a single North Yorkshire Councillor. Our North Yorkshire Councillor, representing Sherburn in Elmet and Huddleston and Newthorpe until May 2027 is Bob Packham, who can be contacted at: Cllr.Bob.Packham@northyorks.gov.uk
In short, the new single unitary council will have control over council tax, so rates will be standardised across the county instead of being set by the local district councils. Councillors are working to ensure that the new council will retain a local office at the current Selby District Council offices to offer face to face “expertise and advice”. It is likely that the new Council will look to devolve (hand down) powers to Town and Parish Councils to run and manage assets and services in their local areas “where they want to”, and to maintain community run services such as Sherburn and Villages Library.
Many of the Town Council owned facilities and amenities are or have been managed and run by local community groups and/or organisations, thus letting the community decided what is better for them, these include sporting facilities like Football, Rugby, Bowls, Tennis, Angling etc all are run and managed by local community volunteers. Other amenities and services like the local Library and two Community Centres are also run and managed by many volunteers and paid staff. The help and support from the Town Council for these facilities, amenities and services will not alter, in fact the Town Council hopes that it will improve greatly, with increased designated funding now available to apply for.
A Town or Parish Council is the tier of Local Government closest to the people, with the district authority Selby District Council above us and North Yorkshire County Council coming in at the top of the tier. Despite it's name, Sherburn in Elmet Town Council is not connected to the parish church, or it's governing body, although the geographical area covered by the Town Council roughly coincides with the parochial boundaries of All Saints the local C of E church. This is because the old parish church boundaries were used as the basis for creating civil parish councils towards the end of the 19th century.
Town and Parish Councils have limited powers to make decisions, but they do have the ability to negotiate with, and the power to influence those other organisations that do make final decisions such as Selby District Council or North Yorkshire County Council. Organisations realise that the Parish Council gives the best reflection on how a community feels about something and it's views should be taken seriously.