Boundary Referendum

Boundary Commission of Inquiry – “Not a land-grab” says Hull Leader

THE war of words between Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire councils has been inflamed through the widespread circulation of an email sent by Hull City Council Leader Councillor Stephen Brady to each and every member of the Hull council’s workforce.

The email sent last Friday 8th August 2014 was aimed at reassuring staff about the purposes of the Commission of Inquiry set up by the Hull council and to counter “misleading or inaccurate” media coverage. However, it disputes claims made in the media by East Riding Leader Councillor Stephen Parnaby that the purposes of the Commission was to justify a ‘land-grab:

Councillor Stephen Parnaby“What we have is a take-over bid by the city council and it is pretty crude – no frills or finesse – just a land-grab.” – Press release Cllr Stephen Parnaby, OBE 30th July 2014.

In an opening statement in the letter, Cllr Brady writes:

Councillor Stephen Brady“…it is not about doing away with the East Riding (Hull is – and always will be – in the East Riding), nor is it a ‘land-grab’ or an attempt to build on the green space around Hull. It is about looking at how Hull – and the wider region – can make the most of the opportunities we now have to bring more jobs and investment into our area.”

Cllr Brady also says that the East Riding of Yorkshire Council has been invited to play a part in the Commission of Inquiry and in a set of Frequently Asked Questions that was attached to the email it says: “The Commission has invited the East Riding of Yorkshire Council to participate in the review on two separate occasions but has received no response or acknowledgement to these approaches.”

The view being put forward by the East Riding Council leader and local councillors is that (from the same press release quoted above): “Hull City Council set up the commission to look into boundary change with no discussion whatsoever with us. The city council decided who would be on the commission, again with no discussion with us and with no invitation to join it.” The new “Hands Off!” campaign website goes even further: “Hull CC has not even had the decency to talk to us about it. How arrogant is that!”

Whilst the truth of the matter probably lies in the actual timing of any invites issued to the East Riding i.e. at what point in the process was participation requested, the tussle over the matter serves to highlight the differences that exist between the two authorities.

Boundary-Referendum-Poster_thumb.jpgThe Boundary Referendum to be held next month (at a cost of up to £60,000) is criticised in Cllr Brady’s email as a pointless exercise: “Asking a limited number of communities for their views through a referendum based on existing, if outdated, prejudices will not provide any answers or help anyone to understand where the problems lie or how much the existing arrangements are holding us back. That is simply a popularity contest between the councils, from a chosen few, and completely avoids the real issues.”

“The outcome will have no bearing on the work of the Commission, which at this stage is simply looking at the evidence and examining the options for change… it would be up to the Government’s National Boundary Commission to consult ALL of the communities affected by any proposals – rather than residents living in a limited number of areas. In this respect, the referendum misses the point entirely.”

However, despite the points of contention, the email does explain more about the thinking behind Hull City Council’s move to set up the Commission and deserves to be published for those purposes.

Whilst the email itself has not been published, a shorter version is available on the Hull City Council website: Hull City Council – Boundary Commission.

See also:  “Not a ‘land grab’ or attempt to build on green space” says Hull Council Leader
 
on HU12 Online.

2 replies »

  1. PRESS RELEASE received today from the East Riding Council:

    EAST RIDING OF YORKSHIRE COUNCIL REJECTS CITY COUNCIL CLAIM ON COMMISSION PARTICIPATION

    In view of continuing and misleading reports through the local media by Hull City Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council would like to make it absolutely clear to residents that it has not been invited to participate in the work of the City Council’s Commission of Inquiry, established to look at options for the authority to expand its boundaries.

    In response, East Riding of Yorkshire Council has organised a postal referendum, from 8-26 September, intended to provide a democratic opportunity for more than 70,000 voters in 12 parishes to have a say on their future and to influence future decision-making.

    A public consultation will also take in the views of people living in the wider East Riding.

    On its own website, Hull City Council has dismissed the outcome of the referendum saying that it will have ‘no bearing on the work of the commission’.

    Councillor Stephen Parnaby OBE, leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “It is clear by Hull City Council’s stance that they don’t believe the views of residents in the East Riding are important or need to be taken into account.

    “The Boundary Referendum, organised by this council, is a democratic opportunity for our local communities to have their say. This council is not afraid to ask its residents what they think and would encourage them to take part in the postal ballot, if eligible, or through the public consultation by returning the form on page five of the September edition of Your East Riding.

    “I would like to make it absolutely clear to our residents that, in spite of recent reports in the local media, the council was NOT asked by the City Council to participate in the commission’s work.

    “Instead, The Institute of Local Government Studies (INLOGOV) which has been employed by the City Council to provide advice to the Commission sent an e-mail to the council dated 15 July 2014 which said: ‘You would be very welcome to send an observer to the next meeting of the Commission’.

    “This council has had NO prior contact from Hull City Council or the Commission on the boundary issue. This is NOT participation.

    “The Commission’s terms of reference have effectively been dictated by the City Council which is to look at ways in which Hull can expand its boundaries or influence based upon a Greater Hull Council.

    “The process for selecting members of the Commission is unknown to us. The City Council state in today’s Hull Daily Mail Business Section (20/08/2014) that they weren’t chosen by the City Council. So who did? What were the criteria used in the process?

    “It was also reported in the Hull Daily Mail that the Commission includes the City Council but not us. Given that the Commission is also advised by City Council officers and it meets in the Guildhall how independent is it?

    “We do not question the integrity of any members of the Commission but we believe the Commission is being used to lend credibility to a review process which is fundamentally flawed and political in nature.”

    The parishes involved in the Boundary Referendum are Anlaby with Anlaby Common, Bilton, Cottingham, Elloughton-cum-Brough, Hedon, Hessle, Kirk Ella, North Ferriby, Preston, Swanland, Welton and Willerby.

    The decision to hold the referendum in these 12 parishes is based on previous proposals Hull City Council made for boundary changes at the time of local government reorganisation in 1996.

    The count for the formal boundary referendum takes place on Monday, 29 September, with the result announced shortly after. In addition, the result of the public consultation will be announced at the same time.

    For more information, see the referendum and boundary issue FAQs at http://www.eastriding.gov.uk or call (01482) 393939.

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  2. I am being kept very closely updated on this matter by County Hall. All will become clear in the next few days.
     
    However, I have to put one little matter straight. There have been no invitations for the East Riding to take part in the Commission of Inquiry. Cllr. Brady is not being truthful on that issue. What did happen, after the Commission had held its early meetings, was that members queried ERYC not being represented at the table following which ERYC was asked if it would like to send ‘an observer’ to the next meeting on the 24th July . Hardly an ‘invitation to participate’, and in case there’s any doubt, I have a copy of that email!
     
    Hull City Council has a hidden agenda. Nothing new there I suppose.
     
    Until a few days back there were 4 options that the Commission was to consider, They were

    1. Keeping the two existing Councils but having a Combined Authority for certain functions eg -planning,tourism and economic regeneration;
    2. Extending the City boundary to encompass the 30 minutes travel to work area;
    3. Extending the City boundary to encompass the contiguous built up area (the 12 communities including Hedon Preston, Bilton, Brough, Hessle Anlaby Cottingham etc);
    4. Merger of the officer administrations of Hull and East Riding Councils.

     
    Since then a 5th option has crept out of the woodwork!
     
    5. Combining the existing Hull and East Riding Councils into one local authority.
     
    Where have we heard that before?
     
    Just how far do they intend to go? Perhaps Grimsby and Scunthorpe should look out.
    Does anyone remember Humberside??
     
    John P. Dennis (Cllr.)
    668th Mayor of Hedon
    E.R.Y.C. Ward Member for S.W.Holderness
    Chair of ‘Hands off the East Riding’ Campaign
     
    http://www.handsoffeastriding.com

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