On Yorkshire Day 2019, we launched a campaign to both find out how willing particular Councils around the edges of Yorkshire were to follow Government Guidance regarding the marking of Traditional County boundaries within their administrative area and to encourage them to erect signs marking the boundary of the Traditional County of Yorkshire.
Illustration of Yorkshire showing, in pink, the administrative area of East North, West & South Yorkshire and, in red, the parts of Yorkshire administered by Councils outside that area.
The Campaign was divided into two phases:
- Phase One focussed on the councils within the top two tiers of local government and our News & Blog article on this, including a report, can be seen here;
- Phase two, focussing on the Town and Parish councils, although well underway, came to a grinding halt as the councils succumbed to the effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic. We had originally intended to continue Phase Two when the Pandemic allowed but as more than two years has elapsed since the Campaign began and as we have already collated sufficient information to draw meaningful conclusions, we have decided to compile a report based on the information we have to-date. We shall, of course, add any further responses we receive and review our conclusions if required. The Phase Two report can be seen here.
Our findings of the campaign overall show that whilst the people most local to the boundary, those represented by the Phase Two Councils, are generally in favour of the installation of signs marking the true boundary of Yorkshire, the Town & Parish Councils themselves are not in a position to cover the cost of installing them so need to turn elsewhere for funding. Our findings also show that, despite the Government Guidance, the willingness of the Phase One Councils to install the signs is, unfortunately, lacking. Most were initially quite dismissive of the idea and one even denied that their administrative area includes parts of the Traditional County of Yorkshire at all; an opinion we felt compelled to correct! However, after further correspondence, some of those Phase One Councils did offer some degree of support to the idea, albeit, non-financial, and we appreciate the support they did give.
On a devolution point, this discrepancy between what people want at local level and what authorities are willing to offer them, shows that one does not have to look far up the levels of government to see where they start to lose touch with the people. It demonstrates the need for meaningful subsidiarity so that each level has fair funding and the powers needed to make and implement local decisions without having to consult a higher level.
Since beginning Phase 2 of this campaign, we have been working collaboratively with Yorkshire Ridings Society (YRS), of whom our Chair is an active member. YRS have been campaigning to preserve the integrity of Yorkshire since 1975 and have funded many of the boundary signs installed prior to this Campaign. As a consequence of this collaboration, we are pleased to confirm that several new signs marking the Traditional County of Yorkshire have been/are being installed along those parts of the true boundary of our County that are situated outside the administrative boundaries of East, North, West and South Yorkshire (see illustration, above). We give particular thanks and recognition to YRS for their ongoing work and for their funding of these new installations, and to YRS member, Cllr Ross Patterson, for his great efforts to achieve them.