CRUCIAL talks will take place next week amid fears the creation of a mayor to unite Yorkshire could instead leave the county divided, with many areas frozen out.
Concern is growing that a bid for a mayor covering the Leeds City Region could effectively cut North Yorkshire in half and leave all of East Yorkshire without devolution.
And it could also raise serious questions about the future of North Yorkshire Council, and the services it provides.
The initial idea was for a mayor to cover all of Yorkshire, but politicians in South Yorkshire have already indicated they are not in favour, feeling the area is too big. Some are also keen to build on their links with parts of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.
This has led to calls from the north and east of the region to have a Greater Yorkshire mayor, covering the west, north and east of the county but some politicians in West Yorkshire favour a Leeds City Region mayor, which would cover West Yorkshire, along with York, Harrogate, Craven, Selby and Barnsley. The initial idea of a Yorkshire mayor was to allow the Yorkshire brand to be used to greater effect in attracting investment.
And Carl Les, leader of North Yorkshire Council, said a Leeds City Region mayor “worries me greatly”.
“Some in West Yorkshire are resisting the Greater Yorkshire model. We haven’t fallen out and I’m going to see the leader of Leeds on Monday, and North Yorkshire will continue to work with Leeds and the Leeds City Region.”
His comments were echoed by Nigel Pearson, East Riding chief executive, and Darryl Stephenson, Hull Council chief executive, who said: “Hull is Yorkshire’s only port of any size and we are Yorkshire’s gateway to the Humber ports.”