Yorkshire ridings poised for return: Two of the popular 1,000-year-old districts axed in 1974 to be restored - Humberside to be abolished

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THE HISTORIC East and North ridings of Yorkshire will be restored under proposals made yesterday by the Local Government Commission for England.

The 1,000-year-old ridings, from the old Norse meaning 'third part', or a collection of three administrative districts, were abolished in 1974. But yesterday public demand for their restoration was satisfied.

The commission, chaired by Sir John Banham, proposed a new unitary authority based on the historic North Riding, and a similar new body for the East Riding. The West Riding is not fully restored. The commission said that this would be 'impractical and inappropriate' as large parts of it are in the West and South Yorkshire metropolitan county areas. Changes here would be up to the Government, but areas could be added later.

Under the proposals, Humberside and North Yorkshire county councils would be abolished. There would be seven new unitary or all-purpose authorities in North Yorkshire and Humberside (compared with the existing two county and 17 district councils).

But in Lincolnshire, the existing two-tier system of councils would remain. The ridings were abolished in 1974 during the last reorganisation of local government, but local affection for both the term and the boundaries has never waned.

Sir John said yesterday that residents had shown strong loyalty to the ridings, and to Yorkshire, stronger than any feelings towards any district councils or existing county councils.

The new authorities proposed are:

Kingston upon Hull on the present city boundary;

York - including parts of Selby, Ryedale, Hambleton and Harrogate district areas;

The East Riding of Yorkshire - north Humberside except Hull and the Goole area of Boothferry;

The North Riding of Yorkshire - on the boundaries of Hambleton, Richmondshire, Scarborough and Ryedale;

The West Riding of Yorkshire - on the boundaries of Craven, Harrogate, and Selby, plus the Goole area of Boothferry;

North Lincolnshire - on the boundaries of Scunthorpe and Glanford plus the Isle of Axholme;

North-east Lincolnshire - on the boundaries of Great Grimsby and Cleethorpes.

Sir John said: 'The public support in principle the changes in north Yorkshire and on Humberside by nearly two to one and there is strong identification with the ridings, as well as with local communities.'

But he said that in Lincolnshire: 'The commission has found insufficient reasons to support change to the present two-tier arrangements. Indeed, the present system commands considerable support and we therefore are not recommending any change.'

Margaret Singh, chairperson of the Association of District Councils, said: 'The sheer size of the so-called ridings councils undermine the whole point of bringing local government closer to the people and create remote authorities too far away to be of help.'

The Association of County Councils questioned whether it was right to throw out a large structure in North Yorkshire, given that it had strong local support. Two county councils are in the High Court this week, in challenges to the Department of the Environment and the Local Government Commission over the procedure of the review.

Lancashire County Council claimed yesterday that the department acted unlawfully in issuing revised guidance to the commission. Derbyshire County Council begins its challenge in the courts on Wednesday.

(Photograph and map omitted)