Residents speak out against boundary change

stephen parnaby
stephen parnaby

The people of East Yorkshire have spoken - there must be no change to their county boundaries.

A referendum was held after Hull City Council announced a desire to extend its boundaries and absorb some of the East Yorkshire towns and villages on its borders.

A whopping 96% of those polled voted against any possible expansion by the city of Hull.

There were two issues which the referendum covered - firstly around Hull City’s plans for a boundary change which would see a number of East Riding villages absorbed into Hull.

The second question was whether Hull City Council should be allowed to build on the land it owns in the open green spaces of the East Riding on its boundaries.

On Question one there were 1,887 (3.5%) votes and 51,312 (96.5%) said no. On question two, 167 (4%) said yes, with 50,981 (96%) against.

The total votes cast were 53,199 and the turnout percentage was 75.27%.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council leader Coun Stephen Parnaby said: “The voice of the people has been heard loud and clear and the massive “no” vote on both questions should now be respected by Hull City Council and the so-called independent commission which it set up to look into various boundary and other options. Perhaps they should all realise that the first part about democracy is actually asking the opinion of the public – not forcing political opinion in a dictatorial manner upon the public.

“Let us hope the result of this referendum puts a stop to the City Council’s hostile takeover of the East Riding and land grab.

We could have used the time that the referendum has taken up over the last six months since the City Council set up its Commission to review the boundaries to talk about more important issues such as all the great things that are happening to help grow the local economy and to create jobs and investment but we have had to respond to the debate which the City Council have yet again raised regarding the boundary.

If there is anything good to come out of all of this it would be if the City Council now accept this result and shut up about the boundary issue for at least another 20 years – and if this resounding result isn’t enough, perhaps we can put this on the back burner for ever.”

Coun Parnaby thanked the voters in this referendum for so overwhelmingly rejecting any extension by Hull City Council of its boundaries into the East Riding.

“This is a fantastic result with people voting in unprecedented numbers demonstrating that the strength of feeling is no less diminished than it was in the 1990s and the 1970s when the City Council had previously raised the boundary issue.

“I would like to congratulate the Hands off the East Riding campaign group which has so successfully run the “No No” campaign with a special thank you to their chairman Coun John Dennis.

“All the people who helped, particularly those East Riding Ward Councillors who assisted the Town and Parish Councils that took part in the campaign, and members of the communities.

The turnout of 75.2% easily exceeds the average turnout of 43.6% at the 2011 East Riding local elections in the affected wards.

It also exceeds the turnout at the European Election earlier this year of 31.78% for the East Riding and 27.11% for Hull.

Coun Parnaby said: “The City Council have done their best to belittle the referendum and its importance and have shown their arrogance towards people in the East Riding. For example, you may recall that the City Council has repeatedly claimed that the referendum is asking “the wrong question at the wrong time”. What do they say to the 50,000 people who cast their votes in the referendum?

The City Council also said “the outcome will have no bearing on the work of the Hull Commission”. How would they know that if the Commission is truly independent of the City Council which we know it isn’t?

“It was also said by the City Council that “the referendum misses the point entirely” but 50,000 people disagree.

“It was also said by a city councillor to be “childish nonsense” and that the vote was “premature” and “meaningless”.

Coun Parnaby said: “The people of the East Riding will not be treated with such contempt and it is unsurprising that such a huge number of people have voted in this referendum.

“The point is that we are not afraid to ask the people for their views in order to give them a say over their future unlike the City Council who have had no plans to give them a say or indeed Hull residents.

“The good thing is that the Local Government Boundary Commission will not entertain hostile takeover bids which is what this is and the result of this referendum should block any move by the City Council to review the boundaries in its tracks.

Lets hope that this stops this now to avoid any further waste of time and money.”

Coun Parnaby suggested the City Council had another agenda.

“Is this really about their ambition to set up a Combined Authority to run strategic economic development and planning and tourism and to replace the Humber LEP which they don’t like because they can’t control it. Is this the direction in which the Commission is being taken? I think so along with many others?”

“Before 1996 we had the county of Humberside forced upon us for over 20 years. It never won the hearts of local people – many fought tirelessly for its abolition and they succeeded thankfully.”