North Yorkshire Council
Logo from 1 April 2023
Founded1 April 1974
Roberta Swiers,
since 15 May 2024[1]
Carl Les,
since 20 May 2015
Richard Flinton
since 2010[2]
Political groups
Administration (47)
  Conservative (44)
  Independent (3)
Other parties (43)
  Liberal Democrat (13)
  Independent (13)
  Labour (10)
  Green (4)
  Liberal (1)
  Reform UK (1)
  Social Justice (1)
First past the post
Last election
5 May 2022
Next election
6 May 2027
Meeting place
County Hall, Racecourse Lane, Northallerton, DL7 8AD

North Yorkshire Council, known between 1974 and 2023 as North Yorkshire County Council, is the local authority for the non-metropolitan county of North Yorkshire, England. Since 2023 the council has been a unitary authority, being a county council which also performs the functions of a district council. The non-metropolitan county is smaller than the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire; the ceremonial county additionally includes Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, York and part of Stockton-on-Tees. North Yorkshire Council is based at County Hall, Northallerton, and consists of 90 councillors. It is a member of the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority.

The council has been under no overall control since 2023, having initially been under Conservative Party control following the 2022 North Yorkshire Council election. The council was previously under Conservative control from 1974 to 1993 and from 2003 to 2023. Between 1993 and 2003 it was under no overall control. The leader of the council is Conservative councillor Carl Les, appointed in 2021, and the Chief Executive is Richard Flinton.

The council was created in 1974, when local government in England was reformed and the non-metropolitan county of North Yorkshire was created, governed by a county council and seven district councils. On 1 April 2023, the districts were abolished and the county council took on their responsibilities, becoming a unitary authority.[3]


Logo of North Yorkshire County Council used until 2023

The non-metropolitan county of North Yorkshire and its county council were formed in 1974. Most, but not all, of the area had previously been in the North Riding of Yorkshire. North Riding County Council was abolished as part of the 1974 reforms, and the new council took over the old council's headquarters at County Hall in Northallerton.[4][5] The non-metropolitan county originally had eight districts: York, Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby.[6] In 1996 the City of York was expanded with the addition of parishes from the districts of Harrogate, Ryedale, and Selby and became a unitary authority, removing it from the non-metropolitan county.[7]

A further process of reorganisation began in October 2020, when the Government invited the councils in the non-metropolitan county of North Yorkshire and the City of York Council to submit proposals for reorganisation into unitary local authorities. The county council proposed a single unitary council for its entire administrative area and no change to York. The district councils (except Hambleton) jointly proposed an eastern council combining the areas of Ryedale, Scarborough, Selby and York, and a western council including Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate and Richmondshire. Following a public consultation, in July 2021 the Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick, announced that the county council's proposal would be taken forward and the first elections for the new unitary authority would be held in May 2022.[8][9]

The reorganisation was approved by parliament on 17 March 2022. The way the change was implemented was to merge the seven remaining districts into a single district called North Yorkshire, but with no separate district council; instead the existing North Yorkshire County Council took over district council functions. As part of the reforms, the county council was given the option to omit the word "county" from its name, which it took, becoming North Yorkshire Council.[10]

A combined authority was established in 2024 covering York and North Yorkshire, called the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority. It is chaired by the directly elected Mayor of York and North Yorkshire.[11][12]


Since 2023 the council has provided both district-level and county-level services. Between 1974 and 2023 the council provided only county-level services. It remains legally a county council, but also became a unitary authority on taking on the functions of the abolished districts.[13] Most of the area is covered by civil parishes, which form a second tier of local government.

Political control

The council has been under no overall control since June 2023, being led by a Conservative minority administration with support from three of the independent councillors.[14][15]

The first election to the county council was held in 1973, initially operating as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities until it came into its powers on 1 April 1974. Political control since 1974 has been as follows:[16][17]

North Yorkshire County Council

Party in control Years
Conservative 1974–1993
No overall control 1993–2001
Conservative 2001–2023

North Yorkshire Council (unitary authority)

Party in control Years
Conservative 2023–2023
No overall control 2023–present


The leaders of the council since 2001 have been:[18]

Councillor Party From To
David Ashton Conservative 20 June 2001
John Weighell Conservative 20 June 2001 20 May 2015
Carl Les Conservative 20 May 2015


Following the 2022 election and subsequent by-elections and changes of allegiance up to June 2024, the composition of the council was:[19]

Party Councillors
Conservative 44
Independent 16
Liberal Democrats 13
Labour 10
Green 4
Liberal 1
Reform UK 1
Social Justice Party 1
Total 90

Of the independent councillors, three sit with the Conservatives as the "Conservatives and Independents" group, which forms the council's administration, nine sit as the "North Yorkshire Independents" group which also includes the Reform UK councillor, and the remaining four independents are unaffiliated to any group. The Liberal councillor sits in a group with the Liberal Democrats.[20] The next election is due in 2027.


See also: North Yorkshire Council elections

Since the last boundary changes in 2022 the area has been divided into 90 electoral divisions, each electing one councillor. An election on the new boundaries was held in 2022, prior to the change to being a unitary authority. The next election is due in 2027, after which elections will be held every four years.[13]


The council is based at County Hall on Racecourse Lane, Northallerton (the building is just outside Northallerton's parish boundaries, being in the parish of Romanby).[21] County Hall was completed in 1906 as the headquarters for the North Riding County Council. It is a Grade II* listed building.[22] It transferred to the North Yorkshire County Council on local government reorganisation in 1974.

See also


  1. ^ Darley, Karen (16 May 2024). "New North Yorkshire Council chair pledges openness". Gazette and Herald. Retrieved 19 May 2024.
  2. ^ Aitchison, Gavin (13 May 2010). "Richard Flinton is new chief executive at North Yorkshire County Council". York Press. Retrieved 15 December 2023.
  3. ^ "The North Yorkshire (Structural Changes) Order 2022".
  4. ^ Brown, Jonathan (27 May 2014). "Spinning Yarm: The referendum hoping to bring this picturesque". The Independent. Archived from the original on 21 June 2022. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  5. ^ Chrystal, Paul; Sunderland, Mark (2010). Northallerton through time. Stroud: Amberley. p. 18. ISBN 9781848681811.
  6. ^ Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (22 July 2021). "Consultation response summary: local government reorganisation". GOV.UK. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  7. ^ "The North Yorkshire (District of York) (Structural and Boundary Changes) Order 1995". Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  8. ^ Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (21 July 2021). "Next steps for new unitary councils in Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Somerset". GOV.UK. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  9. ^ House of Commons (21 July 2021). "Local Government Update Written Statement". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  10. ^ "The North Yorkshire (Structural Changes) Order 2022: Article 3",, The National Archives, SI 2022/328 (art. 3), retrieved 23 June 2024
  11. ^ "The York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority Order 2023",, The National Archives, SI 2023/1432, retrieved 18 February 2024
  12. ^ "York and North Yorkshire devolution deal". Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. 1 August 2022. Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  13. ^ a b "The North Yorkshire (Structural Changes) Order 2022",, The National Archives, SI 2022/328, retrieved 16 December 2023
  14. ^ Plummer, John (12 June 2023). "Conservatives lose majority on North Yorkshire Council". The Stray Ferret. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  15. ^ "North Yorkshire: Conservatives lose majority after councillor quits". BBC News. 13 June 2023. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  16. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2023.
  17. ^ "North Yorkshire". BBC News Online. BBC. 5 June 2009. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  18. ^ "Council minutes". North Yorkshire County Council. Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  19. ^ "North Yorkshire". Local Councils. Thorncliffe. Retrieved 23 June 2024.
  20. ^ "Your councillors by political group". North Yorkshire Council. Retrieved 6 May 2024.
  21. ^ "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 15 December 2023.
  22. ^ Historic England. "County Hall (Grade II*) (1150967)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 19 August 2018.