A FRESH ‘Yarm for Yorkshire’ campaign has been launched.

Campaigners want Yarm Town Council to hold a referendum on leaving Stockton Borough Council and possibly joining neighbouring Hambleton District Council.

Following the request Yarm council has asked officers at Stockton council to investigate whether a referendum would be legally viable.

After receiving legal opinion Yarm Town Council will decide whether to go ahead with a referendum, which would cost about £12,000.

A Yarm for Yorkshire campaign group has formed and the Yarm Residents Association has launched an online campaign which attracted 200 followers in 12 hours.

Paul Smith, a former Yarm councillor and leading member of the Yarm for Yorkshire campaign group, said the recent example of the replacement of ‘historic’ cobbles around the 18th Century town hall was an example of Stockton council being out of touch.

The council says the work is part of a £500,000 scheme to improve the High Street involving better access to the war memorial and town hall and new lighting.

Mr Smith said: “I am fed up with watching Stockton council destroy a town I have come to love and want my daughter to appreciate when she grows up."

However Yarm town councillor Marjorie Simpson, Independent, said there was no guarantee services would improve in Hambleton and could possibly be worse.

Mark Chatburn, Ukip councillor on both Yarm and Stockton councils, said he can understand the emotional attachment to Yorkshire and was a very proud Yorkshireman himself.

However he dismissed the referendum campaign as simply “a stunt” designed to help criticise Stockton Borough Council. 

Leader of Stockton Council, Councillor Bob Cook, appealed to residents to remain in the borough.

He said: “Let’s not forget Yarm residents elect councillors to represent them on Stockton Borough Council which delivers a huge range of very high quality services.

"All residents can benefit from these crucial and important services which range from safeguarding our vulnerable adults and children to supporting our schools, a commitment to weekly refuse collections – one of the most reliable in the country - and comprehensive recycling services not to mention fabulous parks, open spaces, museums and libraries."