THE debacle over Bedale, Aiskew and Leeming Bar parishes and where to draw the boundary line is a great example of how good intentions can end up getting totally swamped by bureaucracy. The one thing everyone seems agreed upon is that it has been a colossal waste of money which would have been better spent on almost anything else.

You have to sympathise with Yvonne Rose who believed it would benefit the parishes, in that most people had absolutely no idea they had different councils anyway and the money could have been more evenly spread. And maybe there has been a benefit in that there’s now an idea the authority’s will work more closely together for the benefit of all.

The sadness is that it has cost many thousands of pounds of taxpayers money to sort out a consultation to which only around 14 per cent of the electorate felt strongly enough to respond. More than half of the people who actually sent back the letter or went online did think it was a good idea in one form or another.

It seems bizarre that Hambleton District Council had no choice but to get involved in a hugely expensive consultation with public money. Maybe that’s the bigger question, bearing in mind the authority has just been obliged to send out another letter to make sure no one wants to comment on the decision not to merge. Can bureaucrats not develop a quick, easy and most importantly cheap way of gauging public opinion?

Perhaps we could lump together consultations with elections or council tax demands, so when polling cards or council bills are sent out people are asked their opinions on the latest issues of concern, or developments of interest. Unfortunately we fear before that could be done a major consultation exercise would have to be carried out to test the water. Oh dear!