West Yorkshire Combined Authority's most recent meeting took
place on Thursday 31 March at its Wellington House HQ in Leeds.
What was discussed and decided?
Key issues discussed at the meeting included:
- Implications of Government's 2016 Budget;
- Growth Deal Approvals;
- Refresh of the Leeds City Region Strategic Economic Plan;
- Transport Priorities and Transport for the North;
- Minimum Standards Charter for Construction Industry Employees
Government's 2016 Budget
A report setting out the implications of the Government’s
2016 budget and the principal implications related to Combined Authority powers
focusing on business rates, flooding and transport was discussed.
The Chancellor’s cuts for all business rate payers will
provide short-term benefits for small businesses and significant long-term
benefits for larger businesses. However
there was concern that the compensation to local authorities for the loss of
income resulting from business rate cuts are not guaranteed to cover the full
loss. Clarity on the detail is being sought.
The Government has committed a further £130m to repairing
roads and bridges damaged by Storms Desmond and Eva on top of the £49m
previously announced which would benefit, for example, Linton Bridge in Leeds,
Scout Road in Calderdale and the A646 near Mytholmroyd. In addition, a further £700m would be added to
the Government’s flood defence capital programme by 2020 with maintenance
spending to be increased by £40m.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s own £5m Business Relief
Fund, set up in February has allocated £580,000 of financial aid has to help
flood-hit companies get back on their feet after the Boxing Day floods.
The Chancellor committed support to the Northern Transport
Strategy, developed by Transport for the North (TfN). This includes commitments
to develop High Speed 3, upgrade the M62 to a four-lane smart motorway and
improve Leeds Rail Station in line with HS2, using part of the £300m funding
pot announced in November’s Spending Review.
Further Budget announcements included the bringing forward
by two years of previously announced critical road projects, including
Lofthouse junction and capacity enhancements to the M1 at junction 35a-39
(Rotherham to Wakefield). Funding to improve local roads was announced with
£15m allocated from the Pothole Action Fund to repair around 277,000 potholes
A further report will be brought to a future West Yorkshire
Combined Authority meeting once more details of the Budget’s implications are
Growth Deal Approvals
Almost £25m of Growth Deal funding was approved to advance
six schemes that support West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s commitment to
supporting people develop work skills through education and training, to
developing a better local transport network and improving people’s standard of
The schemes are part of the Combined Authority’s Skills
Capital, Resource Efficiency, Housing and Regeneration and the West Yorkshire
Plus Transport Fund programmes.
Grant funding of £14m was agreed to enable Leeds College of Building to operate
from two sites in Leeds to provide world class education and training
facilities for students and the construction industry to meet the growing needs
and skills gaps in the industry. When the project is completed, £2.1m of the
funding will be repaid to the Combined Authority.
It was agreed that the Combined Authority’s Director of
Programme Delivery and the Chair of the Investment Committee should find a
funding mechanism to allocate £7m to construct a new 6.4 kilometre District Heating Network (DHN). TheDistrict Heating Network will connect
the Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility in the Aire Valley to customers
across the Leeds, the benefits of which would include tackling fuel poverty and
a 40% reduction in carbon between 2005 and 2020.
The Combined Authority was told that other similar projects
are being developed in other West Yorkshire districts and was agreed a detailed
programme would be submitted to the Investment Committee for further
consideration and future recommendation to the Combined Authority.
The York Central
Access and Station Masterplan scheme’s Gateway 1 submission sets out how it
will make it possible to develop a highly sustainable new central business
district with modern commercial floor space in the city centre.
This kind of space is currently lacking in central York and the
new development will enable businesses to grow and encourage companies to
relocate. The scheme will also make possible the development of up to 2,500
homes close to the city’s rail station.
Improvements at the front of the station will create a new
and enhanced city centre gateway. There will also be savings on journey times
for buses, taxis, cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.
The Combined Authority approved £2.1m to progress the
Expenditure of £70,000 to progress the feasibility work to
progress the M62 Junction 24a scheme
Located where the M62 crosses the A641, the proposed new
junction 24a at Rastrick would ease traffic congestion at Junctions 24, Ainley
Top, and 25, Brighouse.
The funding was agreed to carry out an extended feasibility
study into the economic, social and wider impacts of the scheme.
Pre-feasibility work to re-evaluate the economic benefits of
the South East Bradford Link Road will be carried out with the £91,000
agreed at the Combined Authority meeting. This work will investigate options to
provide improved connectivity between south and east Bradford, understand the
scale and location of growth that can be accommodated sustainably and at the
same time reduce congestion along Tong Street into Bradford City centre.
The remaining £1.6m was also approved for the development of
the A629 Phase 2 scheme, which will accelerate progress with the design
work for junction improvements at congestion bottlenecks along the A629 in
Salterhebble and south Halifax. These improvements will deliver benefits for
all road users, and local residents and businesses.
Refresh of the Leeds
City Region Strategic Economic Plan (SEP)
It was agreed at the meeting that the draft update of the
Leeds City Region Strategic Economic Plan be endorsed as the West Yorkshire
Combined Authority’s overarching economic strategy.
Completed in March 2014, the SEP was both a a statement of
local economic ambition and policy and a competitive bid document for a share
of the government’s £12bn Local Growth Fund.
In September 2015, following recommendation by the LEP Board, the
Combined Authority approved a review of the SEP two years on in order to
re-assess the strategy in light of experience of project delivery to date and
economic and political developments over that period.
Work to review the SEP has included:
- an update and review of the economic evidence
base underpinning the Strategy;
- economic modelling both of the impact of LEP
investments to date and of the expected economic impact of investments planned
for the coming decade;
- extensive consultation with external
stakeholders, business representatives, local authority partners and the
and Transport for the North (TfN)
The Committee considered a report setting out the key
messages in the recently published Transport for the North (TfN) report.
It was noted that Lord Adonis, as Chair of the National
Infrastructure Commission, had published a report on high speed rail in the
North which recognised the need for immediate and significant investment in the
North and a plan for longer-term transformation to reduce journey times,
increase capacity and improve reliability.
The report also recommends kick-starting HS3, bringing
forward of investment to boost capacity on the M62 and recognised the
opportunities of upgrading the Calder Valley route.
Members at the meeting agreed Lord Adonis should be invited to
a future Combined Authority to discuss some of the issues set out in his
Members also agreed that it was important to set out a consistent
and clear narrative to influence the northern and national agenda and to have a
clearly defined list of regional priority interventions. The Transport Committee had considered the
Leeds City Region’s ambitions in the context of its role in the Northern
Powerhouse and had suggested the six following key messages:
- A Northern Powerhouse rail network that
radically improves journey times and frequencies without causing a detriment to
the existing network;
- A full review of Strategic Highway Network
priorities, recognising the importance of the M62 and M1 to the Leeds City
- Improved surface access to Manchester and
Leeds/Bradford Airports that offer businesses more international destinations;
- Significant improvements to road and rail to
transform the distribution network;
- Smart ticketing and fare simplification with LCR
leading the way;
- Leeds City Region schemes that have pan-northern benefits are
prioritised and supported.
These key messages were endorsed and it was agreed that work
to identify Leeds City Region’s priorities for submission to Transport for the
North be continued.
Charter for Construction Industry Employees
West Yorkshire authorities are signing up to a Minimum
Standards Charter which supports the principles that:
- the Health & Safety of workers
is paramount, and that appropriate welfare facilities should be provided;
- skilled operatives should be used in
order to achieve the high standard finished product that is demanded;
- major contractors should offer
apprenticeships to the youth of the city region, and generally supports
initiatives to improve the education/training of construction employers and
- workers should be
fairly rewarded, and should be entitled to holiday, sickness, pension, accident
compensation and death in service rights;
- trade unions have a vital role,
including inviting construction employers to agree to employ operatives under
the terms and conditions of relevant national agreements.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority agreed to support the principles,
which encourage the adoption and adherence to a set of minimum standards of
employment on construction projects.
However they requested a further report on their implications
for tendering and procurement and the effect they may have on smaller
Full agenda page.
Back to top