West Yorkshire Combined Authority's most recent meeting took place on Thursday 12 March, 2015 at Dewsbury Town Hall.
What was discussed and decided?
Keys issues discussed at the
- Housing requirements across the Leeds City
Region and how to stimulate and incentivise the housing industry to build more,
- City Deal projects across the Leeds City Region are
now either complete or on target.
- Gateway Approvals to progress West Yorkshire
Plus Transport Fund Schemes on the A629 between Jubilee Road and Free School Lane in Kirklees and the East
Leeds Orbital Road.
- Providing an Assurance Framework setting out
governance arrangements and appraisal processes in place across the City
- Re-franchising of Northern and TransPennine
services through Rail North working with the Department for Transport and the
proposed Northern transport strategy being developed through the Transport for
the North Partnership.
- Transfer of LEP staff to the WYCA and the inward
investment function from Leeds and Partners to the LEP.
- A first stage devolution deal for West Yorkshire
is expected to be announced in the Budget on Wednesday 18 March.
the Leeds City Region’s Planning Authorities are ‘planning for growth’ and
planning for a significant number of houses has been approved the development
is not happening.
members agreed this showed that planning was not a barrier to creating
additional housing but the current housing market means development of those
approved schemes has been slow.
was agreed that work was needed to improve understanding of the demographic
evidence for assessing housing need and the cross-boundary impacts of housing
markets and that the WYCA should enable
and incentivise the housing industry to build more homes in line with the aims
of the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund and the LCR Strategic Economic Plan
Back to top
Growth Deal Schemes
getting there and we’re doing it’, was the phrase applied to both the Growth
Deal report and the subsequent West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund report.
Deal projects including the Devolved Youth Contract in Bradford, Leeds and
Wakefield, which had seen over 2,000 young people progressing into employment,
education or training outcomes are now complete. Apprenticeship Hubs have
provided over 1,000 new places for young people in small businesses across the
City Region and a £17.5m was launched recently to help small businesses invest
in skills and training
July, the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership secured a £1bn Growth Deal
settlement, the country’s largest. This was supplemented by an additional £54.6m
of Growth Deal funding announced in January.
Deal projects endorsed by the Combined Authority include One City Park in
Bradford and Northgate House in Halifax, along with the development of housing
and employment sites in Leeds, York and Skipton. They are forecast to create
thousands of permanent and temporary jobs, unlock more than £100m of private
investment, provide new local housing, and bring currently derelict sites back
this month, six housing and regeneration schemes were identified as ready for
delivery in the next twelve to 18 months and which will be appraised to assess
their economic impact. They include Barnsley town centre, Bath Road remediation
in Leeds, Bradford/Shipley Canal Road Corridor, Castleford Growth Corridor,
Pioneer House in Dewsbury and York Guildhall and Riverside.
Back to top
West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund
City Region’s £1bn Growth Deal settlement uniquely included £420m to establish
a £1.4bn West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund.
West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund schemes being progressed include Harrogate
Road New Line in Bradford, Wakefield Eastern Relief Road and extensions to rail
station car parks, York Outer Ring Road and the Pontefract Northern Link Road,
which was completed in February.
addition to the 21 West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund transport schemes to be
complete by 2021, there are a further 12 schemes scheduled to be on site by
2021 and a further six to be delivered by 2025.
the A629 from Jubilee Road to Free School Lane in Kirklees and the East Leeds
Orbital Road were approved for Gateway 1 Development Approval at today’s
meeting meaning modelling and the preparation of a high-level business case can
now take place.
was agreed that Gateway tests which Growth Deal and transport Fund projects are
required to pass before moving on to the next stage of development were
necessary but shouldn’t be allowed to delay the good progress being made.
Back to top
the WYCA and the LEP Board’s increasing degree of influence and control over
transport and economic development budgets and investment decisions, the
Government has asked them approve an Assurance Framework before the start of
the new financial year in April.
Framework sets out open and accountable governance arrangements that are in
place across the City Region, alongside the robust project and programme
appraisal processes that will be adopted to ensure value for money in future
Framework will be reviewed annually.
Back to top
Transport for the North
for the North emerged as a result of HS2 Ltd. Chair David Higgins report
‘Rebalancing Britain’ in which he said cuts in east-to-west journey times are
‘a necessity’ and introduced the concept of HS3.
is a partnership between Northern city regions, Combined Authorities and the
Department for Transport working closely with Highways England and Network Rail.
Government’s first draft of the strategy had been rejected because it was not
sufficiently ambitious or detailed and an update is being produced with the aim
of having a commitment included in the Budget on 18 March.
building on the ‘High Speed 3’ proposal, Transport for the North’s work also
reflect the needs of other modes including the strategic road network, freight,
travel within the city regions and integrated transport services including
customer service and smart ticketing.
Transport for the North representatives have highlighted the importance of
improving connectivity beyond the HS2/3 hubs in Leeds and York to ensure that
the whole city region benefits from the proposed investment.
meeting agreed it is important that decision affecting particular modes of
transport – road, rail, air - are not taken in isolation but as part of an
overall integrated network.
Back to top
Yorkshire Combined Authority is taking on administrative and back-office
support for Rail North Limited. Its offices will in the WYCA’s Wellington House
HQ in Leeds.
North represents 29 Local Transport Authorities in the north of England. It has
played a key role in shaping the Northern and TransPennine Express rail
franchises, which will start in April 2016 and has gained a commitment from the
Department for Transport to run the franchises from the north rather than
scrapping of unpopular 40 year-old Pacer train units and the introduction of
120 new carriageways to the North’s rail network by the end of the decade and
the inclusion of smartcard ticketing are key concessions Rail North has gained
from the Secretary of State. Electrification of the Caldervale Line through
Bradford and Halifax, better train services for the Five Towns area and
improvements to the Harrogate Line are among Rail North’s other ambitions. The
WYCA’s transport Committee will continue to press these issues along with
accessibility and integration of the network.
North’s achievements were described as a breakthrough on Whitehall’s ‘vice-like
grip’ on transport.
new Northern and TransPennine Express franchises announced in March 2015 and
due to be introduced in 2016, represent a step-change in the way that the
franchises will be managed.
of being managed remotely from Whitehall, both franchises with be managed by a
small team based in Leeds under a formal Partnership between Rail North and the
Department for Transport. There will be a Strategic Board, comprising senior
officers from Rail North’s partner authorities and DfT, with an independent
Chair. This Board will oversee a joint Rail North / DfT Management Team which
will manage the franchises.
the minimum requirements for the new franchisees are new Sunday services,
additional services in the morning and evening peak, train refurbishment and
the withdrawal of all Pacer units by 2020.
to run the two franchises are expected to be returned in mid-2015 and the
preferred bidders announced by the end of the year, by which time Rail North is
expected to be fully established.
Back to top
Transfer of LEP & Leeds and Partners
the WYCA’s creation in April 2014, employees of the former PTE (Metro) and the
LEP have worked closely together and since July 2014, have been located in
WYCA’s Wellington House HQ in Leeds.
next stage of integrating these functions is the formal TUPE transfer of the
LCR/ LEP employees from Leeds City Council into WYCA on 1 April 2015. Further
integration will take place during 2015/16 to ensure the best use of skills and
budgets to deliver WYCA’s aims.
and income on projects and programmes, currently run operated by the LEP will
be undertaken through the Combined Authority. Projects already underway and due
to be completed in 2015/16, will continue to be managed through Leeds City
Council. All others will be managed through WYCA financial systems.
the WYCA develops it is expected that other functions will move in to the
organisation and this includes 14 staff working for the inward investment
function of Leeds and Partners later in summer 2015. The intention is to
transfer the function into the LEP where this work can be integrated with other
Back to top
is expected that an announcement on a first stage Devolution deal for West
Yorkshire will be unveiled as part of the Budget on Wednesday 18 March.
has high ambitions and confidence that given the right powers, it can deliver
on them without the need for a new structure. ‘Power not Position’ was the
phrase used when discussing this.
It was felt that it would not be right for the
Chancellor to announce any deal on Wednesday 18 March without consulting the
Combined Authority beforehand.
was agreed that true devolution included fiscal powers, that deals announced to
date have not contained this and are therefore more decentralisation and that
this full devolution is what WYCA should be seeking.
Link to the meeting page agenda page.
Back to top