City Deal projects across the Leeds City Region are now either complete or on target, members of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority heard at their meeting in Dewsbury on Thursday 12 March.
Among the projects that are now operational include the Devolved Youth Contract in Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield, which had seen over 2,000 young people progressing into employment, education or training outcomes. 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.
In July 2014, the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership secured a £1bn Growth Deal settlement, the country’s largest, which uniquely included £420m to establish a £1.4bn West Yorkshire plus Transport Fund. In January, This was supplemented by an additional £54.6m of Growth Deal funding announced in January.
Delivery of a number of West Yorkshire plus Transport Fund projects and Growth Deal initiatives will commence in April. These include six strategically important housing and regeneration projects across the Leeds City Region including city centre development schemes creating new investment opportunities and transport schemes designed to underpin economic and housing growth.
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 into use.
Key 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.
WYCA Chair and Wakefield Council Leader, Cllr Peter Box said:
“These reports show the scale of what we have achieved across each West Yorkshire district, York and into the City Region in the Combined Authority’s first year.
“We know that locally managed schemes have and are still outstripping national initiatives, which shows why it is so important we work towards a full, no-strings-attached, devolution deal that will make it possible for us to meet our commitment to create over 60,000 new jobs, provide training for 50,000 people, build 200,000 new affordable homes and deliver an efficient transport network.”
In 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. And a further two, 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.
And earlier 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.