West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the driving forces behind economic growth in Leeds City Region, have invested more than £423m on key economic and transport schemes since its creation in 2014, according to latest figures.
The bulk of the funding has been provided through the £1bn Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal, agreed with Government in 2014, and £1bn West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund. Schemes supported are set to boost economic growth and improve access to better jobs, skills, housing and transport services.
The news comes as the Combined Authority backed almost £20m worth of flood alleviation, transport and investment projects at its final Board meeting of 2017/18 last week. This will help to take projected Leeds City Region Growth Deal investment for the financial year to more than £100m.
Key schemes funded or part-funded through the Combined Authority since 2014 and delivered in partnership with local authorities and other partners include:
- Apperley Bridge and Low Moor railway stations in Bradford, which opened in 2015 and 2017, respectively. These stations are helping to improve access to jobs and other economic opportunities.
- Improvements to the A629 between Halifax, in Calderdale, and Huddersfield which will address key congestion hot spots and journey time reliability as well as improve Halifax town centre’s pedestrian environment and infrastructure.
- Investment in Kirklees College that will support more than 1,600 new students in Leeds City Region.
- Investment into flood alleviation in Leeds, which uses state-of-the-art movable weir systems to provide more than 3,000 homes, 500 businesses and 300 acres of development land with an increased protection against flooding.
- The building of the 5.5km Wakefield Eastern Relief Road that is helping to drastically reduce congestion and pollution within Wakefield city centre and has opened up land to build 2,500 new homes.
- Works to the historic York Guildhall to renovate it into a new riverside digital media arts centre.
Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority and leader of Bradford Council, said: “The West Yorkshire Combined Authority and LEP are delivering on their joint promise to build a strong and successful Leeds City Region by investing in economic, transport and infrastructure projects that benefit everyone.
“It is striking just how much we have achieved in less than four years with new roads, railway stations and colleges now up and running – successes that few other City Regions can match.
“However, there is still much to do and we are working with our partners locally and with government nationally to continue to make the case for devolution so our success is long-term and sustainable. With further funding and greater devolved powers, we will be better placed to close the economic gap that exists between the prosperity of the south and the potential of the north.”
Roger Marsh, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “It is staggering to see just how much of a difference we are making less than four years since the Combined Authority was created.
“We received the largest Growth Deal ever handed out by Government in 2014 and, from a virtual standing start, we’ve invested it wisely in schemes that have helped make Leeds City Region the most attractive place in the North for businesses to start up, grow or relocate.
“This is a job well begun and I look forward to seeing where the next four years will take us as we continue to build Leeds City Region as a globally-recognised economy where extraordinary growth benefits everyone who lives and works here.”
Coun Judith Blake Leeds City Council leader and Combined Authority member, said: “These outstanding figures shows just how much we are achieving across West Yorkshire and the Leeds City Region with the money we have.
“The Combined Authority’s investment has meant the injection of much-needed cash into vital schemes that will generate inclusive growth in our economy, from which everyone can benefit.
“As well as helping to create new jobs, it is providing people access to the skills and training that equips them with the skills that businesses need, making possible the development of new and affordable housing and delivering improvements to transport.”
Minister for Local Growth, Jake Berry, said: “With Growth Deal funding continuing to spur rapid growth, job creation and major infrastructure improvements, Leeds City Region continues to go from strength to strength.
“With an economy worth £64.6 billion, Leeds City Region is one of the biggest players within the Northern Powerhouse and a testament to what the Combined Authority and the Local Enterprise Partnership have achieved.”
Funding backed by the Combined Authority last week progressed a number of transport and infrastructure schemes including improvements to Bradford interchange, additional flood alleviation schemes for Leeds and the wider City Region and works on York Outer Ring Road.
The Leeds City Region Enterprise Growth Deal is a £1bn package of Government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.