West Yorkshire ‘creating opportunity’ with £195m boost for economy and infrastructure
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) have secured £195m in capital funding for the region in 2018/19.
The nine-figure boost, discussed today (July 5) at a meeting of the authority’s Investment Committee, will be ploughed into schemes to improve road, rail and cycling links.
It will also help with the development of land for housing and commercial use, regenerate towns and city centres, and support companies as they create jobs and offer apprenticeships.
Cllr Peter Box, Chair of the West Yorkshire and York Investment Committee, said: “As a region we have been very successful in recent years in securing funding from Government and other sources to invest in our region’s future growth and prosperity.
“This investment is creating opportunity for people across the region – whether it’s the regeneration of Bradford’s iconic Odeon, the development of our enterprise zone sites across West Yorkshire which are helping to attract new companies and jobs to the region, or projects which will unlock land for house-building such as the Wakefield Eastern Relief Road, which has helped unlock development of over 1,600 new homes in my district.”
Cllr Box said the funding marks “only the starting point” in the reversal of “decades of under-investment” in the economy and transport infrastructure of the North.
He continued: “With key funding streams such as our Growth Deal set to run out in just three years, there can be no let-up in our efforts to secure a meaningful devolution deal for the region, giving us the tools to put in place the long-term investment our region needs to realise its full potential.”
Projects due for completion, or set to get underway by March 2019 as a result of Combined Authority funding, include: York’s new pedestrian and cycle crossing, Scarborough Bridge; improved cycle routes and canal towpaths across Bradford and Huddersfield; extra parking at Mirfield Rail Station; road improvements in Leeds and Glasshoughton; and housing at the New Bolton Woods urban village, near Bradford.
The Investment Committee also endorsed a raft of schemes in Calderdale with a total combined funding value of £34.5m, once fully approved.
Among them were the creation of an improved 6km canal towpath between Hebden Bridge and Todmorden; the demolition of three tower blocks at Beech Hill in Halifax to make way for new homes; and various improvements to key road links in the region.
At the Combined Authority’s annual meeting on June 28, it was announced that the LEP Growth Deal and the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund – together making up a large chunk of the Combined Authority’s capital funding – had created and safeguarded 27,500 jobs in three years.
To date, £335m in Growth Deal funding has been committed by the Combined Authority, helping to bring in an additional £342m in private and public sector investment.