When it comes to growing a local economy, local knowledge is vital.
It’s why Local Enterprise Partnerships were set up; why more power is being devolved to the regions, and why the Northern Powerhouse promotes Yorkshire globally.
We’re very ambitious here in York, North Yorkshire and East Riding.
Our existing £122m growth deal from government is on time and on budget, and on the back of this we secured a further £23.68m in Local Growth Deal funding from the government for more jobs and economic growth.
That’s what Local Growth Deals are all about – creating the right conditions for growth, putting in place the infrastructure that allows business to grow, more homes to be built and more people to be trained with the skills our businesses need.
Because we are locally led, we are able to respond to local economic needs.
Last week we saw Tadcaster Bridge reopened after being destroyed by flooding last year. North Yorkshire County Council did a fabulous job, rebuilding the listed bridge and retaining its original characteristics in half the time it would usually take.
We were pleased to invest £1.4m in widening it, making it easier for more pedestrians to cross and create the vital footfall needed to help the high street businesses recover and prosper again.
On the same day, Askham Bryan College opened a new state of the art Agri-Tech Centre in which we invested £1.6m.
It specialises in the use of technology in agriculture, and will give our vast agricultural sector access to students with the skills needed for a modern farm.
With our area’s rural roots and our economic priority to grow the sector, it is a win-win.
It is always satisfying seeing our strategic investment turned into reality and we are now seeing more being built across the region, whilst new business investment enquiries are pouring in on the back of the investments we have made.
The focus in our first major Local Growth Deal funding back in 2014 was on increasing housing.
In this funding round, it was on leveraging private sector investment and increasing productivity.
It’s in line with Theresa May’s new industrial strategy tackling the productivity gap between the North and South of England.
In our area, where low paid sectors such as agriculture and tourism dominate, we’re creating more highly paid jobs.
Under this latest round, a very exciting project to receive more funding could bring thousands of new, high value office jobs to York.
Helping to raise the average wage is much needed here. A 72-hectare site, York Central Enterprise Zone is next to York’s railway station connecting it to eight of the ten largest UK cities in less than two hours.
It’s a great advantage for any business, and one of the reasons we’re hoping it will attract many more businesses here.
Its Enterprise Zone status also means the region retains any business rates previously returned to central government. This could be worth £100m to the region over the next 25 years.
Alongside this we are really excited to be investing in Bridlington Harbour, with plans to extend the existing harbour area to create a stunning marina.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Bridlington Harbour Commissioners have been working tirelessly to develop their proposals and seeing this project take shape will transform this key coastal town.
Several projects are in line to receive funding from the latest round of the Local Growth Deal.
Harrogate Station/Centre Redevelopment is one such project. This will see improvements made to the rail station area to enhance the overall passenger experience and to open up potential housing and employment development opportunities.
There will also be support for a new employment site at Pickering, Thornton Road, in North Yorkshire to allow the expansion of the high tech engineering sector in the Vale of Pickering.
Overall, the latest Growth Deal is the third of these rounds of funding taking our area’s total award to £145.88m.
It’s a great platform for our area’s growth.
Other projects to get the funding
-Supporting York Central Enterprise Zone
-Investing in Scarborough to incentivise investment in strategic housing sites
-Support for the transformation of Bridlington Harbour and Marina
-Infrastructure support to open up sites for housing and employment in Skipton and to improve area around the station to generate economic uplift to the area
-A Skills Capital Programme to develop further education learning environments
-Flood alleviation in the East Riding of Yorkshire