Investment schemes that could boost economy by £7bn on way

AN AMBITIOUS list of transport and infrastructure schemes which could add up to £7bn to the Yorkshire economy will be unveiled today.

The list has been drawn up by the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership as it considers where to invest money over the next decade to help grow the economy.

It includes 17 projects ranked in order of the return on investment it is estimated each would produce and a further two that need further work.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The highest ranked project is a scheme to invest in better road links between junction 36 of the M1 and the Dearne Valley as well as making land available for business and up to 3,600 houses.

It is thought investing £24.4m in the scheme would bring a £3.6bn boost to the economy.

A package of measures aimed at Sheffield city centre totalling £26.4m would help deliver a new retail quarter and better train station access and boost the economy by close to £700m, the figures suggest. The Government has earmarked about £113m for the Sheffield City Region – a partnership of councils and business which covers South Yorkshire and parts of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire – to spend on transport and infrastructure projects.

The projects on the list published today will be considered for a share of that money as well as other sources of funding the City Region is pulling together.

Barnsley Council leader Sir Stephen Houghton, the chairman of the city region’s “local transport body” which will oversee how the £113m is spent, said: “Through this process, the LTB has compared the largest transport and infrastructure projects across the City Region and ranked their impact on economic growth and jobs.

“This analysis shows the huge scale of opportunity to boost economic growth in the Sheffield City Region.

“Investing in these 17 schemes has the potential to increase the City Region’s economic output by over 20 per cent and create almost 4,500 sustainable new jobs.

“This massive return on investment reveals the incredible untapped potential in the Sheffield City Region.”

While the list of projects has been ranked in order of their likely economic impact, the City Region has stressed that the final decision on whether to invest on a particular scheme will be based on a much broader ranger of factors including social reasons.

Tests will include whether projects create jobs that can be accessed by people in deprived areas.

Decisions will also be taken to make sure that the benefits are felt across the city region area and not just particular districts.

The chairman of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, James Newman, said: “Local leaders are working together to make sure that we make the most effective investment 
decisions for the Sheffield City Region.

“The Government recognises that local decisions are better made by local leaders – who have a better idea about what is needed to stimulate economic growth and create sustainable jobs.”

The documents to be published today suggest that supporting all 17 costed schemes would require funding of about £435m.

Options on the table include building a bypass from junction 37 of the M1 to connect with the A635 at Claycliffe in a move designed to reduce traffic congestion and open up land for as many as 800 homes and significantly more for business use.

The Sheffield City Region last year struck a “city deal” with the Government making it one of only four areas in the country to be given Government funding for the next 10 years to spend on transport and infrastructure improvements.

It is in the process of creating a combined authority, a formal structure bringing councils and the transport authority in South Yorkshire together focused on measures to improve the area’s economy.

The five councils in West Yorkshire along with York are also proposing to form a combined authority.