Yorkshire needs region-wide transport authority, says City of York leader Ian Gillies

City of York Council leader Ian Gillies
City of York Council leader Ian Gillies
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A Conservative council leader has called for a Yorkshire-wide transport authority to be created regardless of what model of devolution ends up being adopted in the region.

Ian Gillies, the leader of City of York Council, said he and other political leaders were sticking with the ambitious One Yorkshire proposal for a region-wide mayoral authority despite the idea being rejected by the Government.

He called for a meeting with Local Government Secretary James Brokenshire, who this week said One Yorkshire plans did not meet government criteria as the region was too big and diverse to be a functional economic area.

In response, Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake this week reiterated his call for a York City Region deal taking in the city of York and North Yorkshire.

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But Coun Gillies said York was already part of the Leeds City Region along with Selby, Craven and Harrogate, and that the remainder of North Yorkshire "is hardly big enough to make a big difference financially".

He said: "What devolution is about is getting our hands on the money. Bigger is going to be better and with more opportunities.

"Should it go ahead in anything other than One Yorkshire I honestly believe we should have one transport governance across the whole of Yorkshire because it would be absolutely catastrophic with each individual area looking after their own transport, we would never get anything done.

"If it is not One Yorkshire we certainly need a Yorkshire transport body. You don't hit a brick wall when you hit the A1 going into West Yorkshire."

"Transport for the North is strategic and has just submitted its transport plan. It is not a revenue-raising body either."

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Separately, Hull MP Diana Johnson today called for a Plan B on devolution, as she told the Commons that Whitehall officials had "killed off Yorkshire devolution".

She asked Commons leader Andrea Leadsom: "Isn't it now time for Plan B and for the same priority to be given to the Humber Docklands as has been given to the London Docklands for the last 40 years, and for devolution to the Humber area to be real and to allow the regeneration of the Humber region and also for transport devolution too."