2019 – Full steam ahead for our rural powerhouse.
David. A. Kerfoot MBE DL,
Chair of the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership.
2018 was my first year in the driving seat as Chair of the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Economic Partnership, serving a Rural Powerhouse, with York city region and the Opportunity Coast. 2019 is the year to really move forward in delivering on some of the major investments and projects that made great progress over the last year.
York: an ambitious future.
Starting in York, we put spades in the ground for Scarborough Bridge last November and now work is progressing quickly forwards, with plans to complete works by mid-March. The new bridge is set to be the first step towards an ambitious vision of accessibility and connectivity for York. The benefits of builds like these are as much for local people going about their everyday lives, as they are for economic growth. Connecting the railway station with York Central, Scarborough Bridge links York with regional and international businesses, providing residents with fantastic employment opportunities. At the end of last year, our Board approved a £35m loan for York Central, which brings our Enterprise Zone into a new era. There will be significant progress made for York Central this year, including seeking out that all important, world class and transformative anchor tenant.
This spring, the A64 Growth Partnership will be promoting what we hope will be a final, public consultation by Highways England, on the dueling of the A64 towards Malton. Businesses along A64 have come together to make the case for investment with considerable success. Now it’s time for the broader community to have their say and we’re hopeful that they will back the Partnership’s bid for dueling.
In 2014, we set an ambitious strategic objective to double house-building and in 2018 we exceeded our 5000 new homes target. This is just the start. In both Skipton and Pocklington, flood alleviation schemes launched last year which will open up future housing potential. We’ll be starting 2019 with the launch of an ambitious Housing Investment Plan, brought together in collaboration with Homes England. This will see 50,000 new homes built by 2027, 16,000 of which will be affordable homes across rural areas.
Market Towns: future high streets.
In 2019, there will be an increasing focus on the health of town centres following the government’s recently launched Future High Streets Fund, a competitive opportunity for co-funding towards capital projects that will help regenerate town centres. Expressions of interest will be submitted in March, with a short-list announced in the summer. An exciting an important time for market towns which play an integral role within our rural power house. I am hopeful that those who are successful in gaining funding will have put forward ambitious plans that will do our market towns justice in the future.
We know that market towns benefit significantly from their associated industrial sites and at Dalton, a relatively small investment of £1.8m of Local Growth Funds towards a £4m road and bridge, has alleviated access and flooding issues to the industrial site. The bridge completed in 2018, enabling upwards of £20m private sector investment, safeguarding and creating 300 jobs. Another similar project, Sherburn 2, has just announced building is to begin. Great for industry, great for jobs.
Grow Yorkshire – rural powerhouse.
Securing our future as a rural powerhouse is our initiative Grow Yorkshire, a high profile industry collaboration to inspire change in business behaviour and innovate policy delivery to address changes in the £230m Common Agriculture Policy subsidy our region receives. There are some inspiring and fascinating examples of farming innovation and it’s our duty to elevate the methods and messages through our channels to government and influence a connected and industry led approach to policy. Grow Yorkshire launches proper in early 2019.
Igniting innovation in our rural and urban economies is our commitment to bringing circular economy principles to life. Last October, our circular economy workshop brought together 100 stakeholders from private and public sector organisations. With tangible excitement and enthusiasm from stakeholders for practicable commitments from across the patch, we launch our low carbon strategy and circular economy action plan in 2019.
Skills investment and social inclusion.
All across the region we have an incredible amount to celebrate in skills as a result of our investments over the last 5 years. With the announcement of a new careers hub and launch of a careers toolkit in 2018, we foresee that our young people will be getting the best careers advice possible, aligning opportunity with business need. An toolkit for employers looking to engage apprentices is also launched, with a campaign to follow in March of this year. Through European funding, over 5000 people have been supported in achieving new qualifications and a further 1200 businesses have been supported to up-skill staff.
It’s of huge personal and professional pride in our organisation, that we have a social inclusion priority. Making our commitment real is a £6.5m European funded investment in the Yorkshire Coast Community Led Local Development Programme, which got underway in 2018 to support social inclusion and business growth in Scarborough and Bridlington. I feel hugely positive that we are addressing longstanding deprivation on the coast and look forward to sharing more with you on this in 2019.
And of course, the big news for 2019 is that it will be our last year as the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership. All of our distinctive places will receive huge opportunity from the recent announcement of our combining forces with Leeds City Region LEP. As a ‘super LEP’, our new organisation, emerging in March 2020, will bring greater influence on the national and international stage and put the region in a strong position to secure a significant share of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund – which could be worth hundreds of millions of pounds a year to the region. We are incredibly excited to bring our rural and coastal priorities in front of such significant opportunity and raise the profile of the role of rural industries in a healthy UK economy.
Partnership working and Local Industrial Strategy.
In amongst all of this change, will be our solid commitment to the way we do things across our patch. We’re a people facing, people focused organisation. As we begin working in earnest on our Local Industrial Strategy, this approach to partnership will be a driving force, ensuring that we collaborate and consult widely and build the best strategy for people and business across our broad and varied geography. Whether you are a high street business in a small market town, a large corporate entity in thriving urban centre, working in agriculture, or running a small business on the coast, our strategy will strive to drive growth, good growth, for you and the community that surrounds you. We want to thank all of our partners, stakeholders and the businesses we’ve worked with in 2018 and look forward to our continued working together in 2019 and beyond.