‘I feel hugely pos­i­tive we are ad­dress­ing long-stand­ing de­pri­va­tion on the coast’

Yorkshire Post - Business - - FRONT PAGE - David A Ker­foot

It’s been 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.

There’s much to cel­e­brate from the last year, not least the legacy of Barry Dodd, who did so much in his time as LEP chair and who we trag­i­cally lost ear­lier this year. I know that Barry would be in­cred­i­bly proud of what we’ve achieved and would be full of op­ti­mism for the fu­ture of our patch.

Putting spades in the ground for Scar­bor­ough Bridge last week, along­side ap­proval of a £35m loan for York Cen­tral, brings our En­ter­prise Zone into a new era. The fu­ture has never been closer, and the big chal­lenge now is to be bold in seek­ing out that world class and trans­for­ma­tive an­chor ten­ant. Who will be York’s Chan­nel 4?

We are in­cred­i­bly proud to be busi­ness led and a great ex­am­ple is the A64 Growth Part­ner­ship. Busi­nesses along the A64 have come to­gether to make the case for in­vest­ment and with con­sid­er­able suc­cess. De­tailed plan­ning is un­der­way and we are clos­ing in on se­cur­ing du­elling of A64 to­wards Mal­ton.

We set an am­bi­tious strate­gic ob­jec­tive to dou­ble house­build­ing and 2018 has been a good year as we ex­ceeded our 5,000 new homes tar­get. This is just the start and in both Skip­ton and Pock­ling­ton, flood al­le­vi­a­tion schemes have launched this year which will open up fu­ture hous­ing po­ten­tial.

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 has com­pleted this year, en­abling up­wards of £20m pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ment, safe­guard­ing and cre­at­ing 300 jobs. Another sim­i­lar in­vest­ment ex­am­ple is Mal­ton Agri-Busi­ness Park, where we saw the first units be­ing built this year, fan­tas­tic for ru­ral busi­nesses and com­mu­ni­ties in the area.

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. 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. In 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 and cir­cu­lar econ­omy strate­gies early in 2019.

All across the re­gion we have an in­cred­i­ble amount to cel­e­brate in skills this year. With the an­nounce­ment of a new ca­reers hub and launch of a ca­reers tool­kit we fore­see that our young peo­ple will be get­ting the best ca­reers ad­vice pos­si­ble, align­ing op­por­tu­nity with busi­ness need.

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 this year to sup­port so­cial in­clu­sion and busi­ness growth in Scar­bor­ough and Bridling­ton.

I feel hugely pos­i­tive that we are ad­dress­ing long­stand­ing de­pri­va­tion on the coast.

All of our dis­tinc­tive places will re­ceive huge op­por­tu­nity from the re­cent an­nounce­ment of our comb­ing forces with Leeds City Re­gion LEP.

As a ‘su­per LEP’, our new or­gan­i­sa­tion 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.

We’re a peo­ple fac­ing, peo­ple fo­cused or­gan­i­sa­tion. We’d like to close out the year with a huge thank you to all of our part­ners, stake­hold­ers and the busi­nesses we’ve worked with in 2018. We look for­ward to our con­tin­ued work­ing to­gether and wish you all great things for 2019 and be­yond.

SEA CHANGE: The LEP is over­see­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties along the coast.

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