Agenda item 8 - Report of the YNYERH Directors of Development Group

Chief Executives’ Group – North Yorkshire and York

11 February 2022

1.0     Purpose of the Report

1.1     To update members of the Chief Executives’ Group as to the work and progress of the YNYERH Directors of Development.


2.0       Background

2.1       This report updates the Chief Executives’ Group on the work of the YNYERH Directors of Development (DoDs). This report covers the DODs meeting that took place virtually on:      

  • 5th November 2021
  • 9th December 2021
  • 6th January 2022

2.2       The following were the main agenda items in these meetings plus the group’s standing reports from the:

  • Heads of Planning group;
  • Economic Development Officers group;
  • Housing Officers Group;
  • Climate and Low Carbon Action update
  • The Public Health Covid-19 update; and
  • Local Government Reorganisation (LGR) work streams verbal  update.

       Main Agenda Items

  1. Local Nature Partnership Update
  2. Harrogate Housing Initiative
  3. First Homes
  4. YNY LEP Plan for Economic Growth
  5. YNY LEP Business Growth / Inward Investment Support
  6. Low Carbon Update
  7. Local Authorities Climate Co-ordinator Post
  8. Energy Community Renewal Fund Update


3.0       Local Nature Partnership Update

3.1       Local Nature Partnership (LNP) Development Officer for the York and North Yorkshire LNP and Hull and East Riding LNP attended the meeting to update Directors on the ten actions in the Local Nature Partnership. Key highlights are:

  1. Natural England’s Seedcorn fund obtained to develop the North and East Yorkshire Natural Capital Asset Register to be available by March 2022. Collaboration with the Yorkshire Marine Nature Partnership will determine how to incorporate marine assets alongside terrestrial assets.
  2. Input into detail of devolution asks on natural capital investment plans and natural capital innovation funds.
  3. Projects being developed on carbon sequestration in lowland peatland, increasing sustainability of community woodlands, biodiversity net gain in coastal sites and health and wellbeing.
  4. Outline of role to support Environment Act and climate change following COP26 in Glasgow.

3.2       Directors resolved to develop discussions around the potential skills gap caused by Natural England’s requirements. In addition, the Natural Capital Asset Register is to be included in the appropriate Devolution Ask.


4.0       Harrogate Housing Initiative

4.1       Head of Place Shaping and Economic Growth, Harrogate Borough Council and Executive Officer Housing Delivery and Strategic Sites, Harrogate Borough Council gave a presentation on Harrogate Borough Council’s (HBC) approach to housing and strategic site delivery. The three year programme of work’s purpose was to put HBC housing delivery at the heart of economic growth. The main reasons were:

  1. to drive strategic and cultural change within the organisation.
  2. that a step change was needed in housing delivery to help tackle the housing need and affordability across the district
  3. to support the strong economic growth
  4. a need to ensure a successful adoption of the local plan.

4.2       One of the key aims was to move away from being a regulatory focussed planning and development team to a more proactive and growth focussed service.

4.3       There was a need to have a proactive role in influencing delivery and quality of development and to do this the authority produced a housing delivery action plan. This was to assist in:

  1. embedding a strong culture around housing delivery;
  2. improve the planning application process;
  3. adoption and implementation of Local Plan;
  4. look at alternative delivery models and opportunities
  5. investigate small site development issues.

4.4       It was explained that a proactive management account had been implemented which allowed continual monitoring of progress on sites, helped to find solutions to stalled or slow moving sites and assisted the authority in building stronger relationships with the development industry.

4.5       Information was given on the key priorities and challenges of the next plan. It highlighted the top priority of maintaining a five year land supply and successfully driving forward the implementation of the Council’s Local Plan in order to meet the local needs.

4.6       It was noted that LGR gives a unique opportunity to build a top quality planning authority. It was also noted that the regular meetings that Homes England have with HBC are of real benefit.


5.0       First Homes Presentation

5.1       At the November meeting, Planning Policy and Conservation Manager, Scarborough Borough Council, gave a presentation on First Homes, a new form of affordable housing brought in by government.

5.2       Key features are

  • A type of Discount for Sale home that is for first time buyers;
  • The discount will be set at 30% but the Local Authority can, with evidence, increase this to 40% or 50%;
  • These discounts apply to future re-sales;
  • Property price capped at £250,000 but the LA can implement a lower cap;
  • There is also a household income cap of £80,000. This can be lowered by the LA (income cap for NY HomeChoice is currently £60,000);
  • Will make up 25% of the affordable contributions on most sites;
  • NPPF previously brought in the requirement for 10% of homes on sites to be affordable for sale – this will form all or part of that requirement;

5.3       The key issue for the districts is that the rate of discount must be fixed across the entire plan area and cannot be varied. For areas such as Scarborough where there are huge variations in the housing market, having a single rate will be a problem. There will be a single rate of discount covering the new County when the new Unitary is formed.

5.4       It was explained that there will be a financial cost to the authorities as they will be required to manage the process, especially on the resale of properties. Also as the discount and restrictions are held in perpetuity this is a longstanding commitment for Local Plans. It is important that there is a common approach when the Unitary Authority comes into force.

5.5       Information was given on the consequences First Homes will have on other affordable housing tenures, including a squeeze on other intermediate tenures such as rented and state ownership.


6.0       First Homes – Legal Advice

6.1       In the December meeting, Planning Policy Manager, Selby District Council attended the meeting to report on the legal advice sought. Counsel advice concluded that overall, there is no basis within the Planning Practice Guidance for refusing to accept First Homes as part of the 10 year housing supply. Whilst an Authority could seek to do so based on local circumstances, they would need to give strong reasons for departing from up to date guidance in order to do so lawfully.

6.2       There was agreement that a joint approach was required ahead of day 1 of the new authority, DoDs felt that this should sit with the Planning LGR work stream.


7.0       YNYER LEP Plan for Economic Growth

7.1       Head of Strategy, Economic Partnership Unit, YNY LEP attended the meeting to provide an update on the Plan for Economic Growth

7.2       It was explained  that this was not a government request but seen as a critical document to allow the area to prepare for what would come next. The next step of this work will be to look at the National Plan for Growth to see what it meant for us as a sub region.

7.3       Work which has been undertaken includes horizon scanning and discussions with primarily the private sector but also some members of the public sector. Discussions have also taken place with local authorities and these are continuing.

7.4       A consultation draft will be produced for March 2022 with the work completed by May 2022. DoDs agreed the Plan for Growth consultation draft to be brought back to DoDs in March and preparation coordinated with LGR Economic Development work stream.


8.0       YNY LEP Business Growth / Inward Investment Support

8.1       Head of Delivery, Economic Partnership Unity YNY LEP joined the meeting and explained that the Inward Investment report circulated with the meeting agenda highlighted some of the issues set against the strategic context of plans to deliver economic recovery and growth.

8.2       The report highlights actions to develop our inward investment activity and business growth support.

8.3       The Growth Hub’s support of small and medium enterprises and micro businesses was reported. The key employment sites are: North Northallerton, Plaxton Park, Catterick S2, Eden Business Park, Sherburn 2, Harrogate West.

8.4       It was agreed to work collaboratively and generate a resource request to undertake Mapping and Marketing to ensure promotion of the region through LGR Economic Development work stream process.


9.0       Low Carbon Update

9.1       Climate Change Awareness training

            Local Authority Climate Action Co-ordinator, Economic Partnership Unity YNY LEP provided an update and informed DoDs that the Introduction to Climate Change training course has been completed and signed off.

9.2       Routemap

            Senior Strategy Manager, Economic Partnership Unity YNY LEP, provided an update on the current position with the Routemap to Carbon Zero. DoDs were informed that all the stakeholder engagement had been consolidated and the Routemap structure will be aligned with the plans set out in the UK Government’s net zero strategy to: (1) reduce emissions across key sectors, and (2) enable the transition across the economy. This will position the region to be ready for emerging policy and to access new funding streams.

9.3       The governance of the Routemap has been discussed and agreed that the pre May 2023 the LEP Board will have overall accountability for implementing the Routemap

9.4       Funding opportunity

            New funding for local authority heat decarbonisation plans through the Yorkshire and North East and Energy Hub was discussed. The amount available is just under £750,000 across the North East and Yorkshire to develop between 200 and 250 heat decarbonisation plans. The plan is to ring fence the funding per LEP geography and enable an application to the national public sector decarbonisation fund, which is expected in the next few years as set out in the government strategy.


10.0     Local Authorities Climate Co-ordinator post

10.1     Senior Strategy Manager, Economic Partnership Unity YNY LEP, informed DoDs that the Climate Action Co-ordinator will be leaving the LEP to take a post at the County Council.

10.2     It was proposed that the post should be responsible for the following:

  1. Strategic co-ordination
  2. Engaging and activating SME’s
  3. Developing supply chains and skills
  4. Driving collaboration
  5. Supporting LGR and Devolution.

10.3     DODs discussed making this a permanent role and agreed that it would be discussed further with the Chief Executive, Harrogate Borough Council.


11.0     Energy Community Renewal Fund Update

11.1     Enterprise Partnership Officer, Economic Partnership Unity YNY LEP provided the background to the Community Renewal Fund (CRF) Energy programme which was awarded £753,800.

11.2     The activities being undertaken are:

  1. Local Area Energy Plans (LAEPs) - Providing spatial context to the Carbon Abatement Pathways, and providing a clearly-evidenced spatial plan to support decision-making for the transition to a carbon negative Y&NY
  2. Local E-motion - Community-led co-design of Personal Electric Transport hubs in Richmondshire and Scarborough
  3. A&EV - Feasibility assessment for installing EV charging infrastructure at Scarborough and Selby Hospitals
  4. Place-based renewable energy - Feasibility studies to stimulate green redevelopment at “Skipton station triangle” and Sowarth’s Field industrial estate (anaerobic digestion and heat recovery projects)
  5. Hitting Hard - Creating a plan to tackle hard-to-decarbonise stone homes (Richmondshire) and Victorian terraces (Scarborough)
  6. Hospital twins - Creating “digital twins” to aid decarbonisation at Selby and Scarborough hospitals
  7. Decarbonising Community Buildings - Feasibility assessments for renewables and efficiency improvements in community buildings

11.3        A request was made for the Local Area Energy Plans (LAEPs) to have senior-level engagement from the Local Authorities, with each LAEP having a senior project sponsor to provide community engagement with businesses and community groups


12.0   Recommendations

12.1      The Chief Executives note the recent and on-going work of the YNYERH Directors of Development Group.


Karl Battersby

Corporate Director - Business and Environmental Services, NYCC in the capacity of Chair of the YNYERH Directors of Development Group


Author of Report: Michael Reynolds, Senior Policy Officer (Infrastructure), NYCC