Agenda item 6 - Report of the YNYERH Directors of Development Group

Chief Executives' Group - North Yorkshire and York

16 September 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 meetings that took place virtually on:           

  • 9 June 2022
  • 7 July 2022
  • 11 August 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. North Yorkshire Local Transport Plan
  2. Cities and Local Growth Team
  3. ARCADIS Market Supply
  4. Levelling Up Fund Bids
  5. Shared Prosperity Fund
  6. Devolution
  7. Public Health Covid-19 update
  8. Resource Requirements
  9. Nutrient Neutrality

3.0       North Yorkshire Local Transport Plan

3.1      Rebecca Gibson, Senior Transport Planning Officer, North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) joined the meeting to discuss the potential for developing a new Local Transport Plan (LTP).

3.2       Due to national policy shifts in response to climate change and the decarbonisation agenda, Directors were informed that the fourth transport plan (LTP4) (dated from April 2016) requires review. There is now more enhanced focus on infrastructure to support zero emission vehicle uptake, as well as active travel and passenger transport.

3.3      The DfT awarded funding of £178,570 to North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) to support the development of a new LTP by the end of this parliament. DfT has suggested a target date of Spring 2024, for new LTPs to be in place.  

3.4        Directors were presented with three options:

  • “Do the minimum” - a minor review with small updates where existing are now   inaccurate
  • “Do something” - a refresh of all sections with a rewrite of the document in its      existing format
  • “Do the maximum” - development of new document, written from scratch.

3.5      Directors were in favour of ‘doing the maximum’ to produce a new modern transport plan. Links to supporting local communities and economies and the increased emphasis on Active Travel and Health were also recognised.


4.0       Cities and Growth Unit Update

4.1      At the meeting on 9 June, Tricia Kane from the Cities & Local Growth Unit provided an update on the Shared Prosperity Fund and Devolution.

4.2       Directors were informed that constructive conversations had been held with officers from NYCC and the YNY LEP working on the Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) engagement and the investment plan. Conversations with York and Hull and East Yorkshire colleagues were requested.

4.3      Due to the non-competitive nature of the SPF allocation, Tricia Kane noted that she and Peter Campey (also from the Cities & Local Growth Unit / BEIS) could be more involved in the process.

4.4      On Devolution, Directors were informed that a meeting between Government, NYCC and York City Council would take place on 13 June to produce a second draft of the deal. It was explained ministerial and political leader engagement – could cause the contents of the deal to change.

4.5      At the meeting on 7 July, Tricia Kane provided and update to Directors regarding Levelling up. It was explained that the absence of a Secretary of State for DLUHC might inhibit the Levelling Up progress but that the Local Authorities should proceed with their applications.

4.6      Directors noted that Government delaying timescales and providing narrow windows of opportunity to apply for funding is disruptive and risks potential projects being lost.


5.0      ARCADIS Market Supply

5.1       At 7 July meeting, the Director and Associate Development Manager of ARCADIS gave a presentation on the construction market in North Yorkshire.

5.2       In response to concerns raised by Directors about the risks of delivery dates affecting project timescales, ARCADIS explained that a successful approach during Covid involved relaxing overall delivery times (permitting delays) whilst keeping prelims in place.

5.3       It was explained that issues around material availability will not be resolved in the next 12-18 months.

5.4       Directors suggested that taking longer-term perspective and developing an economic pipeline could help manage the pressures. In response, ARCADIS asserted that those who have buying power and have developed a programme pipeline will have an advantage in the market.

5.5       ARCADIS explained that compensation events will become more important as people become increasingly concerned about price rises. If it were possible to transfer some of the risk to the client, this may enable a better approach for projects.

5.6       Directors were updated on the work being undertaken around the Harrogate Convention Centre.

5.7      It was agreed that ARCADIS should attend DoDs to provide an update on the construction market every quarter.


6.0      Levelling Up Fund Bids

6.1      Keisha Moore, Senior Transport Planning Officer, NYCC attended the meeting on 9 June to update the Directors on the LUF bids. Directors were informed that only two districts were not submitting any bids

6.2      Directors were informed that pressure was mounting on officers supporting the applications due to be submitted by 6 July.

6.3      At the meeting on 7 July, Directors were given confirmation that the NYCC Levelling Up Fund bids were approved by their Executive and would be submitted.


7.0       Shared Prosperity Fund

7.1       Head of Strategy at the YNY LEP joined the meeting on 9 June to provide an update on the work being delivered on the Shared Prosperity Fund.

7.2       The sections of the SPF Investment Plan were presented to Directors. This included the local challenges and opportunities, investment priorities and selected interventions, as well as the approach to governance and capacity.

7.3      Directors expressed support for the progress to date and the approach being taken.

7.4      At the meeting on 7 July, the Senior Policy Officer for Economic Growth, NYCC provided a further update.

7.5      Directors were informed that the YNY LEP had approved the submission of an Investment Plan for North Yorkshire’s UK SPF allocation. This would be presented to the County Council’s Executive on 19 July 2022.

7.6       The Investment Plan has been discussed with local MPs and very positive consultation sessions have taken place (between 25 and 30 in total), including a webinar with 102 people in attendance.

7.7       Directors recognised the North Yorkshire SPF Investment Plan as an impressive, strategic, detailed document that has a strong focus on complimentary funding for projects. It was noted that other authorities have identified the document as a model to be emulated.

7.8       The key investment priorities are: Addressing Rurality and Accessibility; Tackling Inequalities; Building Pride in our Places; Boosting Productivity; Climate Change and Resilience; A Challenging and Changing Labour Market (Ageing Population).

7.9      Directors discussed issues around the requirement for significant revenue spend (around £2M) in a short space of time following approval. It was agreed that preparation and pre-approvals to facilitate this should be a substantive item at the next meeting.

7.10    At the August meeting Directors were advised of working groups being set up in September and discussion options to attack the first year spend. Directors also stressed the importance of year 2 spend which is an increased amount of funds and will require this lead in time to build a robust strategy and pipeline.

8.0      Devolution

8.1      At the meeting on 7 July, Directors were informed that The Devolution deal had the approval of City of York Council and that discussion on the Gainshare was continuing with Government. Directors were informed there was an outside chance the Devolution deal would be announced by summer recess, due to the Chancellor’s resignation.

9.0      Public Health Covid-19 update

9.1      At the meeting on 9 June, the Covid-19 update revealed that infection rates continued to fall and were at around 1% of the population (around one in 70 people).

9.2      At the meeting on 7 July, the update stated that rate of infections has risen to one in 30 people, with some NHS trusts returning to mask wearing in hospitals and doctors surgeries.

9.3      Public Health conducting research into how the rise in the cost of living is affecting the health of the population with fuel and food costs being the two main areas of concern in North Yorkshire.


10.0     Climate Action Update

10.1     In August the Directors were advised that the York and North Yorkshire’s Routemap to Carbon Negative was signed off and adopted by the YNY LEP board in July. Action plans are being devised to ensure effective implementation including key milestones and success criteria.

10.2     Consideration is also being given to branding and matching the work with the forthcoming Devolution consultation. The Route map is due to be formally launched in October.

10.3     The York Climate strategy has been consulted on and due to end 5 August. (Further updates will be given in due course). The North Yorkshire Strategy is expected to be ready for consultation in Q4 ready for adoption by the new Council.


11.0     Resource Requirements

11.1     The Assistant Director, Growth Planning and Trading Standards NYCC introduced a report setting out a step change in the amount of funding to be received into North Yorkshire and York as a result of Devolution, the SPF and potential Levelling Up Fund Bids.

11.2    The report identified a resource challenge to deliver £18m a year Gainshare through Devolution and £16.9m of SPF funding over three years. This was on top of devolved budgets, existing projects identified through the LGR workstream process and LUF Round 2 bids.

11.3    It is understood by Directors that the majority of the delivery resource will sit at the Council level. There are currently discussions as part of the Devolution work stream to consider the exact nature of the resources required to deliver on the minded to deal and those discussion will include resources and cost.

11.4    The paper identified a series of capacity funds aimed at helping to deliver the resources and Directors agreed that those will need to be considered in more detail at future meetings.

11.5    Directors agreed that detailed consideration would be needed to take this forward and it was agreed that the item will be brought back to the forthcoming meetings. 


12.0    Nutrient Neutrality

12.1    In August, Peter Jones, Principal Planning Officer, Hambleton District Council attended the meeting to update Directors on the Nutrient Neutrality work.

12.2    Nutrient Neutrality is a means of ensuring that development does not add to existing nutrient burdens and this provides certainty that the whole of a scheme is deliverable in line with the requirements of the Habitats Regulations.

12.3    On 16 March 2022, Natural England identified that The Teesmouth and Cleveland Coast Special Protection Area is in an ‘unfavourable condition’ as it is being adversely affected by nutrient pollution.  An immediate requirement was not to issue any further planning approvals that would increase the discharge of nutrients into the River Tees catchment.  The Habitat Regulations require an appropriate assessment to be undertaken. This has an impact on the planning process.

12.4    Within scope is:

  • Any application for overnight accommodation.
  • All housing applications
  • Tourism accommodation.
  • Agricultural development that could increase Nitrogen loads.

12.5     Applications out of scope include:

  • Industrial or employment development (as a rule) but subject to individual          assessment.
  • House extensions. A view has been taken with regard to the average number of        people per dwelling rather than looking at the specific accommodation provided.      This allows us to deal with householder development.

12.6     Next Steps

  • Continue to work with Tees Authorities to maintain a consistent approach          across the catchment.
  • Share learning from other catchments including the Solent.
  • Work with Natural England to develop a National Mitigation and credit trading             scheme. This could also include matters pertaining to Biodiversity Net Gain.
  • Provide advice and support to applicants and agents.
  • Look into Local Authority land holdings

12.7     Directors thanked Peter for a thorough and interesting presentation.


13.0     LGR Workstream Updates (provided at the meeting on 9 June)

13.1    Economic Development

  • There is a much stronger focus on being ‘safe and legal’ on day one, underpinned by having the right resources for delivery and ensuring proper staff communication
  • A piece of work is going to be undertaken on transformation, developing economic strategy and identifying future possibilities and key economic sites and premises.

13.2    Planning

  • Workstreams have been set up to look at options around the committee structure and to agree the scheme delegation
  • It is likely that there will be agreement will be to move towards developing a new Local Plan for North Yorkshire. Legal advice is being sought on this
  • Agent forums have been set up to give confidence to the development industry and to capture their views.

13.3    Housing

  • There is work underway on developing a housing strategy with the hope that it will be possible to consult on this in the summer
  • Housing supply issues are worsening the problem of homelessness. There is currently a reliance on the private rented sector to help people find housing solutions
  • In Scarborough alone in April 2022, there was a backlog of 144 people requiring accommodation. Agents were reporting that for each vacancy they received around 18 queries, yet they only got around four to five lets a week. There are increasing budgetary pressures in this area as rents increase and housing supply options decrease
  • There were issues raised around recruitment and retention in Housing Officers related to anxiety about job insecurity. There is a possibility this could worsen in the upcoming months. Hambleton DC are currently using temporary consultancy staff.

13.4    Locality

  • Working to develop a future approach driven by input from colleagues across the Districts and County. The model focuses on working with partners and community groups to get the best out of an area, rather than defaulting to the Council leading all activities. In relation to devolution, ideas have been raised around running pilots with town councils and community trusts to see how this model might operate.
  • Work has been undertaken to consider how the planning subgroup and others around the area committees will operate going forward
  • The group is also looking at the transfer of economic development staff and community teams on day one, to ensure business continuity, safety and legality

13.5    Culture, Leisure & Sport

  • Prior to ‘day one’ (April 2023), there is a need to approve an interim leisure operating model for Selby. There is a lot of data collection on leisure contracts and ensuring consistency of delivery across the county
  • There is work looking at the delivery of events across the County. Meetings are being held with individual District Council teams on how they deliver events, to ensure that the new Council will be safe and legal
  • External stakeholder engagement is being carried out with organisations including Arts Council and Historic England to ensure that the culture is captured and taken forward strategically.

13.6    Highways, Waste & Parking

  • Health and safety assessments are to be undertaken on of some of our             frontline services to make sure that they are safe and legal on day one
  • There is consideration for a new fleet management system prior to day one for all of the fleet. Excluding Yorwaste, there are 1056 vehicles in the fleet so there is a need to develop an asset strategy for those vehicles (taking account of their average age, lease / purchase arrangements, green credentials, etc)     
  • Currently undertaking recruitment for a new Parking Manager for Harrogate and looking to combine street scene services
  • There is a subgroup looking at changes around branding in relation to legality. There will be a measured approach of replacing kit as and when it expires rather than prioritising completion for day one.

14.0    Recommendation

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


  Karl Battersby

  Corporate Director - Business and Environmental Services

  in the capacity of Chair of the YNYERH Directors of Development Group


Authors of Report:  Charlie Wilson, Economic Development Graduate Trainee, NYCC

                                Michael Reynolds, Senior Policy Officer, NYCC