Agenda item 6 - Report of the York, North Yorkshire, East Riding and Hull (YNYERH) Directors of Development Group

Chief Executives' Group - North Yorkshire and York

18 November 2022

Report of the York, North Yorkshire, East Riding and Hull (YNYERH) Directors of Development Group


1.0 Purpose of the report

1.1 To update members of the Chief Executives' Group as to key updates from the YNYERH Directors of Development group.


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: 

       15 September 2022

       13 October 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. National Food Strategy
  2. Climate Change Action Update Report
  3. ARCADIS Construction Update
  4. Mobile Connectivity
  5. Shared Prosperity Fund
  6. Health and Economy


3.0    National Food Strategy

3.1    Public Health NYCC colleagues presented Public Health and Wellbeing key priorities. Those are:


  1. Reduce Health inequalities through healthy place shaping
  2. Ensure measures are in place to protect the nation’s health
  3. Improve mental health of the population
  4. Ensure babies and young children have a strong start in life.
  5. Ensure the working age population have opportunities to live well
  6. Ensure older people are able to age well.
  7. Work with NHS partners to maximise joint effectiveness
  8. Develop a centre for public health excellence

3.2    Directors discussed economic links and noted the opportunities to establish Public Health principles at the core of emerging new Council and Devolution strategies. Discussion covered poor food choices and the link to advertising. Directors were informed of pilot programmes in London concerning advertising on the transport network. It was noted the planning system also has a key role to play in food choice.

3.3    Directors discussed the challenge of supporting smaller food business and noted the impact of the sustainable supply chain project led by East Riding.


4.0    Climate Change Action Update Report

4.1    In September, LEP colleagues provided an update on the Routemap to Carbon Negative which was signed off by the York and North Yorkshire LEP Board in July 2022. City of York Council, Craven District Council, Ryedale District Council, Scarborough District Council, North York Moors National Park Authority and Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority had all confirmed that they wished to adopt the plan.

4.2    Devolution Asks were being progressed with £1 million revenue and £6 million capital having been confirmed by government. There were currently six options for spending the funding including housing retrofits and an assessment of land use. The retrofit supply chain and SME action plan around engaging and activating SME in Net Zero were in development. The Community Renewal Fund program to develop a carbon negative energy system in North Yorkshire was to be delivered by the end of December 2022.

4.3    A glossary of climate terms was being pulled together to ensure consistent use of terms and a weekly newsletter is produced to inform recipients of any key issues. Anyone wishing to receive a copy should email LA with their email details.


5.0    ARCADIS Construction Update

5.1    In October Simon Rawlinson and James Crawley from ARCADIS joined the meeting to provide a quarterly construction update.

5.2    The quarterly report showed significant volatility and there was still the paradox of a 2-speed economy. The current situation for the consumer was gloomy and large businesses such as Tesco were reporting that the economy was slowing down however it was stated that the Bank of England needed the economy to slow down to reduce inflation.

5.3    In October DoDs were informed that the impact of the mini budget had been positive, as there had been a significant reduction on inflation, however it was still high. With regards to currency the Pound continued to weaken against Euro and Dollar.

5.4    The construction market was in good health having been the third worst hit by Covid and nationally, in Quarter 2 this market was the second biggest, well above expected activity. This is due to housing at peak levels and an increase in infrastructure development.

5.5    Construction resource challenges are:

      • Energy costs – 6 to 8 times higher than the long term trend
      • Material costs – up by 28% compared to July 2021, but now falling back
      • Scarcity – manufacturing shut down and access to low-carbon products
      • Labour costs – up by 5 to 10% depending on sector
      • Insolvency – rapid increase since September 2021

5.6    Directors were informed of the work Arcadis have been doing with Bristol on capital programme inflation, which has looked at the pressures on the market and affordability. Key takeaways were that early engagement with the market was key, and that collaboration and planning will hopefully manage and mitigate the risks.

5.7    Directors noted that there was a piece of work being undertaken to review the projects in our capital programmes.

5.8    Directors were informed that the Department for Transport recognised the lack of money and as a result there has been a lot of de-scoping of projects being undertaken by government. This could be one of the reasons that there was a delay in funding being allocated.


6.0    Mobile Connectivity

6.1    Project Manager Mobile Connectivity, NYCC and Eamon Hansberry, Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited attended the meeting to provide an update on mobile phone connectivity.

6.2    The presentation to Directors focused on how digital connectivity is important for economic growth. With specific detail concerning;

  • Emergency Services Network/Extended Area Services
  • Development of the Shared Rural Network including preferred design solutions
  • 5G coverage.

6.3    A key issue presented was that there is no longer any government intervention in place which has meant that the high number of applications has stopped and mobile phone companies are no longer interested. It is clear that mobile operators require incentives to go into areas.

6.4    5G was beginning to come into town and cities including York, Whitby, Scarborough, and Selby. It is however unlikely to expand into rural areas.

6.5    Challenges being faced by mobile phone companies getting masts into the areas required include, getting power to the masts, the number of customers, access to the sites, and planning permissions.

6.6    It was noted by Directors that in the National Parks there were masts erected but not switched on. Directors were asked to provide details.


7.0    Health and Economy

7.1    In October the public health team reported that Covid numbers were on the increase with 1 in 50 people now infected. There is a low level of deaths due to Covid.

7.2    Seasonal flu was expected to cause 80% of sickness absence, which is a higher figure than pre Covid. A vaccination programme has been put in place.

7.3    Directors were provided with an update on the food strategy. A list of priority areas has been drawn up and the team were in the process of setting up a core working group in order to develop a framework. Representation for this group was being sought.

7.4    Cost of living is a current Public Health Challenge. The team were assessing impacts and will advise how DoDs may be able to assist.  


8.0    UK Shared Prosperity Fund

8.1    In September, Directors were informed that the Shared Prosperity Fund Investment Plan had been submitted with feedback awaited from Government. A prospectus for delivery was in development.

8.2    An additional Rural Prosperity fund of £5.4million capital had been allocated to North Yorkshire for 2023/24, 24/25.  It was noted that the spend in this year for the Shared Prosperity Fund is an issue so the plan was to focus on energy costs and inflation and provide support to businesses around this.

8.3    In October, Directors were informed that they were awaiting feedback from government which meant that approval of prospectus was delayed. Great progress had been made with the prospectus in terms of presenting it to the wider partnership group where it was well received.

8.4    There is a strong focus on year one delivery and projects which could be moved quickly had been identified.

8.5    Directors were informed that job descriptions were being developed in order to sufficient programme management was in place as quickly as possible.


9.0    Investment Zones

9.1    In October, Directors discussed the Investment Zones. The announcement was made three weeks ago and the bid window was the 4 – 14 October.

9.2    Directors noted that excellent work across the eight authorities. The team have had to prioritise each project on stage of planning, stage of delivery and the economic impact on scale for GVA.

9.3    It is a ten-year programme so each submission required explanation and narrative and currently there were some gaps in the information.

9.4    A List of top five sites was circulated to the group with follow up subsequent emails to on the prioritisation of the emerging eleven sites finally submitted.


10.0 Capital Project Review

10.1  Gary Fielding, Corporate Director of Strategic Resources, NYCC joined the meeting to discuss concerns regarding capital projects and the risks regarding inflation and a challenging supply chain, especially in the construction market.

10.2  A number of recent capital schemes have come in over budget and, in some cases, this runs into extra millions of pounds.

10.3  Across North Yorkshire, councils are facing a higher level of activity than perhaps has been the case for some years whilst also dealing with the challenging market and there is a need to deploy resources into the LGR transitional work and support the devolution deal and the emerging Mayoral Combined Authority. This all means that councils are more exposed to the risks at a time when their capacity to manage is at its most stretched.

10.4  GF reported that the finance workstream were seeing requests for extra capital funding coming through and there was concern that this may just be the start and that there is a need to manage the position, rather than respond to events as they happen. It has been suggested that with support of DoDs visibility is ensured on the possible pipeline and consider recommendations on how to go about managing the position.

10.5  DoDs agreed that this was required and initially asked by Gary Fielding by email would be a good starting point.

         Those were:

  1. When were the current estimates produced?
  2. When are tenders due?
  3. What is the construction end date?
  4. Are there any negotiation points re outputs with funders? If so when and how do we suggest we pursue?: if not, then how can we seek to influence?
  5. What resource is allocated to deliver the project and is it commensurate with the     

     new risk?

10.6  All Directors to ensure this information is provided to GF by 27 September 2022


11.0  Partnership Group Work Programme Updates:

Heads of Planning

11.1  In September, Directors were informed that matters discussed at the last meeting included:

  • Concern around staff resources and how to tackle this
  • Bio diversity including response to BNG technical consultation and pooling of BNG grant money to appoint a dedicated BNG officer
  • A presentation on mobile phone infrastructure in rural areas
  • Hambleton District Council – adoption of Local Plan
  • Discussion around a training programme
  • Y & NY Local Nature Recovery Strategy


Chief Housing Officer’s group

11.2  In September, Directors were informed that the Chief Housing Officers group were currently involved in housing elements of the Devolution Deal and Local Government Reorganisation, which is progressing well.

11.3  The Housing Strategy draft document would be available at the end of October 2022.

11.4  he group are monitoring permissions and completions as these have dropped significantly which suggests housing targets will not be met in the future.

11.5  The refugee resettlement work was ongoing.

11.6  In October the group reported that its key agenda items were NY Home Choice, Homes for Ukraine, Devolution and Community Led Housing. 


12.0  LGR Workstream Updates

12.1  Over September and October Directors were updated on the following LGR workstream agenda items

12.2  Economic Development

  • Steer Davis Gleave have been awarded the contract to carry out work to develop the new North Yorkshire Council’s Economic Development Strategy
  • Resourcing is being considered to ensure projects are delivered in a consistent way
  • Cllr Bastiman has undertaken district visits and thanks all involved in facilitating those

12.3  Planning          

  • Looking at planning governance and working with members around the scheme of delegation
  • Discussions around the role of Area Constituency Committees
  • Looking at a joint recruitment campaign
  • The new Local Plan will be a focus for the future sessions

12.4  Locality Working

  • Work being undertaken on community networks
  •   The Lets Talk communications campaign developed ready for launch which was delayed due to the death of the Queen

12.5  Culture, Leisure and Sport

  • Looking at copyrights, collections and websites around one branding
  • Work with key stakeholders such as the Arts Council to develop a single strong voice for North Yorkshire

12.6  Highways, Waste and Parking

  • Further sessions with refuse collection teams
  • Trialling a new fleet system in a number of areas
  • Taxi licencing and MOT’s being considered with the regulation teams.



13.0  Recommendation

13.1   The Chief Executives note the recent and ongoing work of the YNYERH Directors of Deelopment 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