Agenda item 7 - Report of the YNYERH Directors of Development Group

Chief Executives' Group - North Yorkshire and York

17 June 2022

Report of the YNYERH Directors of Development Group

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:           

  • 11th February 2022
  • 17th March 2022
  • 8th April 2022
  • 5th May 2022 (additional Meeting)
  • 19 May 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. Devolution
  3. Local Authorities’ Climate Update
  4. Cities and Local Growth Team
  5. Tees Valley Combined Authority Presentation
  6. Drax
  7. Levelling Up Bids
  8. Housing Strategy


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 joined the meeting to provide an update on the work undertaken in the last 18 months and proposed action for the next two years.     

3.2       It was explained that all ten actions have been completed and highlights include:

  • Support of Natural England’s Living Maps remote sensing project, which will give finer resolution to habitat data for the area.


  • Work has continued on the development of a natural capital asset register for North and East Yorkshire
  • A North and East Yorkshire Green Jobs and Skills Working Group has been established to explore nature-based jobs in the area.


3.3       Directors were updated about the work that will be taken over the next two years which are critical for a range of authority agendas.

  • Support the Responsible Authorities in preparation of Local Nature Recovery Strategies
  • Work with partners (e.g. LEPs, local authorities) to begin developing natural capital investment plans. Linked to Devolution Asks.
  • Work with partners to explore private investment opportunities into land management to support nature and the economy.
  • Support the development and delivery of local authority climate change strategies, e.g. carbon offsetting opportunities.
  • Progress ambitions to grow green jobs and skills in our region, to allow us to implement the Environment Act locally and achieve our climate change ambitions.

3.4       The report circulated for this item included a request for Directors of Development to agree to support the further extension of the shared Local Nature Partnership Development Officer post for a further two year period from 1 April 2022 via a financial contribution of £71,000.

3.5       DoDs agreed to the recommendation in the paper for the 2 year extension funded from the operational budget at £71,000.


4.0       Devolution update (February 2022)

4.1       Chief Operating Officer, Economic Partnership Unit, YNY LEP provided an update following the issue of the Levelling Up White Paper which specifically referenced that they want to negotiate with York in North Yorkshire around a mayoral combined authority.

4.2       Work has been undertaken to formalise the governance in order to move this forward with the suggestion of four workstreams – Asks, Governance, Communications and Finance.

4.3       The Devolution Framework has three levels and York and North Yorkshire would be looking at Level 3, a single institution or County Council with a directly elected mayor across a FEA or whole county area

4.4       DODs were informed that the first direction from government will be to update ‘the asks’ so that they reflect any changes in the last year.

4.5       Communications workstream are pulling together a plan together which will include Member engagement and public consultation.


5.0       Local Authorities’ Climate Update

Routemap to Carbon Negative –

5.1       In February, Directors were advised that the first draft of the document was nearly ready. A consultation would be undertaken between 28 February and 17 March 2022 and will include a survey regarding the strategic priorities and action plans and also one to one sessions to look at potentially contentious issues and any areas where gaps remain.

5.2       Final sign off of the documents is expected July 2022

5.3       Directors were advised in March that the consultation was underway as expected and that interesting responses were already received. There had also been a well-attended workshop session on 14 March.

5.4       Feedback on all the sessions and consultation activities was given to Directors on 19th May.

Grow Yorkshire -

5.5       Directors were updated on the Yorkshire Hemp Supply Chain supply chain mapping work which has been undertaken and explained why the research had been needed.

5.6       Directors were advised that 1,600 tonnes of Yorkshire Hemp is produced and provides a number of business opportunities including Bio construction, textiles and investment in hemp textile technology, health care and food and drink. Alongside this there are a number of environmental opportunities for the use of Hemp as it stores carbon, improves soil quality and can be used to clean up hazardous chemicals in soil.

5.7       With regards to strategic development a ‘Hemp Happening’ event would take place on the 6 April 2022 to address issues around growing and using industrial hemp. Grow Yorkshire is looking to establish a special interest group to bring together stakeholders and develop business opportunities. Directors were also informed of the HEMP-30 project which is looking to increase the amount of industrial hemp produced in the UK by 100-fold.

5.8       Directors were updated with information on the Farm Business training to assist farm businesses as business skills within farming has been flagged as an area which is lacking.


6.0         Cites and Local Growth Team

6.1       At the meeting on 17 March Peter Campey and Tricia Kane from the Cities & Local Growth Unit, which is a joint BEIS & DLUCH unit, joined the meeting to set the Levelling Up White paper into context

6.2       The Levelling White Paper is setting the government's agenda around tackling regional geographic variances in terms of in terms of outcomes and obviously wider inequalities. It is also about rewiring how decisions are made and reshaping central decision making with places for growth.  York has been identified as a hub for a cabinet office and DEFRA. BEIS are recruiting Levelling Up Directors across all regions who will be key players and it is likely there will be more information about funding simplification.

6.3       A single conversation process is to be introduced with local authorities in order to bring together a discussion about all government programmes at one time. Calderdale is a pilot, North Yorkshire  was not put forward due to LGR.

6.4       Devolution discussions with Government will take place on 30 March 2022.

6.5         Tricia Kane attended the meeting in April to provide provided Directors with an update.

6.6         The Devolution event in York had been really helpful, especially the run through of proposals which enabled some high level discussions of what would be possible. Working groups were being set up to look at governance, transport powers and what the local approach would be.

6.7         Timings are tight with the target for the mayoral election in May 2024 which means that once parliamentary process is taken into account along with what needs to happen locally with statutory actions and consultation the deal needs to be agreed by July 2022.

6.8         Round 2 of the Levelling Up Fund has been announced.

6.9         UK SPF is going to be delivered at the at the County Council level for North Yorkshire, which means one investment plan for North Yorkshire. Whilst this would be led by  North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC), it would be expected that there would be a lot of collaboration with all of the districts so that the investment spreads across the whole region.


7.0         Tees Valley Combined Authority Presentation.

7.1       Dr Chris Beck attended the meeting to give a presentation on the Tees Valley Combined Authority

7.2       Directors noted how interesting and useful the presentation was and that the main point taken from it was that an authority has to know its opportunities and take ownership. Directors noted that good working relationships with Tees Valley Combined Authority are important.


8.0       Covid 19 impact, intelligence sharing an economic response plans

8.1       Public Health Consultant, NYCC informed the meeting that Sir Chris Whitty visited the County and challenged Public Health to embed equality on everything as this will lead to increased prosperity and health.

8.2       It was reported there had been some outbreaks of Covid with an increase in Care Homes and Hospitals, however it is holding. Public Health are watching the death rates.


9.0       DRAX presentation

9.1       In April, DRAX staff attended to give a presentation on Drax Bio Energy and Carbon Capture Project and the Humber, East Coast Zero Carbon Cluster. Directors were asked to provide any support to the BESCCS project that they could noting that substantial backing from government was required for the project to proceed

9.2       Two supplier events were to be arranged in the UK and those dates were  supplied to Directors and circulated through networks.


10.0       Levelling Up Bids Round 2

10.1       In April, Senior Transport Planning Officer, NYCC joined the meeting and updated Directors on the Levelling Up Bids Round 2. The submission deadline is 6th July with teams currently preparing packages.

10.2     Information was provided on all the known packages including the City of York bid:

  • Malton Rail / Bus Interchange Re Development of Malton Station
  • Scarborough and Whitby Constituency bid – non transport elements of the station gateway
  • Seamer Station, Thirsk Station, Scarborough Station
  • Selby Constituency bids - Delivery on some places / movement outcomes
  • Catterick Town Square and Park improvements
  • Possible re-application for Ripon, Skipton and Masham projects
  • Possible bid for Phase 1 Harrogate Convention Centre and/or other projects

10.3     In May, Directors were updated on the status of the North Yorkshire Transport Bid. WSP are drafting parts of the business case. The bid is package of rail improvements at Thirsk, Seamer and Scarborough. All three schemes a centred around improving access to and at the stations.

10.4     The Thirsk element will provide a new bridge at the station, which will be an enhancement of the access for all scheme.

10.5     The Seamer scheme will install a new bridge providing access for residents onto the platform together with extinguishment of the current level crossing. The bridge will land in a new car park and also span the A64 into the Business Park, enhancing access for some of our major businesses in that area, such as Anglo American.

10.6     The Scarborough element is a small part of the master plan for the area which will deliver a transport hub at the rear of the station which would house taxi ranks, bus stands, waiting area and cycle access facilities.


11.0     Housing Strategy update

11.1     York, North Yorkshire and East  Riding of Yorkshire Housing Partnership have reviewed their strategy that ran from 2015 to 2021. Board members opted not to run a full 5 year strategy given LGR but instead to assess new high level priorities following the impact of Covid.

11.2     The Housing Board (HB) felt that the vision from the 201521 strategy was still relevant so that has been retained and that focuses on the delivery of new homes. The homes should be of quality type and size that meets the need of all our different communities and support economic growth.

11.3     The priorities fell within five areas:

  1. Housing supply dynamic along with increasing the quality of new homes that are being delivered
  2. Affordability and the challenges around affordable housing
  3. Tackling homelessness
  4. Meeting housing needs
  5. Decent homes.

11.4     Key headlines going forward include:

  • Homelessness is an ongoing issues and there have been a high rise in the rates of rough sleeping in Scarborough.
  • Holiday lets and Airbnb are starting to have a massive impact on how homelessness duty can be discharged because 75% of homeless households are accommodated within the private rented sector.
  • Provision for vulnerable households
  • An aging population and the challenges that brings of specialist housing for older people.

11.5     The presentation also provided information on the links to the devolution asks which were around quality places, thriving businesses and people in the green futures.


12.0     Heads of Planning – Group Update in April 2022

12.1     Heads of Planning have discussed resourcing and staffing issues looking at authorities that have been relatively successful recruiting planners. Three things seem important:

  • Competitive salaries,
  • Working from home and flexibility
  • How planners are treated within the organisation.

12.2     An audit survey has been undertaken and the planning advisory service are to be invited to a future heads of planning to talk about recruitment issues and how best to deal with them.

12.3     Biodiversity Net Gain - all the authorities to receive £10,000 to enable preparation for biodiversity net gain which is statutory in November 23 together with the Local Nature Recovery Strategy. It was agreed that all the money received by North Yorkshire would be pooled together to establish joint working including staff training.


13.0     UK Shared Prosperity Fund

13.1     Directors held a special meeting on 5 May to discuss the requirement of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF).

13.2     Senior policy Officers in Economic Growth (LEP and NYCC) presented updates setting out:

13.3     The aims of the fund

Underneath this overarching levelling up aim, there are three UK SPF investment priorities:

  • Communities and place;
    • Strengthening our social fabric and fostering a sense of local pride and belonging.
    • Building resilient and safe neighbourhoods.
  • Supporting local business;
    • Creating jobs and boosting community cohesion by supporting local businesses.
    • Promoting networking and collaboration and stimulating innovation and growth.
    • Targeted support to help businesses grow e.g. innovation, productivity, energy efficiency, low carbon and exporting
  • People and skills.
    • Boosting core skills and support adults to progress in work.
    • Supporting disadvantaged people to access the skills they need.
    • Funding local skills needs and supplementing local adult skills provision.
    • Reducing levels of economic inactivity and supporting those furthest from the labour market.

13.4     The role of the lead authority

  • Developing an Investment Plan for approval by the UK government, - to be submitted by 01 August 2022.
  • Receiving an area’s allocation to manage.
  • Assessing and approving project applications.
  • Processing payments and day to day monitoring.

13.5     The Investment Plan

13.6     NYCC will be required to set out in an investment plan detailing how the funding will be targeted at local priorities, against measurable goals. The investment plan will feature three broad stages under each investment priority:

  • Local context - detailed local evidence of opportunities and challenges.
  • Selection of outcomes and interventions - identify the outcomes targeted based on local context, and the interventions prioritised.
  • Delivery - Covering the Approach to delivery and Governance, the Expenditure and Deliverables and Capability and Resource.

13.7   Out of that special meeting actions included the setting up of:

  • The Investment Plan Writing Group
  • The engagement plan
  • The Partnership Board
  • Aiming for the for the first full draft of the Investment Plan Document by June 10th.

13.8     At the regular scheduled meeting at the end of May, Directors were updated on the developments to date including the established project teams, detailed work programme and Partnership Board. Work is being undertaken to establish the resource requirements and current capacity to carry out the necessary work.

14.0  Recommendations

14.1   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,
North Yorkshire County Council

Author of report:
Michael Reynolds,
Senior Policy Officer (Infrastructure)
North Yorkshire County Council