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West Yorkshire Finally Has a Devolution Deal & It’s Giving Us Mass Transit (Among Other Things)

· Joseph Sheerin · Discussion

Our new devolution deal is one of the best ever negotiated.

Modern tram of Grenoble - France, Rhone-Alpes

The deal is done! Devolution is ours! And these are the big things it will bring to the region in the coming years.

It’s been a long time coming, but West Yorkshire finally has a devolution deal. Leeds will come together with Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield to take control of our budgets and our future. We’ll elect a Mayor for West Yorkshire for the first time in May 2021 and their role will be to ensure decisions made through the devolution deal benefit local communities. But what will those benefits be? Take a look…

What’s in store with the new devolution deal

Leeds Train Station HS2

1. Big investment. The new devolution deal will see a whopping investment of £1.1 billion into the whole West Yorkshire region over the next 30 years – that translates into £38 million per year.

2. Mass transit. Finally! This devolution deal includes a commitment from the Government to provide extra funds for a much-needed mass transit system. Trams? Light rail? It hasn’t been confirmed yet, but it will be part-funded by the Transforming Cities Fund.

3. New housing. The lack of new and affordable housing is an issue that never seems to go away in West Yorkshire, but devolution includes a promise of £3.2 million to support new housing sites across the region.

4. British Library. The Government has committed £25 million to establish a British Library in the North. Leeds City Council has confirmed talks are ongoing with plans to bring it to the Grade-I listed Temple Works in Holbeck.

5. Leeds Station. The redevelopment of Leeds Station will continue apace because the devolution deal includes a commitment to extra funds for its next stage.

6. Public transport. £317 million has been included in this year’s budget to improve public transport, build cycling lanes and create better walking routes through West Yorkshire.

7. Adult education. The West Yorkshire Combined Authority will have full control of the West Yorkshire’s Adult Education Budget from May 2021, giving them £63 million to train people over the age of 19 and help them into work.

8. Northern Powerhouse Rail. Bradford will get £500,000 to create a masterplan for the regeneration of Bradford city centre to maximise the opportunities created by the Northern Powerhouse Rail project.

9. Improving the Roads. Two major road projects have got the go-ahead as part of the £27 billion Second Road Investment Strategy. The A66 Trans-Pennine route will be turned into a dual-carriageway and they’ll explore new ways to improve the A1 between Darlington and Doncaster.