The Combined Authority’s first meeting outside Leeds is taking place in Halifax this week, showing that Calderdale Council has a key role to play in West Yorkshire’s decision-making body.
Lead members of the Combined Authority – from Calderdale, Bradford, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield, York and the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) – will meet on Thursday 24 July at 11am in Halifax Town Hall. Members of the public are welcome to attend.
This will be the first time that members have met since the LEP announced its historic £1 billion growth deal with government. It’s the largest devolved settlement in the country, which will create tens of thousands of new jobs and accelerate economic growth across the Leeds City Region. The funding includes £572.9 million to deliver key infrastructure for the region from 2015 to 2021.
Calderdale Council’s Leader, Cllr Tim Swift, said:
“I’m delighted that the Combined Authority’s first meeting outside Leeds is happening in Calderdale. This is a practical demonstration that the Combined Authority is not just about Leeds – there are going to be real economic benefits for every part of the region, and we are making sure that Calderdale plays our part. We now have a real say in investment decisions that affect our borough; we influence how money is spent here; and we will make sure that major infrastructure projects deliver jobs and economic growth for Calderdale.
“We have made sure that the priorities in the Leeds City Region Strategic Economic Plan include real benefits for Calderdale. For the first time, some of the decisions about major economic spending in our area will be taken in our region, instead of in Whitehall – and Calderdale has a voice – and a vote – in that process. Now that the growth deal funding has been secured, the meeting on Thursday will give us chance to discuss the next steps.”
Under the Leeds City deal, £50 million is secured for Calderdale’s railways, including signal improvements to the Calder Valley rail line and new station parking in Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge and Brighouse. This builds on the Northern Hub investment being made now, which is delivering improvements to Manchester Victoria station and direct services for Calderdale residents to Manchester Airport from 2016.
The Council is using the funding to determine the best way to develop Halifax train station as part of the town centre renaissance, to provide an improved gateway to Halifax which makes the most of its new and historic assets such as the Piece Hall, Square Chapel, Halifax Minster, Orangebox and Eureka!
Feasibility work is also being undertaken to determine how to unlock traffic bottlenecks at Ainley Top, Salterhebble and all along the A629 Halifax to Huddersfield corridor, and how we could use traffic light technology to reduce waiting times and pollution and speed up bus travel.
Leeds City Region and central government have also agreed to co-invest in an energy hub to create renewable energy supplies, provide support for businesses so more jobs are created and develop a skills programme so local students can complete on a global scale.