New chief executive announced for combined authority

The newly-appointed chief executive of the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority has welcomed the opportunity to make a real difference as £112m looks set to be invested regionally.

James Farrar, formerly chief operating officer of the area’s Local Enterprise Partnership, is now set to help draw up priorities for the authority.

Mr Farrar said he was looking forward to turning ambitions he had for the area when negotiating its devolution deal into reality.

Mayor David Skaith, who made the appointment, said Mr Farrar’s passion, commitment and understanding of the region stood out in his interview.

The Combined Authority, set up in January after a devolution deal was reached with the Government, is now due to plan its £112m investment programme for the coming financial year.

Money allocated for this year includes a £67m local transport fund, £12.7m for brownfield housing, £10m for green economic investment and £2.9m for skills.

It comes alongside a Mayoral Investment Fund worth £18m-a-year set aside for the mayor to allocate to their priorities.

The local Office of Policing, Fire, Crime and Commissioning was also rolled into the Combined Authority last month.

That office also oversees investments worth several millions of pounds every year.

Mr Farrar said all parts of York and North Yorkshire would benefit if the investment and Combined Authority is a success.

The new chief executive said: “Having led the development and negotiation of the devolution deal, I am proud to now have the opportunity to work alongside the Mayor to turn this into reality and make a real difference to the communities across York and North Yorkshire.”

Mr Skaith said the Combined Authority would need to ensure it has the team and resources in place to succeed.

The mayor said: “This is a key appointment for the Combined Authority and James will lead the Senior Leadership Team, providing the vision and drive to ensure we build a Combined Authority that is trusted and delivers across the region.”

Recruitment is now underway to fill Mr Farrar’s previous post of economy director at the Combined Authority.

His appointment as chief executive follows that of Mike Russell, formerly of Tees Valley as director of resources.

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