North Yorkshire County Council leaders are set to consider revising their requests from government as part of a devolution deal for North Yorkshire and York.
A report by the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership to a meeting of the nine county, city and district council leaders next Friday recommends the devolution proposal submitted to government last December is amended to “reflect current government policy”.
The paper calls for the introduction of an ask to stimulate town centre development, including Enterprise Zone-type tax relief.
The report states: “We will work together across local authorities, the LEP, Historic England and Homes England in a ground-breaking way to deliver an innovative transformation programme at scale across our town and city centres.
“This will bring historic and underutilised buildings and spaces back into productive use, help to remodel and revitalise our town and city centres, and provide the flexibility for local priorities to come to the fore.”
The report also recommends dropping an ask involving a partnership with the University of Sheffield and private sector partners over a new Advanced Manufacturing and Research Centre satellite location at Scarborough.
The report also suggests an ask to implement a pan-Northern Regional Green Bond to help bring forward a large volume of small-scale low carbon projects which need upfront financing is dropped.
The report also reveals that while informal talks with Government had indicated North Yorkshire and York’s first Mayoral elections could be expected in May 2024, a combined authority could be created during the 2022/23 financial year.
It states that creating a combined authority “as soon as practically possible” could position York and North Yorkshire for a share of the government’s post-Brexit UK Shared Prosperity Funding, which is designed to “reduce inequalities between communities”.
Other potential benefits of a launching a combined authority before 2024 include progress developing investment projects making projects ready for approval when the Mayor is elected, the report states.
The report recommends the revised asks reflect clearly devolved departmental funding rather than appearing to be new money from the Treasury. It also calls for the document to reshaped around government’s priorities, featuring the “pillars” of infrastructure, innovation and skills, and themes of Levelling Up, Net Zero and Global Britain.
North Yorkshire County Council leader Councillor Carl Les said there would be no point in putting forward propositions that haven’t got a chance of success because they did not meet government criteria.
He said: “I think it makes imminent sense to make sure we are aligned to the latest government thinking on their investment priorities and also to identify where there are existing funding streams that we may want to tie into like Bus Back Better, rather than negotiate with the Treasury directly for bus infrastructure funding.
“We need to be getting on with things, especially following Boris Johnson’s conference speech, as that devolution is a key part of Levelling Up.”