West Yorkshire’s Devolution Deal is closer to becoming law after the results of a recent public consultation were published.
The findings of the public consultation will be discussed in coming weeks at virtual public meetings of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Wakefield, Leeds and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
Bradford Council will formally consider the outcome of the consultation at the next meeting of the Executive on Tuesday, September 8.
Nearly 4,500 people responded to the devolution consultation and most supported the proposals put forward which include appointing an elected mayor for West Yorkshire to establish additional powers and provide investment for transport, adult education, skills, housing and development.
Most residents also supported the notion of Police and Crime Commissioner responsibilities being transferred to the elected mayor to ensure community safety and cohesion across the region. The regional mayor would be elected by May 2021.
Once the five councils have considered the consultation, they will send a summary report to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, in addition to a draft order that will set out new governance arrangements for the mayoral combined authority.
The devolution would unlock £1.8 billion of funding for West Yorkshire. It would result in Bradford having more power over decision making and funding and would support the improvement of public transport and provide support for more localised investment in the district.
Further projects that would be supported by the Devolution Deal include master planning in Bradford City Centre to improve regeneration opportunities, pedestrianisation and cycle lanes in the city, better access to Bradford Interchange and a new Park and Ride in South Bradford.
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority has already provided Bradford with a £9.8 million investment towards improving Hard Ings Road, Keighley, and a £669,000 in Growth Deal funding for Bradford College, and Shipley College’s Salt Building to contribute to developing a skilled and flexible workforce.
Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “I’d like to thank everyone in Bradford District who took part in this consultation as well as those who took part in the wider region.
“As well as placing more power in the hands of local people, the Devolution Deal heralds the start of decades of extra investment in infrastructure, skills and communities that will ensure that the region and its cities and towns can compete on the global stage, attract investment and grow their economies in ways that are clean, green and to the benefit everyone.
“In these exceptionally challenging times, more than ever it is vital that we lay the firm foundations that our district will need to be resilient and equipped to succeed in the future. Leading organisations across the region have already committed to working closely as part of the West Yorkshire Economic Recovery Board as we start on the long road to getting the economy back on its feet and thriving.
“Bradford has been at the heart of negotiations and will continue to play a leading role under devolution, making sure that the deal unlocks potential, opportunities and growth for people and places right across the district.
“We’re looking forward to considering the views of everyone who took part in the consultation at the next meeting of the executive and taking the next step in devolution for West Yorkshire becoming a reality.”