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‘It's Green up North' - National Parks Week

The start of National Parks Week today is a reminder of what our City Region and its surrounding areas can offer the three million people and 119,000 businesses who make up our unique population.  

Employers are constantly on the lookout for a top-class workforce and what many local firms tell the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP) is that by being able to offer a quality of life that is hard to find elsewhere – we have three national parks within an hour of our borders visited by almost 21 million people a year* – Yorkshire greenery is doing much more than providing a colourful back drop for social media.

However, it should also be remembered that Leeds City Region residents don’t need to travel that far to enjoy stunning countryside. Anyone who watched the opening Grand Départ stages of the 2014 Tour de France or the subsequent Tour de Yorkshire events will have seen the miles of rolling country lanes as well as traditional Yorkshire markets, mill towns and picturesque villages.

Although known by some as an area of industrial heritage, approaching 60% of Leeds City Region’s 3,200 square miles is rural area. These outdoor spaces have in the past provided inspiration for home-grown and world-renowned artists, such as David Hockney – whose work is now permanently on display in a new gallery space at the Cartright Gallery, in Bradford – and Barbara Hepworth, whose name is today synonymous with the Hepworth Gallery, Art Fund Museum of 2017.

These days, those attractive open spaces are encouraging more people to visit, stay and work in an economy that has grown faster than London over the past three years. Throw into the mix that the cost of living is lower in the Leeds City Region than in Manchester, Glasgow or Birmingham – and that the average detached home is £80,000 cheaper than the cost of an apartment in London – and reason for optimism and continued growth is strong.

This search for a better quality of life is also being matched by opportunity. Once at the vanguard of the Industrial Revolution, Leeds City Region is today at the cutting edge of innovation and retail experience – Victoria Gate was voted Best Shopping Centre 2017 at MIPIM – and is also attracting global brands like Sky and Burberry.

There are more manufacturing jobs in Leeds City Region than anywhere else in the country, it is the FinTech capital of the north and the UK’s largest financial and professional services centre outside London.  Yorkshire also has a growing reputation for its creative sector with Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT) firms contributing approaching £4bn to the UK economy while the recent KADA report says digital sector contributes £6.6bn to LCR GVA alone.

So while the home of Waddingtons Games and Marks and Spencer may not have a monopoly on the good life, it’s also not just any City Region. More and more business, investors and employees are seeing what it can offer. Can you, too?

Share your thoughts with us @WestYorkshireCA

* Combined visitor figures using the STEAM model of analysis. Read more about how STEAM works (opens in new tab).

 

 

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