Making the most of the region’s distinctive natural and cultural assets, enhancing pride and wellbeing and developing the local visitor economy.


Cultural, creative and tourism sectors are playing a vital role in driving inclusive and sustainable growth. They are delivering an ambitious local cultural framework that makes the most of the regions distinctive natural and cultural assets, enhancing pride and wellbeing and developing the local visitor economy, alongside increasing talent and cultural investment in the area.

What success will look like

Culture is embedded within all place based work and place planning and is used to deliver higher quality, more connected and sustainable places.

Culture is recognised and developed for its role in supporting the visitor economy.

Cultural and creative businesses and their supply chains are developed and supported to maximise their potential.

More people are actively engaged and take part in cultural activity, and there is a growth in audiences and participants of all cultural activity.

There is an increase in employment in culture, sport and arts roles across West Yorkshire.

Cultural activity that promotes clean growth and sustainability is developed and promoted including active travel, walking and cycling alongside programmes that deliver key messages relating to climate change and sustainability.


  • West Yorkshire is home to a high-quality and diverse cultural offer including world class arts facilities and sporting stadia.
  • Outstanding built and natural heritage offer.
  • Wealth of internationally acclaimed cultural festivals and events – including Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Yorkshire Sculpture International, Tour de Yorkshire, Ilkley Literature Festival.
  • A young population, with 27% of the region’s population under 25 years old, providing opportunities for a pipeline of talent for cultural businesses and new audiences/consumers for a culture and sport offer.
  • One of the most diverse regions in the country, with a black and minority ethnic population of almost 500,000 people. This mix of backgrounds and global links can boost creativity and cohesion.
  • Strengths in complementary industries like digital, where with over 10,000 digital businesses in Leeds City Region, and the significant digital opportunities arising for those traditionally non digital businesses.
  • A strong academic base, including the only specialist arts university in the North of England and the School of Performance and Cultural Industries at the University of Leeds.


  • Lack of good quality evidence on the economic impact of culture and sport.
  • Need to strengthen collaboration with local cultural businesses and national agencies to support economic growth across the Leeds City Region.
  • Increasing opportunities for partnership with local authorities and DCMS arms-length bodies on culture policies, strategies and plans to support growth in local assets
  • Need to develop, support and maintain stakeholder relationships including strong levels of engagement with cultural businesses.
  • Increasing internal knowledge and resource for developing and delivering cultural policy and strategy matters.
  • Developing links between the cultural and creative industries in particular skills and talent development.
  • Developing a prioritised pipeline of culture investment propositions
  • Aligning funding streams based upon West Yorkshire policy aims.

Policies and strategies

  • The Leeds City Region cultural framework has been developed with the cultural agencies and bodies in the region and local authorities, all of whom will work together to ensure its effective implementation.
  • The Cultural Framework was adopted at LEP board in March 2020

Who’s helping make this happen

  • Place Panel
  • Cultural Steering Group
  • ALB partnership - Arts Council, NHLF, Historic England, Yorkshire Sport and other national bodies.
  • Cultural Champions

What we are doing to make this happen

Development of the Cultural Steering Group

  • The West Yorkshire Combined Authority, working in partnership with the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, the City Region’s local authorities and cultural partners are committed to working together through the formation of a Cultural Steering group with membership from every local authority, and the arm’s length bodies (ALBs) of DCMS. The Cultural Steering Group is taking forward key aspects of the cultural framework including:
  • Developing a co-authored and adopted cultural vision for the WYCA
  • Development of Cultural Champions (Cultural champions to be nominated / recruited for each panel)

Development of Action Plans

  • Ensuring leadership through LEP and Combined Authority structures, embedding culture in the City Region’s strategies and policies
  • Developing a prioritised pipeline of culture investment propositions
  • The inclusion of a Heritage Fund within the MCA deal will result in another workstream linked to the development of a British Library in the North in Leeds

How this will meet our priorities

Boosting productivity

  • Culture and creativity can deliver innovation, enterprise, technology, and high value job potential. Culture is a pull factor for business location decisions, and areas with a culture, sport and heritage offer are more likely to see growth in creative industries. There is good evidence that physically active employees are more productive.

Tackling the climate emergency

  • The cultural sector play a significant role in both raising awareness of environmental climate change and in encouraging sustainable economic, and environmental practices which draw attention to issues, and create agency for change.

Enabling inclusive growth

  • Engagement in cultural activity transforms the lives for individuals and communities; improving physical and mental wellbeing, individual reliance, connectivity and enhanced capacity and skills

Page last updated: 26/08/20