Spatial Planning

Complementary spatial plans that support inclusive growth and investment in an active portfolio of strategic sites.


To develop complementary spatial plans that collectively reflect a shared ambition to tackle the climate emergency, achieve inclusive growth and well-designed places, and to support delivery of this growth through investment in an active portfolio of strategic sites. 

What success will look like

Economic, environmental and social priorities are positively addressed in all spatial plans to support ambitions to tackle the climate emergencyachieve inclusive growth and quality place-making, and that policy implications / alignments are considered across administrative boundaries. 

Understanding greater-than-local trends that drive change (such as housing and commercial property markets) and identifying and resolving issues across boundaries. 

Cooperation on cross boundary matters including consideration of infrastructure needs and inter-relationships between infrastructure types. This applies particularly to transport infrastructure, digital, flood, utilities and minerals and waste. 

Maintaining an up to date Statement of Common Ground detailing matters on which all parties agree relating to strategic planning matters and Local Plans passing the legal test in meeting the Duty to Cooperate. 

Delivery of well-designed commercial and residential developments within Spatial Priority Areas (SPAs) and sites included in strategic pipelines. 

Site-specific mitigation of the impact of development achieved in an efficient and coordinated way through planning obligations (relating to transport matters). 


  • Good progress made on development of Local Plans. 
  • Positive cross-boundary cooperation and long history of joint-working on planning matters. 
  • Successful delivery programmes including the Leeds City RegionEnterprizeZone Programme. 
  • Commitments to develop further strategic spatial planning policy through the WY devolution deal.


  • A requirement to balance economic, environmental and social priorities in policy development. 
  • Ambitious target to be net zero carbon by 2038, in which planning has role to play. 
  • Challenging ambitions to deliver up to 13,000 homes per year across the region. 
  • Viability issues in some parts of our city region preventing delivery of development. 
  • Significant, catchment-wide flood risk issues.

Policies and strategies

Who’s helping make this happen

  • The development industry and investors bringing forward proposals across our city region. 
  • Local residents within our city region helping to shape Local Plans. 
  • Local Planning Authorities within our city region (policy and development management functions). 
  • The Combined Authority / LEP Board take decisions on proposed investments and Place Panel provide advice and strategic direction on our policies and projects. 
  • Neighbouring local planning authorities and strategic bodies including neighbouring combined authorities and North Yorkshire County Council. 
  • Statutory bodies including Environment Agency, Homes England, Highways England amongst others. 
  • At a national level the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Planning Inspectorate provide the policy context and act as the decision makers on spatial planning matters. 

What we are doing to make this happen

Our approach is to build a shared evidence base and where necessary develop joint (non-statutory) plans and strategies and to inform local plan development including: 

Provide an annual housing delivery monitoring to provides contextual information on housing market trends. 

Maintaining an up to date and comprehensive Statement of Common Ground detailing many matters on which Local Planning Authorities agree. 

Communication of the ambitions we have for our places through strategic narratives and online interactive mapping tools / products. To access our online interactive Leeds City Region Infrastructure Map please click here. 

This map includes up to date site allocations of our Local Planning Authorities. 

Providing urban design anmasterplanning support to Local Planning Authorities  

How this will meet our priorities

Boosting productivity

  • Working towards a comprehensive set of adopted Local Plans underpinned by sound evidence on commercial land requirements to support economic growth. 
  • Ensuring businesses in our region are incentivised to innovate and grow, providing commercial development land in the right places and with the right supporting infrastructure. 

Tackling the climate emergency

  • Collective agreement on achieving the target to be net zero carbon by 2038 is articulated through the Statement of Common Ground. The challenge now is to look at policy alignment through local plan reviews and the development of the Zero-Emission Strategic Infrastructure Investment Framework to ensure that planning plays its part in helping to meet this target. 

Enabling inclusive growth

  • Balancing economic, environmental and social priorities through planning policy and planning for jobs, homes and infrastructure that meets the needs of all residents of the region. 
  • All consultation responses on Local Planning Policy from the Combined Authority on emerging local planning policy considers inclusive growth priorities. 

Delivering 21st century transport

  • The Combined Authority directly secures investment through developer contributions via the planning process to deliver transport infrastructure. From a strategic position the Statement of Common Ground includes commitments to support the safeguarding and delivery of critical strategic routes and collaborate across boundaries (including beyond the Leeds City Region) to make best use of inter-regional road, rail and water transport networks including for the purposes of freight movements and to enable use of the most sustainable modes. 
  • It also includes a commitment to plan for significant transport infrastructure in the Leeds City Region including planning for an integrated mass transit system for West Yorkshire, scoping work has started to support emerging proposals for mass transit through the planning process. 

Securing money and powers

  • Powers to prepare a Spatial Development Strategy (SDS) are likely to be conferred to the Combined Authority following the conclusion of the national planning reforms. An SDS for West Yorkshire will coordinate strategic land-use planning with strategic transport planning and provide an ambitious framework to achieve a strategic level change in environmental planning policy to reduce carbon emissions and tackle the climate emergency. 
  • Work to support securing funding to deliver commercial and residential developments within Spatial Priority Areas (SPAs) and sites included in strategic pipelines will continue. 

Page last updated: 30/04/2021