Progress on Wakefield East Relief Road approved

Members of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority have agreed the start of the construction procurement process for the planned Wakefield East Relief Road.

Members of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority have agreed the start of the construction procurement process for the planned Wakefield East Relief Road.

A request for the Authority to approve progressing the scheme was part of a report to its September 18 meeting on delivery of the recently-announced City Region Growth Deal and West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund.

The Eastern Relief Road is an �early win� scheme for the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund. It is expected to be ready for Final Gateway in December which means work could start in 2015.

Substantial job creation

Combined Authority Chair Cllr Peter Box said, �The Eastern Relief Road is a key scheme in Wakefield�s on-going regeneration.

�It has been designed to support substantial job creation by providing direct access into the East Wakefield employment growth area and will also reduce congestion by creating a city centre bypass.�

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The Combined Authority Board also discussed progress on delivering the Leeds City Region�s six-year, �573m Growth Deal, announced by the Government in July. The City Region�s Growth Deal is the largest sum allocated to any local enterprise partnership (LEP) area in the country and represents the second highest allocation per head of population.

The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has already started the work required to deliver the Growth Deal under its Strategic Economic Plan�s four strategic pillars:

  • supporting growing businesses;
  • developing a skilled and flexible workforce;
  • building a resource-smart city;
  • delivering the infrastructure for growth.

Growing companies

This work includes supporting growing companies through an extension of the LEP�s successful Business Growth Programme for a further three years, providing an additional �18m grant finance to help small businesses expand and create jobs.

The LEP is also working on:

  • identifying the first projects that will benefit from �74m skills capital funding devolved through the Growth Deal to invest in improved college facilities, alongside other measures to boost skills and support business growth
  • the creation of a Business Growth Hub, which will serve as a �one stop shop� for small business support in the City Region
  • the establishment of an Energy Hub to invest in new energy infrastructure that will contribute to economic growth, create jobs and reduce carbon emissions
  • a resource smart business support programme to help small and medium sized companies improve productivity by reducing their energy and resource costs

Additionally, work is underway on delivering housing and regeneration projects.

These include One City Park in Bradford, City Fields, in Wakefield, central York and Northgate House in Halifax town centre.

Forging ahead

LEP Chair Roger Marsh said, �Our game-changing Growth Deal demonstrates the trust that government has in our plans, our partnership and our potential to play a leading role in driving national prosperity.

�Having secured this major investment, we are now forging ahead with our partners to begin delivering the first set of Growth Deal-funded projects, which together will create thousands of jobs and unlock millions of pounds of growth in our City Region.�

Transport Fund

Also announced in July, was a unique settlement that will see a �1bn West Yorkshire plus Transport Fund established over 20 years through government cash, previously announced funding and locally-agreed contributions. Work on the development of a programme of 'early win' Transport Fund projects is continuing, to ensure that some schemes are ready to go at the earliest possible opportunity.

In addition to the Wakefield East Relief Road, these �early win� projects include:

  • junction improvements at Harrogate Road and New line in Bradford to increase local housing and employment opportunities and improve links from Leeds Bradford International Airport;
  • highway and public transport upgrades along the A629 between Elland bypass and Halifax town centre;
  • measures to address traffic and flooding issues at the Cooper Bridge junction, which is a on a key route into Huddersfield from the M62;
  • the 1,000-space Temple Green bus park and ride at Leeds� Aire Valley Enterprise Zone to support employment growth and increased economic activity without adding to congestion;
  • Pontefract Northern Relief Road, which is designed to unlock wider housing and development areas and reduce local congestion;
  • improvement to York Outer Ring Road , which will improve journey times and reliability for businesses, commuters and leisure travellers by tackling significant congestion hotspot and removing existing pinch points;
  • feasibility work at 16 rail stations, including Horsforth, Mirfield, Mytholmroyd and Normanton to build upon West Yorkshire�s existing 5,300-plus park and ride spaces.

Joint work is underway to:

  • assess the feasibility of a new motorway junction on the M62 between Huddersfield and Brighouse;
  • achieve additional frequency and speed improvements to trains on the Calder Valley rail line between Leeds, Bradford, Halifax and Manchester;
  • develop quality and interchange improvements for passenger improvements to major rail stations such as Bradford Interchange and Forster Square, Leeds, York and Halifax.

Like the Wakefield Eastern Relief Road, these projects will have to pass scheme development Gateways agreed with the Department for Transport. This progress will be overseen by the Combined Authority�s Investment Committee.

�Download to the WYCA meeting report (pdf : 421k) (Opens in a new window).