£17m investment plan proposed to tackle challenges facing county

This story was published 12 July 2022

A plan to invest almost £17 million of Government funding to address a host of challenges from a lack of broadband coverage to poor rural transport links in North Yorkshire will be considered by senior councillors.

A photo of Rural North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire has been allocated £16.9 million over three years from the Shared Prosperity Fund, which has been established in the wake of Brexit to replace money that would have been secured from the European Union.

We must submit a high-level investment plan for how we intend to spend the funding to the Government this month (July), with a Government response expected by September.

The proposal will be considered by members of our executive on Tuesday 19 July.

The county council and seven district and borough councils are working closely on the project, which from April 1 next year will be administered by the new single North Yorkshire Council, which will replace the eight current councils.

A Local Partnership Group bringing together local, regional and national organisations has developed the investment plan. It consulted widely through more than 25 meetings with stakeholders and three webinars attended by more than 100 people representing 79 organisations. 

The leader, Cllr Carl Les, who chairs the partnership, said: “The aim of this fund is to build people’s pride in their communities and to increase the opportunities available for residents and businesses.

“The plan focuses on enabling communities to create the foundations for their own economic development, supporting local businesses to thrive, innovate and grow and helping to reduce the barriers people of any age may face in entering and progressing in work and education.”

Work already undertaken has identified numerous challenges facing the county and opportunities to address them through the fund. Challenges range from rural transport and digital connectivity to access to education and training, the affordability and availability of housing and the cost of living crisis.

Communities and organisations will be invited to put forward specific projects for consideration to address these and other challenges later this year, subject to the Government’s approval of the plan.

However, the investment plan sets out areas where action should be targeted. These range from piloting ideas for regenerating communities to promoting active and healthy lifestyles, improving digital inclusion and energy and climate resilience and celebrating culture and heritage.

In addition, programmes could support people in both finding and progressing in work, boost innovation and new technology in business and promote the visitor economy.