Draft Report

August 2023



North Yorkshire Council Economic Growth Strategy




North Yorkshire Council
 Our ref: 243-039-01

Draft Report

August 2023



North Yorkshire Economic Growth Strategy 2023-2028 - Draft



Prepared by:

Prepared for:


Steer Economic Development

67 Albion Street
Leeds LS1 5AA


North Yorkshire Council


+44 113 389 6444



Our ref:  243-039-01



Foreword. 8

Executive Summary. 9

1....... Our Distinctive Places & Economy. 2

Our distinctive role at the heart of the North. 2

Our Distinctive Places. 3

Our Distinctive Economy. 5

Our challenges and opportunities for growth. 7

2....... Our Vision for Growth. 9

Our Vision. 9

Our Principles. 9

A Strategy Built on Three Pillars. 9

Our Strategic Framework. 11

3....... Pillar 1: Enterprise. 12

Introduction. 12

Theme 1: Integrated Growth Sectors and Clusters. 13

Theme 2: Innovation and Enterprise. 18

Theme 3: Essential service sectors and thriving local economies. 21

Driving Growth Across Our Distinctive Places. 23

4....... Pillar 2: Infrastructure. 25

Introduction. 25

Theme 1: Enabling Growth & Development. 26

Theme 2: Transport & Digital Connectivity. 31

Theme 3: Housing Supply & Affordability. 34

Driving Growth across all our Distinctive Places. 36

5....... Pillar 3: People. 37

Introduction. 37

Theme 1: Widening the Workforce to Meet Business Need. 38

Theme 2: Skills provision, pathways and brokerage. 41

Theme 3: Inclusion, Health and Employability. 43

Driving Growth across all our Distinctive Places. 44

6....... Making it Happen. 46

Strategic Alignment. 46

Delivery, place-making and engagement. 47

Partnership & Governance. 49

Performance Monitoring. 50

How will we measure our success?. 50



Figure 1‑1: North Yorkshire’s Strategic Location & Links. 3

Figure 1‑2: Our Place Typology. 4

Figure 1‑3: North Yorkshire Commuting Flows. 5

Figure 1‑4: Our Sector Strengths. 7

Figure 2‑1: Our Principles. 10

Figure 2‑2: Our Strategic Framework. 12

Figure 3‑1: Agri-Food-Green Energy Businesses and Assets. 15

Figure 3‑2: Drax Power Station and the Pursuit of Carbon Negative. 16

Figure 3‑3: Localised and emerging sector specialisms. 17

Figure 3‑4: Anglo American and North Yorkshire’s Cyber Cluster. 18

Figure 3‑5: C4DI, Treadmills, Northallerton. 21

Figure 4‑1: Selby Station Gateway Programme. 29

Figure 4‑2: Our Development Sites. 31

Figure 4‑3: North Yorkshire Strategic Transport Corridors. 33

Figure 5‑1: CU Scarborough. 42

Figure 5‑2: Indices of Multiple Deprivation, 2019. 43

Figure 6‑1: Strategic Alignment. 47

Figure 6‑2 - Required action plans. 48




North Yorkshire is a unique and special place. Its scale and industries make it integral to the North of England’s economic future, and its landscapes, culture and history make it a fantastic place to live, work and do business. This Economic Growth Strategy is a key milestone, marking an exciting new phase for our economy and establishing a leading role for North Yorkshire Council. One where we take the lead on tackling some of the big economic challenges of our time such as net zero and energy security, and harness our strengths to combine accelerated economic growth which benefits all our people and places with a carbon negative economy and outstanding quality of life.

The world is in a period of intense technological change. Advances in artificial intelligence, data and materials are disrupting the way we all live and work and the way businesses operate. These changes affect us all, but they create the chance for us to rethink our economy and embrace new opportunities for growth and regeneration. At the same time, our economic resilience is being tested – first by the pandemic, and then by conflict in Europe and other global uncertainties. We must be alive to these challenges, targeting support at areas where it is needed to overcome them, and at areas with a unique part to play in finding solutions.

This five-year Strategy comes at a critical time for North Yorkshire, and one of the most exciting in its recent history. Having recently successfully completed the local government reorganisation of seven district councils and one county council into a single unitary authority, the establishment of North Yorkshire Council presents a once in a generation opportunity to embed a new approach to supporting economic growth in North Yorkshire – one which recognises the area’s unique scale and character and reflects the diversity and distinctiveness of its component parts.

Not only this, but North Yorkshire, along with its neighbour City of York Council, have successfully secured a devolution deal with Government. Subject to finalisation, this will lead to the creation of a new York & North Yorkshire Combined Authority, to be led by a Mayor elected in May 2024. By taking a proactive approach, working in partnership with the private sector and the Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA), and by using its assets, the new Council can help drive regeneration and investment in the area.

This £750m devolution deal puts North Yorkshire at the forefront of economic development in England. It brings significant funding and powers to the region and is a landmark moment in our ability to shape our own economic destiny. It includes £18m a year over 30 years to invest in growth, £13m for new homes and £7m to support our carbon negative transition. The deal will also provide powers to help shape plans in relation to transport, skills and regeneration.

The opportunities these changes create make this the perfect time to develop this Economic Growth Strategy. The culmination of extensive consultation and robust analysis, this Strategy will ensure that the new council has a clear understanding of its economic strengths, challenges and opportunities, as it embarks on its journey as a unitary authority. This will enable the Council to make informed decisions about how to direct its resources, and the resources available through the MCA, to best support economic growth in the coming years.

Beyond this, the Strategy provides business, investors residents, and other partners with a clear sense of North Yorkshire’s growth ambitions. These can only be achieved by partners from all these groups working together to realise our collective ambitions for this great place.

Councillor Derek Bastiman, Executive Member for Open to Business


Executive Summary

 Our ambitions for growth

Our vision is to be an innovative, carbon negative economy driven by our productive and entrepreneurial business base and the places & communities that make North Yorkshire distinctive.

Over the next five years, we want to attract investment and grow our economy to create new and exciting opportunities for our residents and businesses. To achieve this, we need to make the most of our unique economic offer and set a new level of ambition for sustainable growth.

In a highly connected, digitised world of hybrid working and technological change, North Yorkshire is perfectly positioned to be an attractive location for business and for residents who can benefit from its outstanding places to live and work, connectivity to major towns and cities, and opportunities for growth and development.

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To realise this ambition, we will work hand in hand with businesses, investors and other partners from North Yorkshire and beyond to accelerate the pace of development. We will target growth in sectors which align to our existing and emerging strengths, making the most of our towns, coast and rural areas and the myriad regeneration and development sites.

Our Economic Strengths and Assets

We are already a leader in the UK’s transition to net zero, and have ambitions to go further in becoming a carbon negative economy. Our sectoral strengths are at the heart of this ambition. Our renewable energy generation, agritech and food & drink sectors are all nationally significant and offer huge potential for both growth and decarbonisation, linked to our innovative businesses and our outstanding natural assets.

But there is so much more to North Yorkshire than this. We are home to a vast array of localised specialisms spanning financial & professional services, advanced manufacturing, logistics, digital and life sciences, as well as being an internationally renowned visitor economy which in itself generates £1.5bn of economic output each year.

Handshake with solid fillBeyond our sector opportunities, or key strengths include:

Pound with solid fillA thriving, entrepreneurial business base with high business density

A strong and diverse economy where growth and productivity have outpaced UK levels at various times in recent years

Office worker male with solid fillScientist female with solid fillA highly skilled workforce and strong labour market, with employment rates and qualification levels exceeding UK averages

Smiling face with solid fill with solid fillOne of the best places to live in the UK with two national parks and three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and places like Skipton and Harrogate often voted among the best places to live in the country

Flask with solid fillTrain Tracks with solid fillA highly connected location at the heart of the North, with major sites primed for development and strong connections to east coast ports and major cities such as York, Leeds and Bradford.

Map with pin with solid fillAccess to world class research and innovation assets linked to our strengths in food, energy and biorenewables with close links to universities and R&D centres in neighbouring areas, including top-flight universities in Leeds, York and beyond. 

Our outstanding places spanning urban, rural, and coastal locations, where a breadth of cultural and heritage assets combine with thriving market towns in the 3rd largest local authority in England.

Our Priorities

Pillar 1: Enterprise: is the central pillar of this strategy, focused on supporting the growth of businesses in North Yorkshire building on our existing and emerging sectoral strengths, and increasing innovation and productivity throughout the economy.

Pillar 2: Infrastructure: equipping our town centres to thrive in the 21st century, and realising the vast potential that our strategic development sites offer with investment in transport, digital and energy infrastructure to enable sustainable growth.  

Pillar 3: People: ensuring people have the skills they need to develop their careers and meet the needs of business, enabling people in all of our communities are able to participate in the economy and benefit from its success.

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Pillar 1: Enterprise

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Pillar 2: Infrastructure

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Pillar 3: People

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Making it happen

North Yorkshire Council has a key role to play but is only one part of the story. Developing, and delivering, activity to make this strategy a reality has to happen in collaboration with partners across North Yorkshire and beyond. We will apply the following principles in order to do this:

·          Partnerships for Growth - we will work more collaboratively with the private sector than ever before, forging new partnerships with developers to accelerate development and attract investment.

·          Open for Business – we will adopt an open approach to engaging with both existing North Yorkshire businesses and those looking to locate here, ensuring our offer aligns with their needs.

·          Empowered Communities – we will engage community networks and third sector partners to ensure plans for growth reflect their priorities and to make sure that the economy provides them with access to great places, jobs and opportunities to live prosperously and sustainably.

·          Looking Outward - we will embrace opportunities to collaborate with the National Parks, the new York & North Yorkshire MCA, our neighbours in places such as York and beyond, and with national agencies to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

·          Action Orientated - we will build on this strategy with a series of more detailed action plans, produced in collaboration with all of these key partners and stakeholders. This includes ensuring our economic ambition aligns with our plans for transport, climate change and housing.


Figure: Our Partnerships and Strategic Alignment

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1               Our Distinctive Places & Economy

Our distinctive role at the heart of the North

1.1                   North Yorkshire is among the UK’s most significant economies. Our ongoing economic success, our entrepreneurial spirit and our relentless focus on surpassing net zero, give us the potential to be a powerhouse of the UK economy and fundamental to the country’s future prosperity.

1.2                   We sit at the heart of the North, which leads our people and businesses to look to different places including York, Teesside and the North East, the Humber, West Yorkshire and Lancashire, positioning us to capitalise on the opportunities and assets those places offer. Through our relationships with these places, as well as the strengths within its own borders, North Yorkshire has access to a vast range of employment opportunities, talent, research facilities and strategic transport infrastructure.

1.3                   In a world of hybrid working and digital access, North Yorkshire is perfectly positioned to be an attractive location for business and for residents who can benefit from its outstanding natural assets and quality of life, connectivity, and agglomeration benefits of surrounding areas.

Figure 1‑1: North Yorkshire’s Strategic Location & Links

North Yorkshire Headlines
 615,000 people
 32,000 businesses
 £15.5bn GDP
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1.4                   This Strategy aims high, thinks long term and fits with the values and ambitions of the new North Yorkshire Council, local businesses and stakeholders. It is purposefully high level and sets a direction of travel and key objectives, not the minutiae of every action. Hence, follow-on action planning will be required to further develop the actions identified in this strategy and move towards delivery.

Our Distinctive Places

1.5                   North Yorkshire is a unique mix of high-quality places spanning urban, rural, and coastal locations. A breadth of cultural and heritage assets combine with thriving market towns all contributing to high quality of life and economic vitality. It is home to major towns with complementary strengths.

1.6                   The Harrogate and Selby areas are highly integrated with economies in York and West Yorkshire, though their economies are markedly different, with strong industrial assets around Selby driving a major hub for manufacturing and energy generation. Harrogate meanwhile boasts strengths in financial and professional services, as well as an outstanding visitor economy, including the Harrogate Convention Centre.

1.7                   The Skipton area has similarly strong connections to Leeds, Bradford and Lancashire, a strong financial services sector of its own, and manufacturing strengths linked to life sciences. Meanwhile, Scarborough is a major service centre and mixes manufacturing strengths with its status as a renowned coastal resort.

1.8                   Alongside this, major employment sites both within and outside of towns, many of which provide links to our area’s proud industrial past, provide opportunities for accelerated future growth.

1.9                   All of this is surrounded by outstanding natural environment. Some of Britain’s finest coastline, two national parks and three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty all contribute hugely to North Yorkshire’s character and economy, and present opportunities for further growth whilst also protecting the characteristics which make them so special.

1.10                All of these places differ greatly in their economic and social characteristics, which in turn influences their priorities and needs, and their ambitions for the future. As such, in the Strategy we consider how our plans for growth in North Yorkshire may manifest differently in different parts of the County using the below place typology.

Figure 1‑2: Our Place Typology

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Our primary economic centres, namely Harrogate and Scarborough. Each with diverse and distinct economies, they are magnets for residents, visitors and businesses and offer significant opportunities for growth & investment.

The ‘jewels in our crown’, our market towns are integral to our economic success. Each different in character, they offer vibrant culture and amenities, but must continue to adapt to meet the needs of people and business and the move to a low carbon economy

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The country’s largest local authority by area includes two national parks and three areas of outstanding natural beauty. This unique environment drives many sectors, including tourism, agriculture and many small and micro businesses. They are also home to varied communities with distinct needs.

Our stunning coastline attracts millions of visitors each year to destinations such as Whitby and Filey and offers major opportunities in emerging sectors such as offshore wind. As with rural areas, some communities face challenges around deprivation and access to opportunity.

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1.11                We know that our economy does not exist in isolation and our success and prosperity is deeply intertwined with that of our neighbours. North Yorkshire residents commute beyond our administrative boundaries to a host of neighbouring places. Critically, we recognise that our places – home to our enterprising businesses and talent pool – are integrated into industrial clusters and supply chains that span the North and beyond.

1.12                These relationships are exemplified on the map below looking at commuting patterns between our places and neighbours. This emphasises that North Yorkshire is a series of overlapping functional economic areas and highlights the strength of our integration into the wider Northern economy. From the strong knowledge intensive services sectors connecting Skipton and Harrogate to major cities like York and Leeds, to the manufacturing links between Selby and West and South Yorkshire. Manufacturing also forms part of our bond with the East Coast, where we merge with the Humber to form the Energy Estuary with strengths in renewables and offshore wind. Our energy and food production specialisms also connect us closely to our neighbours to the North, in the Tees Valley and beyond.

Figure 1‑3: North Yorkshire Commuting Flows

Source: Census 2011 Origin-Destination data, ONS 2011

Our Distinctive Economy

1.13                With a population of 615,000, North Yorkshire is the third biggest unitary local authority in England, behind only Birmingham and Leeds. It is the largest local authority by land area, covering over 800,000 hectares – 5.5 times the size of the Greater London Authority.

Pound with solid fillOur economy produces £15.5bn of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) every year, and growth was outpacing the UK as a whole prior to the financial crash of 2008. Between 2010 and 2019 annual growth of 1.8% was close to the 2% UK average.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a 12.1% drop in GDP in 2020, North Yorkshire was making good progress on closing the economic gap to the UK. Productivity increased by 29% between 2014 and 2020, outpacing the national 17% increase.

Handshake with solid fillWe are home to over 32,000 businesses, predominantly small firms with strong survival rates. Our thriving, entrepreneurial business base is reflected in our business density - 466 businesses per 10,000 people, increasing to over 500 in places like Craven, Harrogate, and Ryedale.

Diploma roll with solid fillWe have a working population of 295,000 employed across our diverse industrial base. This workforce is highly skilled, with 44% educated to degree level –higher than the average for England and among the highest in the north. This includes over 50% in Harrogate and Craven, which has the highest proportion of highly skilled residents in the North outside of York. Degree-level qualifications are not however evenly dispersed, falling to 32.4% in Ryedale. Many highly skilled residents also tend to commute out to surrounding towns and cities.

Scientist female with solid fillOffice worker male with solid fillOur labour market is among the strongest in the North with an employment rate of 79.2% and high levels of self-employment. However our workforce is ageing rapidly. More than 2 in 5 workers are aged 50+, and the area has double the national average share of early retirees.

Confused face outline with solid fillSmiling face outline with solid fillPeople live happy lives here, with 73% being happy or satisfied with their local area. This is even higher in Craven, Hambleton and Ryedale, where more than 80% are satisfied. However, satisfaction levels are much lower in Scarborough (62%) and Selby (61%).

Our Sectoral Strengths

1.14                Our industrial strengths are as diverse as our places. Many of these are well established and span across the whole of North Yorkshire. Other specialisms, whilst no less important, are more unique to a specific place. Alongside these, it is also vital to recognise the huge importance of essential service sectors, often referred to as the foundational economy, on which we all rely in our daily lives. These sectors provide tens of thousands of jobs, enabling people to participate and progress in work which is essential to building an inclusive economy.

1.15                Our comprehensive baselining, data analysis and literature review identified the below key sector strengths in existing and emerging industries.

Figure 1‑4: Our Sector Strengths

Source: Steer-ED / Data City

Pan-North Yorkshire Strengths

1.16                Agriculture, food and drink production together directly employ more than 33,000 people – a concentration of employment (location quotient, LQ) more than 5 times higher than the national average with strengths right across North Yorkshire. This includes emerging strengths in agri-tech, with assets including FERA / York Biotech Campus at Sand Hutton, Quorn’s Global Innovation Centre in Stokesely, and vertical farming in Selby where agri-tech employment is 7 times higher than the national average. Aquaculture is also a vital component of coastal economies.

1.17                Aligned to this, our renewable energy generation sector, with Drax at its heart and also encapsulating biorenewables and carbon sequestration, is nationally significant. It is no coincidence that these sectors thrive in North Yorkshire. They all benefit from our fertile land and natural capital to enable them to operate successfully here whether at the huge scale of Drax or smaller scale community energy initiatives. They also face many shared challenges and opportunities – particularly as we progress towards a carbon negative economy.

1.18                Our visitor economy is also a major strength, employing 41,000 people and generating £1.5bn of economic output each year. Again, this is spread right across North Yorkshire with a diverse visitor offer in our coastal areas, national parks, AONBs and towns, underpinned by our rich heritage sites and variety of natural spaces.

Localised Sector Specialisms

1.19                Our mix of businesses, assets and institutions gives rise to highly concentrated specialisms in certain places. In some places, these are deep-rooted and well developed such as financial services in Skipton. Driven by Skipton Building Society, the sector employs 2,000 people in the Skipton area, and 3,000 across North Yorkshire. Other areas, such as Harrogate, have niche and emerging specialisms in areas such as digital payments.

1.20                Advanced manufacturing and engineering specialisms are located across North Yorkshire with strengths and characteristics varying from place to place. Selby in particular is a manufacturing hub, strongly connected to neighbouring areas in Wakefield and Doncaster with strengths in manufacturing electrical equipment and vehicles. Scarborough and Ryedale share some of these manufacturing strengths, particularly electrical equipment. In terms of niche and emerging strengths, Skipton and the surrounding area has a strong specialism in pharma, whilst green construction is a key growth area in a range of places including Selby, Harrogate, Hambleton, and Craven.

1.21                The excellent transport links contribute to a localised specialism in logistics in Selby, where modern highly automated operations are contributing to the growth of an important distribution hub with strong East-West and North-South connections.

1.22                The area is also rich in scientific research & development, with strengths evident in Harrogate, where life sciences-related R&D employs 1,500 people (LQ=3.6). 600 people are also employed in scientific R&D in both Richmondshire and Ryedale (LQ=4.2), where major assets include the National Agri-Food Innovation Centre and Fera. Sensors are a further key emerging specialism, with strengths evident across North Yorkshire but notably in Richmondshire and Harrogate.

1.23                The presence of GCHQ and the National Cyber Security Centre in Scarborough present an opportunity in the growing Cyber sector particularly when aligned to the activity of Anglo-American locally and defence assets such as Catterick Garrison and RAF stations at Menwith Hill and Leeming. The presence of Anglo-American constructing a new polyhalite mine near Whitby underpins a highly concentrated mining & quarrying sector which employs 600 people locally.

Essential Service Sectors

1.24                Our Essential Service Sectors are a critical part of the economy – not only because they provide services which we rely on each day, through health, education, and retail, but also because they employ over 90,000 people in North Yorkshire. This includes 30,000 in health and care, 22,000 in education, 23,000 in retail and 15,000 in construction.

1.25                These sectors offer opportunities for entry into the jobs market, career progression and good pay to large numbers of people. They are therefore essential to ensuring that our economy offers opportunities for all residents to prosper. Enabling businesses and organisations in these sectors to adopt new practices and technologies which help them to become more productive is therefore essential to ensuring our economy grows in an inclusive and sustainable way.

Our challenges and opportunities for growth

Unique economy and unique opportunities…

1.26                Our Economic Growth Strategy reflects North Yorkshire’s unique geography, history and industrial strengths, and positions us to realise our ambitious growth plans in a changing national and international economy. It builds on the substantial work delivered by local authority partners and the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership in recent years to develop and articulate North Yorkshire’s distinct offer.

Technological change and the new normal…

1.27                However, this is not just business as usual and nor can it be. Both in North Yorkshire and beyond, there are fundamental shifts in how we live, work, and consume in our daily lives. The COVID-19 pandemic caused huge upheaval to people and businesses alike in 2020 and 2021. Whilst many places are recovering well, there will be lasting impacts on how we commute, socialise, and do business. These in turn will shape the choices we make about where to live and how we travel, with NY now a realistic location for workers and businesses that were previously focussed on more urban areas. However, the historic nature of our towns means many have not benefited from innovations that support a digitised, low carbon economy and healthier, active lifestyles.

Energy security and the Net Zero imperative…

1.28                Similarly, the net zero imperative continues to increase in importance and urgency, and the debate around energy generation, storage and consumption has been further disrupted by events in Ukraine and beyond. This has increased the focus of national government on energy security, and on related issues affecting the cost of living including food production and security. These issues intertwine with long-term challenges in modernising our energy infrastructure to better align with dispersed energy generation and flexible management.   

Cost of living and inclusive growth…

1.29                These issues have direct implications for our businesses, residents, and communities. They increase cost pressures for business and for households and cause us all to reprioritise where we focus our spending and our time. For more deprived communities where budgets are already stretched, it is essential to ensure that there is sufficient secure employment with decent pay to enable people to live fulfilling lives. This means equipping people with the employability skills that employers value greatly, as well as specialist skills.

Growth through innovation and collaboration…

1.30                North Yorkshire is already at the vanguard of efforts to tackle these challenges. It is a national leader in energy generation and food production, and ahead of the curve in its ambition to transition to a carbon negative economy. However, we still see relatively low levels of R&D investment locally and nationally with a significant uplift in investment needed to drive productivity improvements. The opportunity to leverage our strengths to address these challenges is at the heart of our vision for this Strategy. To achieve this, we will need to be bold, innovative, and open for collaboration with our businesses and communities, with the council playing a leading role in efforts to attract and unblock investment.

Our role in the national and global economy…

1.31                That collaboration does not stop at our borders. We will need to work more closely than ever with our neighbours around our sector strengths and complementary research assets. We will also need to work harder than ever to attract international investment into North Yorkshire to provide the space and capital needed to sustain higher growth and productivity. Through this, and through supporting our businesses to trade internationally, we can play our full role in the global economy.

2               Our Vision for Growth

Our Vision

Our vision is to be an innovative, carbon negative economy driven by our productive and entrepreneurial business base and the places & communities that make North Yorkshire distinctive.

2.1                   Over the next five years, we want to attract investment and grow our economy to create opportunities for our residents and businesses. To achieve this, we need to make the most of our unique economic offer and set a new level of ambition for sustainable growth.

Our Principles

2.2                   In achieving this vision, our activity will be underpinned by six principles. These principles are an active consideration which will guide both the content and priorities of this Strategy, and the strategic and investment decisions that flow from it as it moves into delivery.

Figure 2‑1: Our Principles

A Strategy Built on Three Pillars

2.3                   Our Strategy is built on three pillars - Enterprise, Infrastructure, and People. These are the foundations upon which our economy is built and the key foci of our attention if we are to successfully deliver the accelerated and sustainable growth we want to see. They are all interdependent. Whilst the Enterprise pillar sits at the heart of our Strategy, all pillars acting together is necessary if we are to achieve our goals. No one pillar alone is sufficient. This is a point emphasised by businesses, who consistently tell us that access to skills and people is a key barrier to growth, as is constrained infrastructure.

2.4                   The Enterprise pillar is central to this Strategy, reflecting the fact that activity in this pillar is at the core of the Council’s economic development role. Whilst the Infrastructure and People pillars are no less important, primary responsibility for activity in these spaces will, in many instances, sit elsewhere in the Council and with its partners. However, alignment of strategies across these activities is vital to achieving our collective aims.

2.5                   For example, accelerated economic growth and the transition to carbon negative cannot be achieved without complementary investment in strategic transport initiatives, which must align with the identified sectoral and spatial opportunities to be reflected in the Local Plan.

2.6                   Given the centrality of the Enterprise pillar, this is covered in more detail than the other pillars in this Strategy. In other pillars, where this Strategy has less direct control over activity, we have taken a lighter touch approach but have identified priorities that are essential to our growth ambitions. Through this, our aim is to influence future strategy and activity which is outside the direct scope of economic development but is critical to our economic success, in areas such as transport, housing and health.

2.7                   This Strategy aims to set the ambition and direction in economic development for the Council. It is not intended to be a delivery plan or investment plan. To make the actions outlined in this Strategy a reality, we will collaborate closely with our partners across North Yorkshire and beyond to develop more detailed action plans for the aspects over which we have control, and to influence those areas for which primary responsibility for delivery largely sits elsewhere.

Gears with solid fill 


Pillar 1: Enterprise: supporting the growth of businesses in North Yorkshire with a focus on our existing and emerging sectoral strengths. This is the central pillar and the primary focus of this Strategy. We will target accelerated growth through increased investment and innovation among our own businesses, and through attracting new business aligned to our high growth, high skilled ambitions. Alongside this, we will support businesses throughout the economy to modernise and adapt to change by adopting new practices and technologies.

Crane with solid fill

Pillar 2: Infrastructure: Recognises the critical role that physical and digital infrastructure plays in enabling growth and prosperity. This includes making sure that our town centres are equipped to thrive in the 21st century, and realising the vast potential that our strategic development sites offer. To achieve this, we will need significant enhancements to our infrastructure, including transport, energy, digital and housing.

Universal access with solid fill

Pillar 3: People: Ensuring all of our communities are able to participate in the economy and benefit from its success. Many of our residents are highly skilled and live in thriving, prosperous communities. But this is not the case for all, and demographic change risks exacerbating economic challenges. To ensure future growth is inclusive, we aim to attract and retain a stronger mix of people at all life stages, and ensure that our workforce has the skills business needs to grow whilst providing high quality, good jobs.

2.8                   The opportunities and challenges in each of these three pillars, and the actions required if we are to achieve our vision for growth, are identified in the subsequent chapters of this Strategy.

Our Strategic Framework

Figure 2‑2: Our Strategic Framework


3               Pillar 1: Enterprise


3.1                   This pillar is about the business base that powers North Yorkshire’s economy and how it can further grow and prosper. Our economy includes world leading businesses, a multitude of dynamic SMEs, and distinctive and sizeable sectors ripe for rapid and sustainable growth. Our ambition is to unlock this potential and harness innovation to achieve growth that combines increased business profits and productivity with more good jobs and higher wages, and which supports our goals for a carbon negative economy.

3.2                   To achieve this we must build on recent productivity improvements and capitalise on our sector strengths, whilst enabling inclusive growth across the whole economy and creating an environment where more businesses start, survive and thrive. To do this, we will take forward action within the following themes:

Integrated Growth Sectors and Clusters

Innovation and Enterprise

Essential Service Sectors and Thriving Local Economies

3.3                   We will build on and align with economic strategies covering neighbouring authorities, particularly the City of York as we work together to establish York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority and to implement existing joint strategies such as the Routemap to Carbon Negative. We will seek to influence and align with a suite of key North Yorkshire strategies and in addition, we need to align with and deliver the relevant outcomes and objectives of the two National Park Management plans. Strong interlinkages with the other pillars in this Strategy include the importance of tackling infrastructure (Pillar 2) and skills (Pillar 3) based barriers to business growth.

3.4                   Assets and opportunities that can support business growth across the themes covered in this pillar, including in key sectors, essential services and innovation across the economy include:

University/HE expertise in nearby centres including York, Hull, Leeds, Lancaster and Teesside

GCHQ and Anglo American in Scarborough and its expertise in cybersecurity

Coventry University campus in Scarborough and University of Sunderland in Northallerton

Stockbridge Technology Centre and Co-lab Harrogate

Specialist FE colleges including Askham Bryan and Bishop Burton

Key initiatives such as Grow Yorkshire and BioYorkshire

National Agri-Food Innovation Centre/York Biotech Campus and FERA at Sand Hutton

Business support via York & North Yorkshire LEP Growth Hub, North Yorkshire Council and City of York Council - covering finance, skills, IT, property, innovation, trade and sustainability

Drax, bioenergy and carbon capture and storage opportunities

Large public sector employers/anchor organisations (e.g. NHS bodies, colleges, MoD facilities, NYC) their jobs and supply chains


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Theme 1: Integrated Growth Sectors and Clusters


3.5                   The success of key sectors within the North Yorkshire economy is vital. They make up a sizeable share of our business base and employment, and have the potential to drive future growth. Evidence shows that a ‘clusters’ approach which focuses on sectors with distinctive strengths, links businesses and their supply chains and academic expertise and public sector support, and fosters innovation and collaboration, can fast track success. Our approach is to do just that, based on industries that are especially pronounced here.

3.6                   Some of these industries are highly concentrated on a specific location, others are strong across the whole county. In many cases, these clusters span across the boundaries we share with our neighbours, with businesses in North Yorkshire attracting workers from York, Teesside and West Yorkshire and vice versa. Businesses also often look towards these neighbouring areas to innovate and develop their supply chains.

3.7                   Our approach is informed through analysis of the North Yorkshire economy and the sectors within it, including looking at which are the most pronounced locally compared to national average. Our biggest specialisms are in crop, animal production, food, and beverage production. These, along with their supply chains, support sectors and related land-based industries (e.g. agri-tech, veterinary, forestry) which are four to five times more pronounced here than nationally.

3.8                   Our green energy sector, including Drax, is nationally leading and laden with growth potential. North Yorkshire produces far more bioenergy than any English region, and net zero industries such as renewable energy generation and energy storage and management are growing fast.  Methane reduction and carbon capture opportunities in all their forms (including via the uplands) are also pronounced. Given the connection to land and natural capital, there are strong links to make between the County’s green energy, food, and agriculture strengths.

3.9                   Beyond this, the visitor economy sector is also pronounced across the County, and there are localised specialisms unique to their local areas which play crucial roles in local economies.

Priority 1: Grow an Integrated Agri-Food-Green Energy Cluster

3.10                This cluster combines agriculture and related support services, food and drink production, land management and forestry, and green energy - including biorenewables, solar, other renewables and carbon sequestration.

3.11                These sectors are undoubted strengths in their own right in North Yorkshire, with 19,500 jobs in agriculture, 13,750 in food & drink manufacturing and 1,250 in energy generation. There is also strong evidence of innovation in agri-tech, including innovation in areas such as aquaculture and vertical farming.

3.12                However, evidence suggests that innovation can often occur at the intersection of related but different industries such as these, and there are wider connections and opportunities given shared core resources and challenges.  Those include skills development/supply across the cluster, including for net zero roles (e.g. related to energy, retrofit and natural capital) and in agricultural and food-based businesses.

Figure 3‑1: Agri-Food-Green Energy Businesses and Assets

Source: Steer-ED analysis of Data City, 2023


3.13                Bringing together businesses and other bodies within the cluster will itself help to identify, refine, and develop key actions and initiatives, which will include:

·          Establishing a driving force champion for the cluster, fostering networking and collaboration building on existing initiatives such as Grow Yorkshire and BioYorkshire, and working in collaboration with the LEP’s sector growth specialists/managers;

·          Driving innovation through enabling collaboration, linking businesses to centres of expertise and innovation within North Yorkshire and beyond, encouraging R&D;

·          Launching ‘innovation challenge’ initiatives such as how to gain maximum sustainable value from a limited land resource, for example combining crop growing with renewable energy;

·          Championing the development and adoption of new tech and digital solutions;

·          Supporting cluster businesses with the transition to carbon negative, exploiting net zero opportunities such as around carbon offset and the circular economy; and

·          Key Account Management (KAM) with cluster businesses and representatives to identify and address key barriers and opportunities;

·          Support the £1m NYC led Local Investment in Natural Capital Programme, to explore investable nature-based solutions to grow local businesses and skills; and

·          Consider locational needs and help deliver appropriate sites for growth of businesses and co-location to support cluster development.

3.14                Action will span the whole of North Yorkshire, but the nature of it will vary according to topography and geography – for example with different types of agriculture and land use in flatter areas compared to upland areas such as the North York Moors, and with R&D/expertise and larger businesses often based in or near urban centres.

Figure 3‑2: Drax Power Station and the Pursuit of Carbon Negative

Drax Power Station and the Pursuit of Carbon Negative

Drax Power Station with biomass storage domes lit upDrax Power Station is the UK’s largest producer of renewable energy, providing 12% of the UK’s renewable power. That is 14 Terawatt-hours (TWh) or enough electricity to power 5 million homes. Over 700 people are currently employed at Drax and it supports 4,200 jobs in Yorkshire & Humber. Coal was completely phased out in Spring 2023 and the plant now runs 100% on renewable biomass.

As part of the East Coast Energy Cluster, Drax sits at the heart of the UK’s drive towards green energy and aims to be zero carbon by 2030. The £2bn BECCS (Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture & Storage) project aims to remove 8Mt of CO2 from the atmosphere annually by 2030, significantly contributing to the UK’s net zero ambitions as well as stimulating the local economy; 80% of the supply chain for the project will be UK sourced.

Drax also has a long history of in supporting renewable power generation in the UK, currently working with 2,300 independent renewable generators, acting as a hub and distribution point for green energy to connect to the national grid. SEGL2 (proposed High Voltage Direct Current Superhighway from North Sea wind farms to Drax) and two huge proposed local solar farms (400MW and 250MW) connecting to Drax will significantly scale up those renewable resources in support of the UK’s commitment to a carbon net zero energy system and North Yorkshire’s carbon negative ambition.

Priority 2: Support the growth of localised sectors and clusters

3.15                This objective is about supporting the growth of sectors/clusters that are concentrated in particular localities. The sectors we focus on may evolve over time depending as local economies and their needs and opportunities change and evolve. In the first instance and based upon analysis of our existing and emerging strengths we will look to support and grow sectors/clusters focused on:

·          Cyber - in and around Scarborough;

·          Engineering and advanced manufacturing (including green construction) – mainly in the east and south of the County; and

·          Life sciences, pharma and healthtech – in and around Skipton, Harrogate, and Selby.

3.16                Further detail on these sectors and other areas for future consideration such as defence related industries, sensors, professional/financial services and fintech is provided in the evidence base underpinning this Strategy.

Figure 3‑3: Localised and emerging sector specialisms

Source: Steer-ED analysis of Data City, 2023


3.17                Our first step will be to map and consult with the relevant businesses and stakeholders in more detail and to identify key needs, actions, and initiatives from the bottom up. We will look to develop sustainable and targeted approaches that focus on the few key things that will best deliver high quality and lasting growth. Activity will include working with the LEP/MCA and their sector specialists, and will encompass networking, championing, and sector profile building to increase our international profile and promote our strengths to key markets. KAM activity and promoting innovation and advanced technology uptake will also be key to promoting growth.

3.18                This action is place based by it its nature and opportunities will be taken to ensure that action supports wider principles in the Strategy such as transition to net zero, supporting good jobs and inclusion, and making links to assets, places, and businesses outside of North Yorkshire.

Figure 3‑4: Anglo American and North Yorkshire’s Cyber Cluster

Anglo American and North Yorkshire’s Cyber Cluster

The Woodsmith Project is a truly unique development currently under construction in North Yorkshire. The state-of-the-art mine, owned by global mining operator Anglo American, is being constructed two miles south of Whitby in the North York Moors National Park.

Polyhalite ore will be extracted and transported outside of the National Park to Teesside on a conveyer belt system in an underground tunnel, avoiding any impact on the countryside above. It will then be granulated at a materials handling facility, with the majority exported overseas.

A key priority for Anglo American is to keep operations and employees safe and resilient in an ever-growing digital world. Across every aspect of the business, innovation is applied to ensure the safety of the workforce, sustainability and corporate performance. This is developing a replicable model of differentiated practices and capabilities designed to deliver superior value to all stakeholders.

Anglo American is a key stakeholder in the development of the North Yorkshire Cyber Security Network, alongside GCHQ, North Yorkshire Council and Coventry University Scarborough. Cyber security is a key sector for economic growth in the region, and as part of that opportunity, Anglo American launched its groundbreaking Cyber Security apprenticeship programme in Scarborough.

The course is demanding, combining work and study simultaneously, learning the most advanced cyber security tools available and working alongside experienced cyber security professionals to build the required knowledge and skills. Apprentices study for a nationally recognised qualification, gaining hands on experience with the latest security technologies to prepare them for a career in Cyber.

It is an exciting, comprehensive apprenticeship programme which focuses on developing sound knowledge of cyber security tools, network intrusions, penetration testing, threat intelligence and how to identify and protect against cyber threats. The two-year course leads to a Level 4 qualification and prepares candidates for roles including Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst, Security Operations Analyst and Cyber Security Risk Analyst.

Priority 3: Develop and deliver a Destination Management Plan

3.19                Tourism and the visitor economy is a key sector across North Yorkshire, and is closely linked to quality of place, culture, and the natural environment. It is underpinned by tremendous and distinctive local assets – including the Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors National Parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs), nationally recognised Heritage Coast, coastal resorts, and attractive centres such as Harrogate and our market.

3.20                The County’s visitor economy forms part of a wider offer encompassing the City of York and assets up and down the East Coast. The business-based visitor economy is also important, linked to assets such as Harrogate Convention centre and the Yorkshire Events Centre which enable year-round activity.

3.21                There are opportunities to heighten and promote the quality and distinctiveness of experience in our places, and capitalise on food and drink and family-based offers.  However, challenges remain, such as how to maximise the value and environmental sustainability of tourism - not just visitor numbers; how to enhance the quality and pay of jobs within the sector to support inclusive growth; and how to address workforce and labour challenges.


3.22                Given its centrality to North Yorkshire’s economy and the range of stakeholders involved, we welcome the development of the new Destination Management Plan which will help understand in more detail the challenges and opportunities in this space, and the actions required to grow the sector. There will be continued working with the Tourism Service on the development and implementation of the Plan to address issues raised in this Strategy, including ways to increase both productivity and job quality in the sector, identify opportunities for year-round tourism activity, and to align the sector with North Yorkshire’s carbon negative principle.

3.23                Initiatives to improve North Yorkshire’s places covered under Pillar 2 will seek to exploit opportunities to strengthen the visitor economy and enhance the appeal and character of our places.  Content under Pillar 3 on skills and inclusion will also benefit the sector and increase opportunities for employment and inclusive growth.

Theme 2: Innovation and Enterprise


3.24                Innovation and enterprise will be pivotal to the future productivity, inclusive growth, and resilience of the North Yorkshire economy. That includes more new businesses and social enterprises starting and existing ones scaling up. It involves accelerating innovation in businesses of all sizes and in every sector to drive new and improved products, services, and business models.

3.25                Evidence points to some undoubted positives in this space, but also some challenges:

·          Productivity (output per hour worked) increased by 29% between 2014-20, far outpacing the 17% increase nationally. This is now 86% of UK levels (compared to 78% in 2014), so there is further to go but an excellent trend to build on;

·          North Yorkshire is home to over 32,000 businesses, almost 90% of which have fewer than 10 employees. Business survival rates are above UK levels but start up rates are only three quarters of national average; and

·          Levels of business innovation and tech adoption are relatively low. Addressing this will be important for growth and productivity particularly linked to opportunities such as around tech, digital and net zero.

3.26                A clear and collaborative approach that aligns closely with the business support offer at York & North Yorkshire level will be vital. We will work closely with the LEP/MCA and City of York Council to provide a ‘one front door’ approach for connecting businesses to the range of support they could benefit from. There will be strong links to the pillars covering skills and infrastructure, as businesses regularly identify these as barriers to growth. We will make best use of innovation assets within North Yorkshire and also connect businesses to nationally-leading expertise in neighbouring areas, such as universities and centres of excellence in West Yorkshire, Hull, Teesside, and York. We will offer regular mentoring, start-up support and innovation advice, working closely with partner organisations such as Innovate UK and initiatives such as the Made Smarter programme.

Priority 1: Connect businesses to support that helps them to thrive

3.27                Creating an environment, culture and business support offer that facilitates business formation, growth, and sustainable success. Much of this will be about signposting to and coordination with existing business support offers, with communication and uptake of this a key focus.

3.28                Business support should span the whole of North Yorkshire and be accessible to firms in more deeply rural areas (e.g. the national parks) as well as market towns and larger centres. Key principles such as ensuring that support is inclusive of all eligible residents and businesses,  being outward looking and enabling transition to a carbon negative economy will be integrated into provision and given appropriate prominence.


3.29                We will start by assessing the current and future business support offer with those already providing it locally and with business organisations, identifying any gaps or opportunities to widen, improve or refocus available support. We will proactively communicate available support and work with partners to promote a clear and integrated offer covering:

·          Signposting or provision of general and rounded advice/support to SMEs covering core areas such as business planning, leadership and management, regulation, sales and marketing. This will combine basic advice for all businesses with more targeted support for scale ups and businesses in key sectors/clusters;

·          More specialist areas of advice such as premises, resource efficiency/net zero, exports, local access to finance (as well as on innovation and tech/digital IT – see objective 2);

·          Skills/labour issues and high performance working practices;

·          A specific programme of activity to encourage and assist new business start-ups;

·          Key Account Management with large businesses and investors to identify specific issues and solutions for firms with the biggest economic impact, including in key sectors; and

·          Focused support for digital, tech and creative businesses in North Yorkshire building on the networks established at C4DI Northallerton, Co-Lab Harrogate and the cyber security cluster in Scarborough.

Priority 2: Promote and enable innovation

3.30                Innovation is a key driver of productivity, and is therefore a pivotal factor that can support long term competitiveness and sustainable, inclusive growth. We will adopt a twofold approach to innovation. Firstly, we will promote investment and access to R&D expertise to drive ‘frontier’ innovation in our high growth, high tech businesses and clusters. Secondly, we will encourage more widespread adoption of innovative technologies, processes and cultures across our business base, enabling all businesses to become more productive and competitive, thereby increasing their ability to create more jobs and pay higher wages.


3.31                The detail of action on innovation will be developed in collaboration with relevant partners, and will be joined up with action on clusters/sectors and business support. It will include:

·          Encouraging investment in innovation and R&D by connecting more businesses to centres of expertise such as universities and technology centres, with focus on the agri-food-green energy cluster and our specific localised key sector strengths. This will involve building on previous work to help higher education to become more attuned to business needs and opportunities, and make businesses more aware of the expertise available.

·          New technology centres could also be considered if there are key gaps in provision, a sound business case for investment and routes to the required resources. 

·          Work will include promotion of mechanisms such as Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, which both help to seed innovation and expertise within companies, and help to channel and retain more graduates/postgraduates into businesses and the North Yorkshire economy;

·          Making support available that will assist businesses (especially SMEs) to respond to change and innovate in ways that keep them competitive long term and open up growth potential. We will focus effort and assistance on two areas where businesses will get left behind if they do not, and which offer considerable opportunity for generating efficiencies through product and process development. These are:

          Uptake of digital and advanced technologies, including fourth industrial revolution technologies such as automation, robotics and the internet of things; and

          Adoption of practices and equipment that support transition towards net zero.

3.32                These actions are relevant to businesses across North Yorkshire, and centres with a higher education presence (e.g. Northallerton, Scarborough) or technology/expertise centres (e.g. Selby, Ryedale, Harrogate) will have added focus as assets for others to connect to.

Figure 3‑5: C4DI, Treadmills, Northallerton

C4DI, Treadmills Northallerton

A brick building with benches in front of it  Description automatically generated with low confidenceNorthallerton prison’s long history is now embracing a digital future. Closed by the Ministry of Justice in 2013 it left a 4 acre brownfield site in the heart of the market town, with Historic England listing some of the very earliest buildings on the site that had been in use since 1788.

Hambleton District Council purchased the site and undertook a masterplanning exercise to explore best use of the site, keen to have a strong economic element to help replace the jobs lost with the site’s closure. Through a procurement exercise to secure a development partner developer Wykeland and tech hub operator the Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) came on board. Together the three parties have transformed the site which now includes C4DI Northallerton.

C4DI Northallerton helps digital business to grow and traditional business to innovate. The facility is a digital tech workspace with offices, touch down and collaboration spaces open on a community membership basis.

A group of people in a room  Description automatically generated with medium confidenceThe facility’s initial focus is on agriculture and food manufacturing due to the high concentration of these businesses in the area. By bringing together food and agriculture sectors with the tech sector, C4DI helps these sectors innovate and grow and is building an ecosystem of tech companies with unique supply chain and mentor access. This focus will broaden to serve other sectors over time.

C4DI provides access to a unique community of talented businesses and people who can accelerate innovation within their business as well as provide a perfect environment for team members to work and collaborate.

The economic element of C4DI sits amongst a mixed leisure and retail development, Treadmills which itself is adjacent to the historic High Street. Together they function as vibrant and complementary offers, an eclectic mixture old and new, that is proving a strong base for an emerging digital cluster.

More widely Treadmills could be seen as a demonstrator of what is possible elsewhere in North Yorkshire or with other sectors.

Theme 3: Essential service sectors and thriving local economies


3.33                The majority of businesses and jobs within North Yorkshire are in high volume employment industries across the public and private sectors. The performance of organisations in these essential service sectors, often termed the ‘foundational economy’, is vital to our overall productivity, the profits of businesses and wages of their workers. Essential services like education, health and transport underpin a successful economy and quality of life and contribute much to inclusion health and wellbeing. They are therefore critical to ensuring that all people and places benefit from economic growth.

3.34                It is vital to promote the efficiency and sustainability of businesses and organisations in these sectors across North Yorkshire. Whilst Theme 2 outlines our core business support for SMEs, this theme goes beyond that to focus on the economic benefits of high performance working practices and good jobs across the economy, and the role that ‘anchor organisations’ and others embedded in their local economies can play. These organisations help shape their local economies through local supply chains as well as providing local employment and delivering services in their communities.

3.35                The evidence base shows that:

·          Half as many businesses in York & North Yorkshire as nationally (4% v 9%) employ a set of high performance working practices - integrated processes, practices and policies which serve to deliver improved employee motivation and performance[1];

·          North Yorkshire has a higher than average employment rate, but at £556 per week (2021), median workplace earnings are below those in West Yorkshire and only 91% of national average. 20% of jobs (54,000) pay below the Real Living Wage compared to 17% nationally, with low earnings more common in places such as Craven, Richmondshire and Ryedale;

·          Estimates suggest there to be around 180 sizeable anchor organisations rooted in York and North Yorkshire, including government, education and health organisations and large businesses. These are likely to employ over 100,000 people and have procurement budgets well into the billions of pounds[2]; and

·          The extent of local procurement and supply chains is uncertain, but could undoubtedly be strengthened.

3.36                There are opportunities to raise productivity whilst also enhancing physical and mental health and wellbeing. These include increasing the adoption of best practice and building on assets such as anchor organisations, our skills base, community infrastructure, local identity and our superb access to natural capital. Doing so would support our principles for a more resilient, productive and inclusive economy. It would also link strongly to Pillar 3 on skills, to local level strategies and plans, and corporate policies across a range of organisations.

Priority 1: Support high performance working to raise productivity across the economy

3.37                This action is intended to enhance recruitment, retention, and productivity, as well as wellbeing, by enabling wider roll out of best practice in the private and public sectors.

3.38                High-performance working practices (HPWPs) include business leadership, devolved decision making, performance and support systems which build trust, engagement and commitment with a view to driving greater performance and productivity. Activities can be applied across sectors including public sector bodies and the foundational economy. Research for YNY LEP cited above shows evidence of these practices being adopted in North Yorkshire but more needs to be done to raise awareness and increase uptake.


3.39                Action will include:

·          Raising awareness of high-performance working practices that can support recruitment, retention and productivity, and integrate best practice in these areas into business support advice, leadership and management skills support, and anchor organisation activity.

·          This will include building HPWP into the future business support offer alongside YNY LEP, and adoption language and communication channels that resonate with business.

Priority 2: Harness the potential of anchor organisations and strengthen local supply chains

3.40                We want to strengthen local supply chains across the economy, and maximise the impact of anchor organisations – those who are rooted in an area and have a large impact on it through their employment, spending or functions. There is huge potential to develop local supply chains, increase the resilience of our economy and the proportion of wealth that is retained locally, to the benefit of residents across our communities.

3.41                Given the rural nature of North Yorkshire, anchor organisations can be considered to include key voluntary and community sector organisations, as well as sizeable businesses, local government, higher and further education, health bodies and housing providers. North Yorkshire Council itself has a pivotal role as an anchor organisation – as a large employer, a key service provider, and a democratically mandated institution with the potential to convene partners and drive action. Working together, anchors can support the local economy, build inclusion and opportunity for the less advantaged, and enhance the environment.


3.42                Action will include:

·          Identify and connect anchor organisations who are interested in enhancing their economic and inclusion impacts and wider benefits in North Yorkshire (or an area within it) through their employment, procurement and service delivery functions, their environmental policies or the way they connect to local communities.

·          There is potential to create an anchor organisations network which builds on existing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Social Value and Equalities Diversity Climate and Inclusion policies in businesses and the public sector, and pulls action together in a locally targeted way.

·          Encourage anchor organisations to review their current policies and future ambitions, and to adopt new and innovative approaches that will enhance local impacts. This includes procurement policies/approaches that will deliver social value and increase opportunities for local businesses and SMEs to win contracts.

·          Carry out supply chain analysis in key sectors, across anchor organisations, or in targeted localities to identify opportunities where local supply chain development could facilitate local business growth.

3.43                Anchor organisation-focused action is most likely to centre on urban centres and market towns where most anchors are based, but supply chains and employment connections to them can cover a much wider area. Action in this area has great potential to support an inclusive and resilient economy principles as well as carbon negative transition. As such, North Yorkshire Council itself has a key role to play in acting as a role model to champion this approach.


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Driving Growth Across Our Distinctive Places

The table below sets out some key ways in which growth can be enabled in each of our distinctive places:

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As hubs where many businesses are concentrated, including in the agri-food-green energy cluster and local sectors, market towns will benefit strongly from business growth and support. They will also benefit from anchor organisations and supply chain-based activity.

As well as the benefits above, urban centres have pivotal roles around innovation, given presence of R&D, HE expertise and technology centres in/near to Harrogate and Scarborough. The latter also has a concentration of anchor organisations.

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Much of the agri-food-green energy cluster is based in rural areas, and they will benefit from higher value businesses and jobs. Designated areas are also likely to gain from higher value tourism, and from economic opportunities around stewardship of natural capital and carbon offset potential.

Scarborough will benefit as an urban centre and the heart of cyber sector growth, and coastal areas and our ports are also well placed to benefit from servicing offshore renewables growth (e.g. boats maintenance). Other parts of the coast will benefit from the visitor economy, with Whitby benefiting as a market town and a tourism hotspot.

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4               Pillar 2: Infrastructure


4.1                   One of North Yorkshire’s key strengths is the diversity of its places – its urban centres, market towns, national parks and natural assets all play critical roles in the economy and in the transition to a carbon negative future. Town, rural and coastal areas all make vital contributions, but each of these places has different needs in terms of the infrastructure within them – their mix of residential and commercial property, energy supply, digital and transport connectivity and their unique culture and heritage all shape priorities for development and regeneration.

4.2                   Strong connectivity between places is equally important. This is particularly critical in an area as vast as North Yorkshire, where the distance between places can make connectivity complex and challenging, and where strong enabling infrastructure such as digital and energy can often mean the difference between success and failure for business.

4.3                   This pillar is about making the most of our opportunities for development to deliver enhanced growth that benefits all, creating good jobs and high quality net zero developments befitting our places and communities. To achieve this, it is imperative that we have excellent infrastructure that enables growth, whilst maintaining and enhancing the character, quality and accessibility of our places and environment.

4.4                   Our economic ambitions reflect the work done on the existing York & North Yorkshire Spatial Framework and Plan for Growth, and must influence the future Local Plan for North Yorkshire, and North Yorkshire’s Strategic Transport Prospectus and Local Transport Plan. Our Economic Growth Strategy will inform refreshes to these plans as they emerge under the new council, as well as plans for housing including affordable homes.

4.5                   To do this, we will deliver actions against the following three themes:

Enabling Growth & Development

Transport & Digital Connectivity

Housing Supply & Affordability




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Theme 1: Enabling Growth & Development


4.6                   The entrepreneurial spirit North Yorkshire is famous for is reflected in its high business density and high concentrations of SMEs. However, many of these businesses have historically struggled to grow and scale within North Yorkshire, often forcing them to look further afield to realise their growth ambitions. This, in part, reflects a lack of suitable accommodation to enable them to grow locally.

4.7                   Meanwhile, North Yorkshire has historically not punched its weight in attracting the government and private investment it needs. This has made unlocking our major development sites more challenging, and has meant that such sites have not always attracted the inward investment the area needs to drive growth, innovation and productivity, or to attract the good quality jobs we require to align with our inclusive and resilient economy principles. Activity in this pillar also aligns strongly with our principles for an outward looking economy that is well connected to its neighbours and global in its ambition for growth and investment.

4.8                   This Strategy commits us to a more proactive, collaborative approach to delivering our sites and attracting increased levels of private investment aligned to our strengths and strategic priorities. The Council must lead efforts to significantly increase investment in North Yorkshire through the development of funding bids to unlock growth and enhance places, and removing planning obstacles and other barriers which inhibit good growth and regeneration. The Council will, as appropriate, use the full array of levers it has at its disposal to support economic development. This could include leveraging its assets, using compulsory purchase powers, entering into financial partnerships with developers, and acquiring land for redevelopment.

4.9                   We must capitalise on our sectoral strengths and our strategic location at the heart of the North - with access to ports in the Humber and Teesside, airports in the North East and West Yorkshire, strategic rail links via the East Coast Mainline and Transpennine Route and strong North-South road links via the A1 and the M62, as well as the wider strategic road network.

4.10                Many of our key development sites are ideally located to capitalise on this but these sites share some common challenges that must be addressed to meet the needs of high value investors. Chief among these is ensuring that they have the energy infrastructure and grid connections needed to both provide occupants with the capacity they need, and to enable businesses to return renewable energy to the grid.

4.11                Our myriad urban centres and market towns are another key strength. Their outstanding quality of life is part of what makes North Yorkshire such an attractive place to live, and to start and grow a business. But as our previous Future Towns[3] analysis has identified, these towns must continue to evolve if they are to remain attractive and prosperous in the modern economy. Significant strides have already been made in this space. Through NYnet, we have pioneered the rollout of full fibre networks across North Yorkshire, and have invested in public Wi-Fi in our town centres.

4.12                But the Covid-19 pandemic has had, and will continue to have, profound implications for how residents, visitors and businesses use town centres. Hybrid working makes North Yorkshire an attractive location for a new range of residents and businesses, which brings ever increasing demands for connectivity and flexibility in both domestic and commercial settings. Our town centre offer must therefore adapt and keep pace, enhancing facilities in towns and urban centres which have not modernised as quickly as in other areas, leaving many of our historic towns without some of the amenities and facilities that support sustainable living.

4.13                Growth will predominantly occur in our urban centres and market towns, and on the brownfield development sites across North Yorkshire, generally closely aligned to our key transport corridors. However, all places have their role to play in supporting economic growth. The rural economy and farm enterprises are a huge part of North Yorkshire’s economy and sustain significant numbers of small and microbusinesses. This includes the North Yorkshire Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks, which offer significant potential for green growth, as well as being attractive places to work from home and do business. Our abundant natural capital provides opportunities to decarbonise our economy and support jobs and investment.

4.14                Coastal areas too have much to gain from accelerated growth and diversification. A proactive and considered approach to development in coastal towns can ensure appropriate uses of buildings for commercial, residential and community use, helping to support thriving town centres and year-round activity.    

Priority 1: Equipping our Towns for the 21st Century

4.15                Substantial work has been undertaken to understand and evidence the critical role North Yorkshire market towns, and our larger centres in Harrogate and Scarborough, play in driving growth. We also have a strong understanding of the challenges they face post-Covid, when digital connectivity is more important than ever, and both businesses and people demand high quality spaces, flexibility and sustainability. This is a unique opportunity for our smaller towns, who are seeing higher demand than ever for space which marries outstanding quality of life with the connectivity and space needed for hybrid working.

4.16                Now is the time to drive forward our ambitions and adapt our historic towns to make them exemplars for modern living, with the mix of homes to meet the needs of people at all stages of life, the features to support sustainable and healthy lives and the business environment to enable growth and investment. It is vital that our Local Plan reflects these changing dynamics and supports our towns in adapting to changing circumstances whilst protecting their unique character.


4.17                We will develop investment plans for our town centres (where these are not already in place) to enable them to thrive in the modern economy. Where such plans already exist, we will refresh and review these to ensure they remain fit for the future in line with the Local Plan. We will take a proactive approach in ensuring these plans come to fruition, working closely with developers and wider partners to address market failures and viability gaps.

4.18                Whilst the type and scale of interventions required will differ from place to place, these investment plans should seek to ensure towns are:

·          Enabling enterprise through digital infrastructure and highly connected business hubs which provide flexible space to enable collaboration and support growth. The Council will lead delivery of a network of such workspaces, working in partnership with the private sector, initially focused on Harrogate, Scarborough and the larger market towns. A proactive approach is required to ensure town centre premises meet business need and provide an appropriate mix of retail, leisure and commercial property – enabling changes in use type where appropriate. Schemes to deliver housing in town centres to meet a range of needs, including affordable homes, will be important as retail areas become more concentrated and new uses are needed to sustain town centre vitality;


·          Sustainable settlements with significantly enhanced active travel options (particularly in urban centres, larger market towns and strategic employment sites), public transport which connects residents to employment and education, and investment in infrastructure which improves climate resilience. We will improve cycling and walking routes to connect town centres with homes, jobs and services, whilst public transport hubs will be enhanced. We will support businesses and communities to build on existing circular economy strengths to drive sustainable growth in our towns. New measures will be sought to provide green and blue infrastructure that addresses flood risk and climate change whilst also providing new habitats and recreational spaces. Wherever possible, tree cover will be increased in towns and urban areas, with street trees and green spaces a feature of our places; and


·          Protecting heritage and promoting growth with targeted investments which regenerate and protect our towns’ cultural and heritage assets. Increase our resilience by ensuring the viability of our heritage, identifying appropriate uses for underused buildings and enhancing our public realm to attract a diverse range of visitors. We will accommodate a range of cultural, artistic and sporting events which reflect and enhance the character and individuality of each place, and provide focal points for residents and visitors. We will invest in town centre infrastructure from highways to digital and energy, aligned to our inclusive growth ambitions and recognising each town’s character and growth potential.

Figure 4‑1: Selby Station Gateway Programme

Selby Station Gateway Programme

Aerial view of a city  Description automatically generated with low confidenceThis programme, funded through West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transforming Cities Fund, aims to strengthen links between the station and the town centre and create brand new connections between the station and proposed new homes and business developments in the area. It will boost public transport use, build high quality infrastructure for people to travel by bike or on foot, and help reduce reliance on travel by car.


£17.5m has been allocated for the work plus a further £8m capital funding committed by the former Selby District Council. The project will deliver:

·         New access from the east side of the station

·         New station frontage and public space, with a direct walking and cycling route through Selby Park to the town centre.

·         A new walking and cycling route beneath Bawtry Road bridge.

·         Reconfiguration of the bus station, improved facilities and better links between bus and rail

·         Relocating parking to the east side of the station

·         Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure

·         Upgrading footpaths and cycle routes along Ousegate

The project is due to start on site in January 2024, with completion by the end of 2026.

Priority 2: Delivering Sites for Growth and Investment

4.19                North Yorkshire has a number of large, nationally significant development sites either ready for development or in the pipeline. These include key sites along the A1 corridor, with opportunities for development from Harrogate (Junction 47) through Hambleton (Dalton, Leeming Bar) and Richmondshire (Junctions 52 and 53). These sites alone provide over 100ha of land for uses including food & drink manufacturing, logistics and office space. A similar quantum of developable land is in the pipeline on former colliery and power station sites at Kellingley and Eggborough respectively, with other major development sites around Sherburn (Sherburn 42 and Gascoigne Interchange) offering further potential for growth.

4.20                Successfully developing these sites offers opportunities for local skills and employment in two phases. Firstly, in the build phase using local suppliers and people and via models such as Scarborough’s highly successful Construction Skills Village (see Pillar 3).  Secondly, in securing occupiers who generate highly skilled, good and productive jobs. Both will be critical to realising our ambitions for sustainable and inclusive growth.

4.21                A lack of suitable sites and premises is a common constraint on business growth. This ranges from a lack of start-up / incubation space, through mid-sized units looking for businesses to scale and grow and larger premises for major businesses and inward investors.

4.22                There is evidence of all these accommodation types being available and working well in parts of North Yorkshire, but there remain significant gaps in both rural and more developed areas. Existing available high-quality stock is limited and these issues stifle the growth ambitions of our local entrepreneurs. SMEs in particular face challenges in finding space locally that can accommodate their growth, often forcing them to relocate activity to neighbouring areas to realise their plans.

4.23                Addressing these issues is particularly pertinent right now, when construction costs and labour constraints are affecting the viability of many sites. The Council will play a key role in finding the solutions to these issues through the actions outlined below.


4.24                To attract investment and accelerate development we will:

·          Forge stronger, more collaborative relationships with developers to accelerate delivery of development sites. We will proactively explore available levers, financial instruments and delivery models to enable the development of sites with viability challenges, including exploring what additional levers may be available through devolution.

·          We will support regeneration efforts in appropriate locations across North Yorkshire but particularly in areas where there is greatest opportunity (such as the sites shown at Fig 4.2 below) or greatest need (see Fig 5.3 showing areas of deprivation);

·          We will use the opportunities presented by local government reorganisation to be more proactive and solutions-orientated in bringing forward key developments, from pre-application engagement to land acquisition and joint ventures. This will also include a multiagency approach to addressing key development challenges such as energy and digital infrastructure; and

·          Working in partnership with the new MCA via Invest in York & North Yorkshire and the increased profile an Elected Mayor will bring, we will take a more proactive and targeted approach to attracting investment, both for the development of our sites and for attracting occupants. We will work closely with the MCA’s trade & investment and sector development teams to ensure we are outward looking in our efforts to promote and target inward investment linked to our key growth sectors and emerging opportunities.

4.25                To address the lack of supply of premises so that we can grow, retain and attract business across their growth cycle, we will:

·          Undertake a business space demand study as part of a wider Economic Needs Assessment / Employment Land Review to provide a holistic view of North Yorkshire’s business premises, identifying gaps for start-ups and SMEs. This will include consideration of opportunities for proportionate and sympathetic activity in the National Parks;

·          Lead on the creation of a network of sites and facilities for small businesses to establish, innovate and grow, where this is not being delivered by the private sector, including potentially creating Rural Business Hubs if demand is there;

·          Work closely with developers to align development with identified business need and market sites strategically in line with growth opportunities and our principles; and

·          Actively promote North Yorkshire as a location for business investment and growth.

Figure 4‑2: Our Development Sites

Priority 3: Future Proofing Energy Infrastructure

4.26                Challenges in grid connectivity are currently viewed by business as a key barrier to growth and a threat to North Yorkshire realising its carbon negative ambitions. Nationally 40% of renewable energy projects face a wait of more than a year to connect to the grid. North Yorkshire businesses cannot wait that long. This is holding up site development and preventing renewable energy projects from getting off the ground.

4.27                Our strengths in energy generation and net zero mean we are both at the sharp end of the issue, and ideally placed to find solutions. Addressing this challenge will be critical to achieving our ambitions – both for accelerated economic growth through unlocking key sites, and for our transition to a carbon negative economy.


4.28                To find solutions to this challenge we will:

·          Adopt the collaborative approach to enabling development outlined above. We will play a proactive role in convening partners to find solutions to our energy infrastructure challenges linked to key development sites, and more broadly will work with partners to develop local area energy action plans; and

·          Building on work already underway through the LEP, we will come together with partners including the National Grid, Northern Powergrid, developers, business, and public sector institutions to resolve issues connecting our sites to the grid with a laser-focus on unlocking our most strategically important sites.

Theme 2: Transport & Digital Connectivity


4.29                Connectivity plays a critical role in driving economic growth, and that is undoubtedly true in North Yorkshire. Although commuting patterns have changed post-covid, if we are to build an inclusive and sustainable economy it remains vital for workers to be able to access jobs, learners to access education, and residents to access services. This means strong transport connections are as vital as ever.

4.30                Similarly, significant industries in North Yorkshire are highly reliant on efficient and integrated transport networks. This includes, for example, the energy sector where the role of rail in providing freight to Ferrybridge and Drax is key, and in tourism, where visitor destinations must be accessible via an integrated passenger transport offer. Workers also face challenges in reaching our business parks and out of town sites by public transport, where shift work and early/late commuting is prevalent.

4.31                In some places, there is excellent public transport provision, particularly in places such as Selby, Skipton, Harrogate and Scarborough, all of which have strong rail links to nearby towns and cities including York, Leeds and Bradford. There are also examples of high frequency bus services, such as the connection between Harrogate and Leeds, which provide examples of good practice which could be used to enhance connectivity elsewhere.

4.32                Both within North Yorkshire and beyond, we have strong North-South connections, by rail via the East Coast Mainline, and by road via the A1(M) which, as noted above, provides a strategic growth opportunity in its own right. The LEP’s Spatial Framework (2019) highlighted the A1 corridor as a Strategic Transport Corridor running North-South, as well as corridors up the coast from Hull and North West from Leeds.

Figure 4‑3: North Yorkshire Strategic Transport Corridors

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Source: York, North Yorkshire, East Riding and Hull Spatial Framework, Richard Wood Associates, 2019

4.33                The same study also highlighted East-West Strategic Transport Corridors, on the A59 from Skipton to York via Harrogate, and the A64 east of York to Scarborough, together with the M62 between Hull and Leeds.

4.34                However, East-West connectivity remains a barrier to growth in many places, with upgrades required to East-West road links, particularly the A59, A64 and A66, to enable our growth ambition. Whilst some improvements to these roads are planned, early delivery of elements such as the dualling of the A64 east of York are a priority and, although part of Highways England’s Road Investment Strategy, are yet to be delivered. Significant investment will also be needed in low carbon refuelling infrastructure to accommodate increased demand, as the end of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars approaches.

4.35                On rail, there are significant potential growth opportunities arising from the Transpennine Route Upgrade but it is imperative that North Yorkshire continues to make the case, along with its Northern partners, for high speed rail investment in the North via the full delivery of Northern Powerhouse Rail, the delivery of HS2 East north of the Midlands and broader electrification of rail routes.  

4.36                Access to opportunities for learning and employment remains a challenge in parts of North Yorkshire, where a lack of regular, reliable bus services outside of core hours makes commuting via public transport all but impossible. This issue is not exclusive to rural areas but is also evident in some more developed places including Scarborough. This can inhibit aspiration and ambition, and therefore long-term economic prospects in these communities. Similarly, the lack of early/late bus provision prevents people from accessing shift-based employment, as well as the evening and night time leisure offer.

4.37                Improving the frequency and reliability of public transport is a vital component of our carbon negative ambitions. A recent pilot of demand-responsive travel in North Yorkshire has highlighted the potential for this and other innovations in future transport provision. Increasing active travel is a priority which as well as providing health benefits can also help to ease congestion in towns such as Harrogate and Scarborough.

4.38                Whilst this Strategy is not the primary vehicle for addressing all of these connectivity issues, it is vital to emphasise that accelerated economic growth and the transition to carbon negative cannot be achieved without complementary investment in strategic transport initiatives which align to the identified sectoral and spatial opportunities, and enhancement of public transport hubs. We must align our economic, land use and infrastructure planning strategies to unlock and achieve our sustainable growth ambitions. Our Economic Growth Strategy will be a material consideration for our forthcoming Local Plan, Local Transport Plan (LTP5), refreshed Strategic Transport Prospectus and as the new MCA develops its Key Route Network. Future planning policy should act alongside regeneration efforts to support 20-minute neighbourhoods in towns and service hubs in rural areas.

4.39                Digital connectivity will also play a vital role in building an inclusive economy, connecting people to jobs and opportunities for learning and leisure. Whilst significant progress has been made on digital infrastructure in many parts of the County, there remain areas with little or no broadband or cellular internet coverage. Significant investment in Wi-Fi in town centres has provided strong connectivity in these places, and there are further opportunities to leverage this for business growth and service provision.

Priority 1: Ensure alignment of economic growth ambitions with connectivity plans

4.40                In order for the economic growth ambitions set out in this Strategy to be realised, there must be strong complementary investment in transport and digital connectivity. Investments required on specific routes and corridors are outlined above, but future plans for strategic investment in transport (including transport hubs) and digital connectivity should explicitly consider how they support accelerated growth, increased economic participation, and the carbon negative transition. This includes enhancing the public transport offer to increase access to learning and employment opportunities, particularly for those communities which are currently underserved.

4.41                Similarly, major improvements to key transport infrastructure such as the Transpennine Route Upgrade, Northern Powerhouse Rail and major road schemes have the potential to have a catalytic impact on North Yorkshire’s economy in the coming years. Maximising the benefits of these plans should be a priority when shaping local economic growth interventions.

Priority 2: Future-proofing the transport system

4.42                The push towards more sustainable travel across all modes will have profound implications for all places, but this is particularly true in North Yorkshire where private car use is relatively high. Significant investment in Electric Vehicle infrastructure is planned, with 3,500 charging points in the pipeline in North Yorkshire. Ensuring that this rollout, and associated investment in the energy grid, can keep pace with demand is vital to delivering growth and carbon reduction targets.

4.43                Alongside this, Local Government Reorganisation and forthcoming devolution provide opportunities to explore a new approach to public transport, which could include expanded provision of demand responsive transport. This is essential if workers and learners are to use public transport to access opportunities, particularly from rural areas. In line with the sustainable transport hierarchy, digital connectivity, public transport and active travel should be key considerations in bringing forward new sites for employment and housing to ensure people and places are sustainably connected to learning and employment opportunities. The Council will also work with providers and Network Rail to make our stations appealing and suitable for passenger needs.

Priority 3: Remaining a pioneer in digital connectivity

4.44                North Yorkshire has led the way in digital connectivity among areas with similar mixes of urban and rural places. Through NYnet, the Council-owned fibre network provider, North Yorkshire has provided public Wi-Fi in 20 of its town centres. This is providing opportunities for innovation in delivering public services and new growth opportunities for business. It is important to continue to drive forward investment in digital connectivity, including a push towards full fibre in all towns, and providing connectivity to all properties, including those in deeply rural areas. These investments will be vital in ensuring North Yorkshire’s towns and communities can participate fully in the post-covid economy and should be considered as part of our forthcoming Local Plan and Town Centre Investment Plans.

Theme 3: Housing Supply & Affordability


4.45                Our economy faces challenges around labour supply, with an ageing workforce and difficulties attracting and retaining younger people. Ensuring access to an appropriate mix of affordable, high quality housing is crucial to attracting new residents of all ages to North Yorkshire, and ensuring that those raised here are able to continue to live and/or work in their local communities. There is a vital relationship between provision of appropriate housing across our area and the economic success of North Yorkshire, our businesses and essential service providers.

4.46                Housing affordability is a key challenge for North Yorkshire. Average house prices exceeded ten times workplace earnings in Harrogate in 2020, and exceeded eight times earnings in large areas of North Yorkshire. Only Selby and Scarborough had affordability ratios below that of the national average. The picture is similar when looking at private rented properties, with rents in Harrogate almost 50% higher than in Scarborough. These challenges are particularly acute at present, as interest rates increases contribute to the rising cost of living which poses difficulties for many households.

4.47                Housing also forms an important element of our drive towards becoming a carbon negative economy. More than a quarter (29%) of our emissions come from domestic sources, and 15% of households live in fuel poverty, increasing to almost 19% in Scarborough. Addressing these issues will require significant investment in housing retrofit which presents a major economic opportunity, alongside ensuring that new developments meet the highest standards of efficiency and sustainability.

4.48                The changes in commuting patterns and increased home working seen during and post-covid present an opportunity for North Yorkshire to capitalise on its high quality of life offer and strong transport links to major cities such as Leeds and York. This has the potential to attract a broader range of businesses and residents, including younger people and families for whom a high degree of home working is now the norm. It is important our housing offer is an enabler, not a barrier, to this, with new builds providing full fibre digital connectivity and space at home to both live and work. This offer should also integrate with town centre proposals outlined above, through increased town centre housing provision alongside space for remote workers to co-locate and collaborate.

4.49                The new Local Plan for North Yorkshire Council, as well as close collaboration with partners such as Homes England, will be key delivery routes for the above ambitions. However, the Local Plan will take some time to develop, and the Council must act quickly to address these issues.

Priority 1: Enable availability of an appropriate mix of housing tenure and stock to attract and retain people of all ages

4.50                The new North Yorkshire Housing Strategy, currently in development, should consider the issues raised above and ensure that new homes provide opportunities for those of all ages and demographics to live in North Yorkshire. We recognise the need for additional housing in North Yorkshire, with a diverse mix of housing types including affordable and social housing alongside wider housing development vital to building an inclusive economy. To help address this, the Council can use its own land, including windfall sites, to bring forward additional affordable and social housing.

4.51                There are also significant challenges across North Yorkshire, but particularly in the National Parks, with high levels of second homes and holiday lets which limit the number of homes available for people aiming to live and work here permanently. We will work to ensure an appropriate balance between homes for permanent residential use and holiday accommodation.

4.52                In delivering a mix of property types and tenures, we must increase the overall supply of housing to attract and retain residents at all life stages, but particularly young people for whom accessing suitable housing that they can afford is a major challenge, and key workers who play a crucial role in essential service sectors.

4.53                Other cohorts for whom access to appropriate housing presents challenges in North Yorkshire include those with additional support needs and accessibility requirements – particularly in rural areas where such stock is hard to come by – and older people.

4.54                New housing supply should link to wider objectives for well-connected places:

·          physically through enhanced transport infrastructure and public transport options, as well as more housing provision in town centres;

·          sustainably through an increased focus on active travel modes; and

·          digitally through equipping homes with the best possible digital connectivity and spaces that enable home working.

4.55                We expect all new homes to meet excellent design standards – both environmentally, and in terms of design standards that are sympathetic to their location. Through this, we can increase the supply of high-quality housing, attracting more workers that businesses tell us they need in all sectors of the economy. In order to achieve this, and as the York & North Yorkshire Housing Prospectus notes, we will need to significantly increase levels of green construction skills and continue to develop supply chains in the green construction sector.

Priority 2: Identify economic opportunities from housing decarbonisation

4.56                North Yorkshire’s carbon negative ambitions, combined with high energy costs and elevated levels of fuel poverty mean that urgent work is needed to decarbonise housing. This should be a consideration for all new developments. The decarbonisation of existing properties is covered in more detail in the Housing Strategy, and has the potential to bring significant economic benefits. If needed, further analysis should be carried out to identify specific opportunities for investments in this space, demonstrating the environmental and economic benefits that activities such as retrofitting housing stock could bring, and identifying the skills and supplies needed to rapidly increase activity in this space.

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Driving Growth across all our Distinctive Places


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Market towns will see specific investment plans developed where they don’t exist already, building on the good practice of places such as Northallerton, Selby and Whitby. These will be unique to each town, to reflect their specific needs and opportunities and ensure they remain thriving places to live, visit and do business in the 21st century. A proactive, collaborative approach to accelerating development increases supply of premises in and out of towns whilst Increased connectivity (digital and physical) can drive growth.

As above, but with enhanced focus on ensuring that public transport and active travel infrastructure helps to reduce congestion, enhance liveability and attract investment. Major investments in connectivity increase employment opportunities for residents and in-commuters alike.

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Enhanced physical and public transport connectivity ensures the viability of the visitor economy, whilst digital connectivity enables rural businesses to thrive in diverse industries. Identification of appropriate and sympathetic opportunities for development of business premises enables local businesses to remain local whilst scaling.

Similar to rural areas, the visitor economy is supported by stronger connectivity. Enhanced digital connectivity provides opportunities for diversification and personalisation of services. Coastal areas with higher levels of deprivation are better connected to employment and learning opportunities.

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5               Pillar 3: People


5.1                   North Yorkshire offers people of all ages so much. People do well in our great schools, are inspired to start and run their own businesses, and enjoy an exceptional quality of life across our towns, rural and coastal areas. Opportunities to work in good jobs – be that in our world leading businesses, vibrant public sector or dynamic SME base – are plentiful, including in new, exciting and globally relevant fields such as agri-tech and green energy.

5.2                   This pillar is about unlocking our people power to drive the growing, innovative, carbon negative economy we aspire to create for the benefit of all our communities. It focuses on interventions that will attract more young people and keep older talent in the workforce for longer and that will future-proof their skills. It seeks to generate business appetite for, application of and access to increasing levels of skills, and aims to open up opportunities and progression for more people, especially those who are disconnected from the labour market. It recognises the benefits that can be realised by addressing economic and health goals together, including through good jobs that support physical and mental health.

5.3                   To do this, we will take forward action within the following themes:

Widening the workforce to meet business need

Skills provision, pathways and brokerage

Inclusion, health and employability

5.4                   Our approach aligns with the existing Skills Strategy for York & North Yorkshire 2021-26 and its focus on addressing local skills challenges and raising productivity, earnings, and performance. It also recognises the intensive work to develop North Yorkshire’s Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP), led by the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce. This aims to better align post-16 technical education and training to local labour market needs to support economic growth, boost productivity, and improve employability and progression for learners.

5.5                   Both have been developed in close collaboration with business and stakeholders and underpinned by detailed labour market analysis. As such, this Strategy does not seek to rehearse or duplicate either, instead spotting opportunities for additional, complementary action. There are strong interlinkages with the other pillars in this Strategy including supporting businesses to start, survive and thrive (Pillar 1) and tackling infrastructure issues impeding people’s access to learning or work (Pillar 2).

5.6                   Assets and opportunities that can support our skilled and prosperous communities include:

Universities in York, Hull, Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Teesside and beyond

High levels of skills and strong educational attainment

Coventry University campus in Scarborough and University of Sunderland in Northallerton

Dynamic business base with opportunities for quality, high skilled, well-paid work

A strong FE sector spread across the geography

Well-established Business Education Partnership connecting business & young people

Institute of Technology Yorkshire and Humber (based in York but with local membership)

Distinctive, attractive places to live and work with place-based, social and cultural assets.

Theme 1: Widening the Workforce to Meet Business Need



5.7                   Our businesses are clear that recruiting and retaining talent is a fundamental issue, impacting on their long-term survival, competitiveness and growth ambitions. This spans accessing and attracting a young, ready and diverse pipeline of new workers; as well as retaining older workers for longer, with the accumulated skills, experience and knowledge they hold. This is especially true for businesses located in more rural areas of North Yorkshire, where additional connectivity barriers exist. It is also a cross-sectoral issue – spanning our well-established sectors such as engineering and agriculture, as well as those that are emerging like cyber and green energy, and those that provide essential services such as health and social care.

5.8                   The evidence highlights:

·          Apprenticeship starts have fallen, mirroring the national trend, from a high of 8,500 in 2016/17 to just over 6,000 in 2020/21. The drop in apprenticeship achievements has been steeper, falling from 5,500 to under 3,000 over the same period;

·          Our young people tend to go further afield to study. Only 31% of people going to university in 2020/21 did so in Yorkshire & Humber, lower than in other parts of the North;

·          Declining population in all under 40 age groups between 2021-31, whilst the number in all 60+ age groups will rise. This highlights the need to attract and retain more young people including by offering them strong prospects for building their lives and careers here;

·          Our workforce is ageing at pace, with a 16% increase in workers aged 50+ in the past decade, compared to 1% overall. Workers aged 50+ now comprise 42% of the workforce versus 34% nationally. Yet, a quarter of our economically inactive population are early retirees – almost double the proportion seen in the rest of Yorkshire and indeed the UK;

·          Despite having a relatively highly skilled population, many residents remain in low skilled, work and often lack the transferable employability skills that employers demand. This contributes to 1 in 5 jobs in North Yorkshire paying below the Real Living Wage; and,

·          Skills shortage vacancies endure, notably but not exclusively at technical levels. This is true in health and social care, engineering, manufacturing, and agriculture, as well as in digital technology and across jobs relevant to the green economy.

Priority 1: Attract and enable more young people to take up local employment opportunities

5.9                   This objective focuses on growing and future-proofing the rich and diverse pipeline of talented young people that businesses need to survive, thrive and grow; and on equipping them with the skills, experiences, aspirations and attitudes they need to successfully transition into the world of work. It goes hand in hand with a resolute focus in Pillar 1 on generating high-quality, well paid jobs in our economy that offer scope for progression; and backed by commitment in Pillar 2 to improve housing and transport provision so that young people are not excluded from living and working where they grew up and can easily move around the geography to access learning. It is fundamental to our principles for an inclusive and resilient economy.


5.10                Action will include:

·          Make it easier for businesses to find, take on and administer apprentices and T Levels, including through shared or flexible approaches and courses designed to fit their needs;

·          Making the case for technical education and ‘learning and earning’ to young people, their teachers and parents/carers, backed by support to connect them to progressive employers and to opportunities in the local economy;

·          Brokering more businesses to connect with young people and the education system, using sector and place networks to bring the two together, and with practical components including work experience, mentoring and enterprise education that can boost employability and work readiness, transferable skills, and aspirations;

·          Aligning Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance provision to proactively promote awareness of and connection to opportunities locally, including in our growth sectors;

·          Connecting businesses to academia to unlock opportunities for students seeking industry placement, graduate employment and knowledge transfer partnerships (linked to Pillar 1);

·          Working with partners to support young people in overcoming barriers to learning and/or work, including with health and community partners in respect to mental health; and

·          Continued support for ‘wheels to learn/work’ transport interventions.

Priority 2: Attract and retain the talents of older workers

5.11                Businesses, especially smaller ones, are significantly impacted by an inability to recruit and the loss of experienced staff. Furthermore, finding new staff can be difficult, expensive and time consuming. As our workforces ages, there is a real opportunity – and imperative – to act. Businesses who are prepared to take a fresh look at their employment practices can create a win-win-win scenario – retaining talent, providing new work-life balance for older staff, and effectively succession planning and ‘handing down’ knowledge to newer team members.


5.12                Action will include:

·          Gaining maximum local benefit from DWP programmes including expansion of mid-life MOTs to support over-50s to get back to work, boost their earnings, access lifelong learning provision, and get personalised guidance from work coaches;

·          Promotion of and support to businesses looking to adopt flexible working practices or adjustments to employment patterns that allow workers to ‘semi’ retire whilst retaining them to carry out work and to mentor younger or new recruits;

·          Promotion of other age-friendly employment practices including paid carers leave, reasonable adjustments to the workplace, and support for retirement planning; and

·          Continuing to support armed service leavers into civilian roles through effective career guidance in line with our commitment to the Armed Forces Covenent. Connecting into Catterick Garrison’s potential workforce through the work of the Adult Learning and Skills Service and the ‘Spouse Force’ initiative.

5.13                Action to widen the workforce will support the principles of an inclusive, productive and resilient economy.  It will make the most of all our people, including those who may traditionally have felt excluded such as ex-offenders or neuro-diverse people. It will harness their latent potential and link them to long term business and career opportunities. It can also include drawing on the population at Catterick Garrison and linking it to workforce needs in the wider catchment. Action focused on recruiting/retaining young people and those in older age brackets are relevant across the County given an ageing demographic, especially in the more deeply rural places where this is most pronounced. Spouse Force is a good example, drawing on the population within Catterick Garrison and linking it to workforce needs in a wider catchment (e.g. in Richmondshire).

Figure 5‑1: Spouse Force

Spouse Force

Spouse Force is a not for profit organization, operating within the Catterick and Richmondshire area established in May 2022. Dedicated to supporting military spouses, partners and other halves, Spouse Force helps with access to education, training, development and work opportunities within the area. They provide a safe and inclusive space for their customers enabling community and peer support, supporting participants to build confidence and maintain training or work commitments.


It stemmed from the founder Sarah Cooper’s own experience and challenges faced as a military spouse. Sarah was helped to overcome her challenges and found friendship and community whilst posted in Germany. Support and help with her children during this time enabled Sarah to accept a position which ultimately led to her co-owning a business in the Financial Sector. Recognising that the support and friendship offered at this time was key to this achievement, Sarah was determined to use her experience and knowledge to help to provide those same opportunities to other spouses.


Spouse Force was the result and  now has over 160 people registered and being supported. A large part of the programme’s success is striving to provide what the military spouses community most needs, so their customers are actively invited to help make those decisions. 


Whilst still a relatively new organization success stories are plentiful:


Registered with a desire to become a Teaching Assistant

Through Spouse Force support and connections, one customer enrolled on a teaching assistant level 2 course and was helped to access work experience with a local school, all whilst working part time and looking after her family. She is due to gain her qualification in August 2023 and begin work as a TA in September.


Registered for assistance with CV

Spouse Force was able to find another customer a part time job within an outdoor nursery, enabling her to earn some of her own income, whilst continuing her Open University degree and volunteering with other organizations in the area to boost her social interaction.


Two of the organisation’s own volunteers also began as Spouse Force customers having sought guidance with returning to work after having children. Both are very valued community engagement team members, helping other spouses and organizing events. With Spouse Force support, one has retrained and is now successfully self-employed.

Theme 2: Skills provision, pathways and brokerage


5.14                Connecting business to the design of post-16 and technical education is key to a skills system that is fit for purpose and meets employer needs. This principle sits at the heart of the new York & North Yorkshire LSIP, to which this Strategy is aligned. We want more people to continue their learning, often into higher education where appropriate, to gain qualifications and transferable skills which support progression into careers and economic prosperity. That includes supporting educational aspirations, outcomes and social mobility in communities where this transition is less commonplace. Whether they study close to home or further afield, and whatever academic route they chose – be that degree or technical/vocational – we want students to know that they can return and secure employment here that matches their skill level and career aspirations.

Priority 1: Delivery of North Yorkshire’s LSIP

5.15                North Yorkshire’s LSIP will provide the framework for ensuring FE (and wider) provision meets business needs. Delivery of the LSIP will support our ambitions for addressing the pressing skills gaps in businesses and supporting skilled and prosperous communities. We will focus on supporting delivery of the LSIP and its actionable priorities as they emerge. This includes developing a Local Skills Action Plan for North Yorkshire which will set out key actions required by the Council and Partners to implement the LSIP across all skill levels.

5.16                There will be integral links between this and action plans for employability and inclusion described below. We will work to maintain alignment between this Strategy’s sectoral priorities and those in the LSIP, which include agri-skills; engineering and advanced manufacturing; digital and technology; construction; health and social care; and the visitor economy. The LSIP’s focus on the cross-cutting themes of low carbon, innovation, green skills, emerging technologies and rurality also fit well with the principles underpinning this Strategy.

Priority 2: Widen access and connection to higher education

5.17                We will support initiatives that seek to expand the number of students achieving higher level qualifications in North Yorkshire linked to business needs. This will increase the number retained locally and help to meet skills shortfalls and improve the region’s profile and attractiveness to investors. There are several key opportunities to do this. 

·          Firstly, we will support and accelerate any ambitions for Coventry University’s presence in Scarborough to become a more standalone University of Scarborough over time;

·          Secondly, we will also support wider expansion of higher education provision, whether that be through campus-style university provision or through expansion of HE level provision in FE colleges; and

·          Thirdly, we will maximise the key role that the University of York plays in North Yorkshire, including in respect to its world leading expertise on bio-tech, and the close proximity of multiple other Universities in neighbouring areas. 

5.18                Across all of these, we will consider how to widen participation and routes into HE for less advantaged communities to support social mobility.

Figure 5‑2: CU Scarborough

CU Scarborough

A picture containing outdoor, sky, text, grass  Description automatically generatedCU Scarborough is part of the Coventry University Group and is situated on a £50m sport and education complex in Scarborough.

CU Scarborough works closely with the Local Authority on several innovative opportunities, including projects such as the Scarborough FabLab+ and Scarborough Fair projects, and have also collaborated with the Council, Anglo American, Plexal Cyber, GCHQ Scarborough, and Coventry University’s Enterprise and Innovation team to establish the North Yorkshire Cyber Security Network (NYCSN) pilot project. This project was developed together with a range of local stakeholders, with the ambition to:

  • Make North Yorkshire a safe and secure place to live and work, by raising awareness of online harms and cyber best practice
  • Create a resilient, circular economy for up-skilling small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in digital skills and cyber security
  • Make Scarborough a centre of excellence for Operational Technology security


The Network is focused on delivering several interventions to citizens, SMEs, Industry, Research and Government, including cyber security awareness sessions, a citizen science challenge, taking the nationally recognised Cyber First programme to local schools and working with industry to provide work placements and solve operational technology challenges.

The collaboration and project outcomes have been extremely positive and we are now planning to roll-out delivery across North Yorkshire.CU Scarborough is working with the Security Awareness Special Interest Group (SASIG) and the NYCSN to deliver the Cyber-by-the-Sea event in July 2023.


CU Scarborough deliver Cyber Security and Computing Science and will deliver the new Department for Education funded Higher Technical Qualification (Cyber Security Technician) in September 2024.

Priority 3: Skills brokerage to connect employers to skills support and employees

5.19                We will demystify the skills for business offer, using an impartial brokerage service to engage with businesses to ensure the message on what provision and funding is available is clear, consistent and well communicated. Supporting LSIP delivery, we will help businesses to identify what they need and where to get it in order to drive up access and application of skills. This will also provide an important feedback loop for the business voice to be heard in the design and development of skills and wider business support interventions. This will involve close joint working with City of York, the LEP/MCA to provide a more joined up offer and ‘one front door’ for business support including on skills.

Theme 3: Inclusion, Health and Employability


5.20                We want to provide all our residents with the opportunity to engage in and benefit from our growing economy, including health and wellbeing benefits derived from increased household incomes and from participation in the workforce. This means a focused effort on tackling enduring pockets of deprivation and sometimes hidden poverty, and supporting people to overcome barriers that hold them back from moving into employment or progressing in work, including from low paid or insecure work into more skilled, secure and higher value roles.

5.21                We will do this through an integrated and place-based approach that taps into funding opportunities, our excellent networks of third sector partners, and businesses who are looking both to attract recruits and to make a social contribution. There are considerable win-win opportunities to support health and economic outcomes together, and North Yorkshire will capitalise on these through a joined-up approach and taking action at local and county level.

Figure 5‑3: Indices of Multiple Deprivation, 2019

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Source: Office for National Statistics via Harrogate Borough Council

Priority 1: Develop an employability skills and inclusion action plan

5.22                Whilst the LSIP will provide North Yorkshire with a vehicle for connecting skills provision (e.g. by FE colleges) to employer needs and will be delivered through an associated action plan as described above, there is a need to upskill those further from the labour market and help them move into employment. This is important in order to expand the workforce (given high job vacancies), to regenerate deprived areas, and to bring social and health benefits.

5.23                Reflecting this, and building on the York and North Yorkshire Adult Learning and Skills Engagement Strategy, we will develop an Employability and Inclusion Action Plan setting out how we will connect individuals and communities to economic opportunity, through developing skills and employability and tackling barriers to work, including digital exclusion.

5.24                The approach will include addressing barriers such as around confidence, physical and mental health and transport. It will focus on local opportunities where needs are greatest, including through community led economic development and building on successful models such the Construction Skills Training Village in Scarborough and applying this to major employment and housing site development (see Pillar 2). The first step will be to identify who leads on developing the plan, its connections to LSIP, and having clear lead roles and resources to take action forward.

Priority 2: Build and utilise connections between health and the economy

5.25                Our joined-up approach will ensure that North Yorkshire’s Economic Growth Strategy and its forthcoming Health and Wellbeing Strategy support one another and realise the benefits that come from addressing economic, environmental, health and wellbeing goals together. For example, good health enables more people to access work and to be more productive in work, whilst being in a good quality job supports health and wellbeing. To take this approach forward, we will identify mechanisms for those working on health and economic agendas to collaborate, and pinpoint ways in which both agendas can be progressed together. This will include:

·          Establishing place-based networks that bring partners, communities and systems together with a view to aligning health, economy, social and environmental interventions;

·          Working with businesses to establish ‘healthy’ workplaces across mental and physical health;

·          Improving access to mental health support, given its impact on individual wellbeing and on economic inactivity;

·          Helping more people who are economically inactive, unemployed or in poor quality and low paid jobs into good jobs in health and social care (and the wider foundational economy) that offer progression opportunities;

·          Economic opportunities from growth in the health and social care sectors;

·          The role of high quality, affordable low carbon housing in meeting the economic need for more workers, and in contributing to health, poverty reduction and net zero goals;

·          Opportunities for purchasing more local and healthy food linked to North Yorkshire’s Agri-food-green energy cluster and North Yorkshire’s emerging Food Security Strategy; and

·          Incorporating green and blue infrastructure, new public spaces and active travel into developments and place-making, given that both have significant health and wellbeing benefits, with a focus in the new Local Plan on 20-minute neighbourhoods and creating clusters of services in our rural areas.







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Driving Growth across all our Distinctive Places

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These towns are homes to a significant volume of our population and our businesses. This pillar will better connect the two, bolstering them as sustainable hubs for people to live, work and thrive and to build fulfilling careers.

As well as the benefits above, urban centres will have additional pivotal roles in the provision of high skill opportunities, linked to HE expertise and presence of clusters e.g. of cyber in Scarborough, and pharma in Harrogate.

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Our rural areas and national parks offer outstanding quality of life but can present people who live there with barriers to accessing good work and learning opportunities. Similarly, businesses operating there can struggle to attract the skilled labour they need. The focus in this pillar will be to help unlock this blockage. Action plans on LSIP, employability and inclusion will support and provide a holistic approach that helps tackle rural isolation and poverty and raise aspirations.

Coastal communities are home to some of our enduring pockets of poverty. The focus of this pillar on connecting more people to learning and economic opportunity will be key to our ambitions for inclusive growth, with important knock on impacts on tackling health inequalities. Scarborough in addition will benefit from the further development of its further education offer and ambitions linked to university presence and the Construction Skills Village. Whitby Town Deal has exciting plans for a Maritime Heritage Training Centre.

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6               Making it Happen

Strategic Alignment

6.1                   The Economic Growth Strategy comes at a time of huge change and opportunity for North Yorkshire. As the new North Yorkshire Council is established, this Strategy represents a once in a generation chance for a fresh approach to achieve ambitious economic growth. This requires the Council to take a leading role, working in collaboration with businesses, developers and other organisations to deliver good growth and regeneration.

6.2                   However, we are clear that this can’t be achieved in isolation. This is one of a number of strategies which are critical to setting the new council on the right path, and it is imperative that these strategies understand the complementary roles they play in helping North Yorkshire realise its potential. Equally, we recognise and embrace the need to collaborate with neighbouring areas such as York and the Leeds City Region.

6.3                   Many of these strategies will be developed, like this one, within North Yorkshire Council. This strategy makes clear the fundamental role that plans and strategies such as the new Local Plan, Local Transport Plan, Housing Strategy, Climate Change Strategy and others will play in successfully realising our growth ambitions. We will work closely across the Council with those developing these plans and strategies to ensure they recognise these interdependencies and align to deliver the best possible outcomes for businesses, communities and places.

6.4                   North Yorkshire and York’s Devolution Deal represents a step change in our collective growth ambitions for our area and will unlock new powers and funding streams which can help deliver this Strategy. As such, this Strategy should act as a touchstone for our relationship with the new Mayor and Combined Authority and will guide our work with the MCA, building on our already close collaboration with York and North Yorkshire LEP.

6.5                   This council will develop a strong pipeline of projects in line with this Strategy. We will also develop closer collaborative working with the City of York Council to ensure our economic ambitions, delivery pathways and offer to businesses and potential investors is more joined up. We will continue working closely with the LEP/MCA to present a single voice for York and North Yorkshire on key economic issues and priorities and a ‘single front door’ for business.

6.6                   But the Council and MCA are only a small part of the story. To ensure this strategy is successful, we will work closely with our business and developer community, our Area Committees, Community Networks and other partners such as the National Parks and government agencies such as Homes England, Arts Council and Highways England, to grow the economy.

Figure 6‑1: Strategic Alignment


Delivery, place-making and engagement

6.7                   As noted at the outset, this Strategy is purposefully high level and sets a direction of travel and key objectives. Detailed action planning will begin immediately to move the Strategy into delivery. This will include detail on what will be delivered, where, by who and when, and the outcomes that will follow.

6.8                   North Yorkshire is both one place and many places. We have a shared, coherent identity that people feel part of and proud of. But we are also incredibly diverse, with different types and scales of settlements, inland and coastal communities and varied topography. This range of places creates a vibrant economy with a wide range of investment opportunities. Given the large area North Yorkshire covers and our onus on distinctive places and engaging with communities, it will be important for place-based Local Economic Action Plans and regeneration strategies to be developed showing how activity aligns at local level.

6.9                   The detail, ambit and geographic coverage of these action plans will be determined by North Yorkshire Council, working closely through Area Committees, community partnerships / networks and with Parish and Town Councils and other community groups. This will operate in accordance with principles of double devolution and the Locality operating model of the new council which aims to be the largest and the most local council in England. As with other interventions in this Strategy, they will continue to be shaped and informed by an open and collaborative relationship with businesses, sector/industry groups and representative bodies, as well as communities and wider stakeholders.

6.10                Whatever their specific form, the key role action plans will play is in providing an action focused juncture where the roll out of the priorities of this strategy across North Yorkshire meets a bottom-up, holistic process that looks at what this means in specific places and the best opportunities to take them forward. There is already lots of great work in place between the Council and communities including strategies, action plans and blueprints and this work will also inform the priorities of place-based Local Economic Action Plans.

6.11                This should fit with having a long-term vision about the role and future of our specific places – whether urban centres and market towns or wider areas – and how economic development and place-making can combine to make them thriving places for business, and great places to live, work in and visit well into the future. Having clarity on this vision and objectives will provide a framework for local activity in relation to actions such as the Town Centre Investment Plans outlined in Pillar 2, and wherever the proposals in this Strategy have a distinctly placed-based element. This should ensure activity reflects local circumstances whilst also remaining coherent and aligned with this Strategy’s overarching objectives.

6.12                The place-based Local Economic Action Plans may also provide the economic and physical regeneration aspect of wider Community Action Plans prepared by Community Partnerships with support from the Council’s Localities Team, which also pick up wider social regeneration, climate change and health and wellbeing objectives. They will typically cover the key urban areas/market towns and their hinterlands. To implement economic and regeneration projects and increase investment in North Yorkshire, the Council will need to work up a strong pipeline of projects that can form funding bids for devolution and national funding opportunities.

6.13                The below table outlines a proposed suite of documents that will be required to move this strategy towards delivery.

Figure 6‑2 – Action Plans Required for Delivery



Cluster Development Action Plans

Agri-Food-Green Energy Cluster

Localised Clusters as appropriate

Destination Management Plan

North Yorkshire

Departmental Action Plan(s)

Overarching and cross-cutting activity to support day to day activity on business support and innovation, including Key Account Management

Town Centre Investment Plans

Urban centres and major market towns

Local Area Energy Action Plans

Specific locations based on local need, linked to Climate Change Strategy

Trade & Investment Action Plan

North Yorkshire wide, in partnership with LEP/MCA focused on attracting investment and driving development

Business Space Demand Study / Employment Land Review

North Yorkshire wide, linked to Local Plan

Local Skills Action Plan

North Yorkshire, linked to implementation of LSIP

Employability Skills & Inclusion Action Plan

North Yorkshire, linked to Adult Learning and Skills Engagement Strategy

Business Engagement Plan

North Yorkshire wide, or linked to Local Economic Action Plans below to ensure the business voice is reflected in policy making.

Local Economic Action Plans

Locally-led, linked to Area Committee structures. Designed to enable local areas to identify local priorities linked to this Strategy.

6.14                As noted above, the development of this Strategy has aligned with other key North Yorkshire (or wider) strategies and plans that can help to deliver its goals, for example covering enabling themes such as transport, housing, skills, climate change, tourism, and culture. We will continue to influence, deliver and support these as this Economic Growth Strategy is delivered, and as plans and strategies in those policy areas continue to evolve.

6.15                Likewise, we will continue to look outward and make good links to neighbouring areas and pan-regional partners across the North, identifying areas where our collective strengths and assets create opportunities which are greater than the sum of their parts. We will make sure that these partners and those in national government – particularly the Departments for Energy Security and Net Zero; Business and Trade; Levelling Up, Housing and Communities; Transport; and Culture, Media and Sport – understand the strength of our offer and our ambition to ensure we contribute fully to our collective future economic success.

Partnership & Governance

6.16                The priorities identified in this Strategy have been developed through intensive analysis of the evidence and extensive engagement from key partners and stakeholders. We will share this evidence with partners, using it to develop business cases and make the case for more investment into North Yorkshire to the government and the MCA/Mayor.

6.17                To build on this foundation, we will continue to work collaboratively across the Council and with partners to develop these actions further. This development process will be guided by logic model principles and will include:

·          refining objectives and rationale;

·          defining required inputs, activities and resource requirements;

·          identifying leadership and delivery roles and responsibilities;

·          identifying interdependence and risk; and

·          assessing outputs, outcomes, and impacts.

6.18                Some activities will require additional investment and funding streams to be identified but, as noted above, partnerships will be key to the Strategy’s successful delivery. This document sets the ambition for growth in North Yorkshire and many of the actions required to achieve that require us to work consistently and collectively across North Yorkshire. But it is vital that places and communities are able to shape what this means in practice for their places and we outline above how this will happen.

6.19                It is also vital to ensure businesses have a say in shaping the interventions that affect them. This applies across the whole of North Yorkshire, from sole traders to large employers. We will explore mechanisms to ensure we have appropriate channels such as Business Forums to engage businesses, remaining mindful to avoid duplicating activities of the LEP and MCA.

6.20                Beyond North Yorkshire, this document will act as a touchstone for the new MCA, as well as central government and our regional and pan-regional partners. It will act as a catalyst for North Yorkshire’s involvement in new partnerships which enable us to fully realise our ambitions for a higher growth, carbon negative economy.

Performance Monitoring

How will we measure our success?

6.21                Through the development of this strategy, we are clear on the issues we must address and the opportunities we must seize to deliver higher growth which benefits our people and places. Below are the indicators against which we will benchmark our success.

Table 6‑1: Our Indicators



Latest Data


Enterprise, Innovation & Investment

Nominal GDP

ONS Regional GDP



GVA Per Hour Worked

ONS Subregional Productivity



GVA Per Filled Job

ONS Subregional Productivity



Business Counts

ONS UK Business Counts



Growth in business / employment counts in key sectors

ONS UK Business Counts / BRES



Business Birth Rate

ONS Business Demography



Business 3 Year Survival Rate

ONS Business Demography



Quality Infrastructure & Connectivity

Town Centre Occupancy Rates

Commercial Data



Inward Investment Earnings

ONS Subnational FDI data



Renewable Energy Capacity




CO2 emissions from Transport, Domestic and Industry/Commercial




Skilled & Prosperous Communities

Total Employee Jobs




Employment Rate (16-64)

ONS Annual Population Survey



Economic Inactivity Rate (16-64)

ONS Annual Population Survey



Claimant Count Rate




NVQ4+ Qualification Levels (16-64)

ONS Annual Population Survey



NVQ2 Qualification Levels (16-64)

ONS Annual Population Survey



Median Gross Weekly Pay – Total, 20th and 80th percentiles




Number of areas in most deprived 20% in England

Indices of Multiple Deprivation


Count / %



Control Information

Prepared by


Prepared for

Steer Economic Development

67 Albion Street
Leeds LS1 5AA

+44 113 389 6444



North Yorkshire Council



Steer ED project/proposal number


Client contract/project number








James Hopton




Other contributors



Les Newby and Nicky Denison




Steer ED:



Version control/issue number








[1] https://www.ynylep.com/Portals/0/adam/Stories/OhqqpV3Rg0aL68WCU08pNA/Body/High%20Performance%20‍‌Working%20practices.%20Research%20report.%20April%202022.pdf (Data relates to adopting 14+ of 21 practices)

[2] Les Newby Associates and Nicky Denison/Wordfern Ltd for York & North Yorkshire LEP, York and North Yorkshire Anchor Organisations Research, June 2020

[3] 21st Century Towns, YNYER LEP / Metro Dynamics, 2019