Hull Paragon station concourse (Photo TPE)

UK: Electrification from Hull to Sheffield and Leeds, journey time reductions, a parkway station and more local input into rail priorities are included in a proposed devolution deal signed by the leaders of East Riding of Yorkshire and Kingston upon Hull City councils and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities.

A ‘Level 3’ devolution deal is planned, with the creation of a Hull & East Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority and the direct election of a Mayor in May 2025.

There would be new powers to improve and integrate local transport, including the ability to introduce bus franchising, control of ‘appropriate’ local transport functions and a consolidated local transport settlement at the next spending review.

The government has committed to supporting the MCA in seeking a rail partnership with Great British Railways, once it is established, so that local priorities can be taken into consideration in future decisions regarding the local network. However, local priorities will need to be co-ordinated and compatible with surrounding areas and the needs of the national network.

The government would bring Hull into Northern Powerhouse Rail, electrifying and improving the line speed from Hull to Leeds and Sheffield. This would cut the journey between Leeds and Hull from 58 to 48 min, and from Hull to Manchester from 107 to 84 min. This would enable two fast trains an hour to Leeds, double the number of trains between Hull and Sheffield to two per hour, and enable capacity to double.

The Department for Transport would support the MCA with developing a business case for a new Melton/Ferriby Parkway station.

Devolution deal (Photo ERYC)

‘With a £400m investment fund and new powers in key areas like transport, housing and adult education, this deal offers us a seat at the top table and the opportunity to truly level up our region’, said leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council Councillor Anne Handley when the proposed deal was signed on November 27.

Councillor Mike Ross, leader of Hull City Council, said ‘the proposed deal has the potential to be a game changer for Hull and the East Riding in terms of jobs, investment and growth. Local people could see real, positive change in their lives. We are committed to making sure that people in this area are no longer left behind.’

The devolution deal is subject to ratification by all partners as well as various statutory requirements, including public consultation which is planned for January, the consent of councils affected and parliamentary approval of the secondary legislation.