Manifesto

Regional Mayors possess significant devolved powers and responsibilities that extend beyond mere ceremonial roles. They amplify the region’s presence on a national scale, influence government policy, and secure additional funding.

Their responsibilities include managing local transport, housing, public services, economic development, and planning. Additionally, they can take on the roles of Police, Fire, and Crime Commissioner and collaborate with local councils and organisations to tackle regional challenges.

An interim Corporate Plan for the initial year has already been agreed, setting a structured approach and allocating necessary resources for the Combined Authority to meet early Devolution Deal commitments, thereby preparing the York and North Yorkshire area for effective devolution. Upon election, the Mayor will undertake a full strategic review to set the future commitments and priorities.

I am also pleased to adopt the Royal British Legion’s Action Plan 2024, which touches on a number of the categories below and aims to enhance the lives of our local Armed Forces communities here in North Yorkshire, home to the world’s largest British Army garrison.

Housing and Planning

Affordable homes

The Mayor’s role is to free up land (brownfield sites over greenfield) to support the development of affordable homes with less environmental impact. We need affordable homes for lower-paying jobs.

The ‘Local Plans’ are the responsibility of the councils, who are currently embarked on creating new ones for April 2028. A third of our CO₂ emissions come from our buildings so we must build sustainable homes into these plans.

The Mayor will also influence thinking and this is what I will be asking for :

  • An interim plan to ensure that all houses built within the next 4 years will not become part of a retrofit requirement. Some economic development opportunities cannot wait.
  • Highest insulation standards – saving residents money.
  • Developments with true equal choices of movement – active travel, public transport as well as car.
  • Developments to have default 20mph for cars to allow multi transport users.
  • Clean air by using clean fuelled transport, heating and cooking.
  • Powered by renewable energy with improved public access EV charging.
  • Close to work, amenities and transport hubs.
  • Easy access for refuse collection.
  • Improved accessibility for home health and social care.

Transport and Connectivity

Mobility in rural and urban areas: Develop a bespoke local transport service to serve the varied geography of York and North Yorkshire.

  • One ticket through the combined area and beyond – reducing cost and friction.
  • Rural hubs with high frequency services.
  • Greater communication of service with improved accuracy.
  • Combining freight deliveries (like ‘Amazon’) with rural bus services for efficient package and people transport.

We know that effective connectivity improves productivity and therefore our local economy and that is why this is so important to develop.

  • A clean, punctual, reliable, convenient, affordable bus service to connect people to amenities, schools and work is paramount. It must also support our visitor economy.
  • The mayor oversees the local transport plan and public buses in North Yorkshire. It’s crucial to offer balanced travel options, including walking, public transit, and driving.
  • Prioritise Active travel development and enable modal shift (to more environmentally friendly alternatives).
  • In North Yorkshire, 97% of freight is transported by road. We must consider how our network can accommodate this, independent of fuel type, and support the essential drivers involved.
  • Road infrastructure that supports enjoying your journey and having options on how you wish to travel: that promotes shared use and modal shift.
  • Recognise that various societal groups, such as men versus women or children versus adults, have different transportation needs and usage patterns.
  • Improve transport network resilience due to adverse weather conditions.

This supports…

Economic Development and Regeneration

For business to thrive it needs favourable conditions:

  • Build support systems for business and farming that take out the uncertainty and short termism of central government.
  • Support existing and enable new business.

Two priorities for me:

  • Working with the farmers as they try to make sense of the changes and challenges in their industry.
  • Supporting the tourism sector.

But we have other burgeoning and thriving industry sectors that equally need nurturing and investing in. I will be Championing them too.

  • Manufacturing
  • Rail and Bus innovation
  • Creative and Digital
  • Med and Health Technology
  • The care sector
  • Biotechnology

Food Security

Farming is a natural asset and we are good at it. This country does not produce enough of its own food and we can help fill that gap by being a centre of farming excellence. Our excellence and ability to innovate will allow us to develop the associated agri-tech and food processing which can be exported across the world.

  • Farming – leading the way in regenerative farming
  • Farming the sea
  • Agri-tech
  • Soil health
  • Controlled Environment Agriculture
  • Vertical Farms
  • Further education in farming
  • University research into farming
  • Food Production
  • Food Processing
  • Food waste and circular economy
  • Protect allotments

Engagement

Relationships matter. I will focus on relationships to build trust and strengthen collaboration amongst our partners. It starts with being a good partner!

As a councillor I hold quarterly meetings for residents. This works well and I intend to continue with this idea if I were elected Mayor, with regular townhall meetings being held across the County. We will meet you where you are!

Visitor Economy and Tourism

This is the second largest business in North Yorkshire and York attracting millions of visitors each year.

  • Support the tourist industry by promoting not only in the UK but around the world our historic, rural and beautiful county.
  • Support business providers of exceptional local ingredients to support and help enhance the quality of top restaurants and hotels.
  • Promote Eco tourism and the hotel sector.
  • Invest in conferences (anecdotally over 80% of conference visitors say they intend to come back to North Yorkshire for a holiday)
  • Invest in events to attract tourism and quality of life.
  • Skill people to support and work in this sector.
  • Increase access to destinations by various modes of transport.

Adult Skills and Education

Young people are vital to our future, and we must equip everyone with the tools they need to succeed in the new digital economy and getting higher paid jobs with a sense of purpose.

Our colleges, new and existing, need to provide the skills tailored to businesses needs as well as building worthwhile careers for people to grow.

We must also support trade apprenticeships, providing practical pathways for individuals to expand their skills and thrive professionally.

Environment & Energy

Transition to Carbon Negative – The transition to carbon negative is not just good for the environment, but can also support our businesses, people and communities:

  • Monitor and measure the delivery of the Routemap to Carbon Negative.
  • Accelerate the drive to net-zero and a green, regenerative sustainable economy.
  • Implement The Circular Economy – Waste Free Yorkshire!
  • British leadership of a renewed clean industrial revolution is essential for economic revival and increased prosperity for British people. It requires a visionary mission, with clarity of purpose and a clear target, well in advance of other developed economies, of net zero by 2030, which is also in line with the science.
  • The decline of nature in Britain must be switched to restoration immediately and our waterways protected from pollution.

Finance and Governance

To be an effective leader it is important to implement good governance to channel the funds we attract and set effective budgets to support the services being provided. The establishment of compelling business cases to support bids.

Currently there is no precept for the Combined Authority and it would be my ambition and intention to continue this. However, the first year would be about what people want and need for the coming years and this may change circumstances. It would be subject to consultation.

The Mayor sets the police and fire services budgets and determines the police and fire precepts currently.

In short get the best value for money including achieving social / environmental return on investment.

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner

We live in one of the safest counties in the UK, but that is no reason for complacency. It is my vision and pledge that the Police will be rated ‘Outstanding’ at the next HMICFRS inspection and that the Fire & Rescue service gets the investment to significantly improve.

To boost economic growth in the region, it is crucial to ensure everyone feels secure in both the physical environment and the online cyberspace, thereby attracting and retaining individuals and new businesses.

To that end, I will build on the work of the current Commissioner to continue to ensure that both the Police and Fire & Rescue service are efficient and effective, holding the Chief Constable and Chief Fire Officer to account for delivery of service for both the rural and urban areas of our county.

Key to this will be:

  • Investment in services and prevention measures to combat violence against women and girls.
  • Roll out of Public Safety Officers across our rural communities bringing together Police, Fire and health services to prevent vulnerability, crime and reduce harm giving more resilience to our community.
  • Tackling the growth areas of cybercrime and fraud; online grooming across all ages and vulnerabilities.
  • Protect our community from drugs, serious crime and organised criminal activities.
  • Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour – I will use the additional £1m from government to target anti-social behaviour hot spots across our County and York.
  • Use the methodology outlined in Vision Zero with the ambition to eliminate deaths and serious injuries from North Yorkshire’s roads by 2030.
  • Invest in the prevention of retail crime through a specialist business crime team, supporting businesses and their employees.
  • Invest in more victims services focusing on domestic and sexual violence and crime prevention.
  • Focus on collaboration and investment of the shared Police and Fire estate.
  • Invest in a new Fire & Rescue service Risk and Resource model for effective delivery of service across our County and York, including a full review of the current proposals for Harrogate and Scarborough Fire prevention and protection investment.
  • Enhance protection for our emergency workers on the front line.

Donate to my campaign!

If you like what you have seen, then you might consider giving more than your vote. This could be by telling your friends about me (especially if they live in York and North Yorkshire) or donating to my campaign.

Donate Here

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who supported and voted for me, as well as those who engaged and enlightened me about the opportunities and challenges facing the people of York and North Yorkshire. It has been a thoroughly invigorating experience, and I would do it again in an instant.

I’m proud of the decisions I made and each policy I proposed in my manifesto. I sincerely wish the new Mayor the very best and hope he unashamedly steals some of my proposals.

I would also like to thank those sending kind words in my inbox… though it seems my dogs still claim the lion’s share of the fanmail!

Unfortunately, I have not been asked to serve this time, but I remain committed to our county’s future. I will continue to serve my local community as an independent Councillor.

Paul.