Bradford to play major role in new £50m ‘Investment Zone’

On Friday Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, revealed that he had agreed on the “final plans” for an Investment Zone that was first announced last year.

It would focus on health-based technology, and see £50m shared between Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield.

In Bradford, it would be linked to the University of Bradford, and help support new start-up businesses and encourage investment in the area around the University, as well as the “Southern Gateway” – the area between Manchester Road and Leeds Road.

Attending the Convention of the North in Leeds on Friday, Mr Gove said: “I am delighted to be able to announce that we have agreed with West Yorkshire the final plans for their new Investment Zone, focused in particular on health tech. 

“It will direct £50m of additional investment to accelerate capital projects here in Leeds, and in Bradford and Huddersfield.

“And a further £25m of the funding will be used to give local people the skills they need to take advantage of over 7,000 new high-quality jobs being created in the region all because of the Investment Zone.”

Plans for the Investment Zone were discussed at a meeting of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority earlier this year.

A report that was heavy with business jargon said: “West Yorkshire Combined Authority has been working closely with partners, particularly local authorities and universities, to develop a set of capital and revenue interventions that will propel the region’s ambition to scale and support longer-term innovation plans, aiding delivery on high impact innovation-led transformational projects.

“Aligned to local and regional spatial and innovation-based policies, capital proposals will concentrate around core areas in Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds.

“Revenue programmes will be region-wide but support capital investment.”

It referred to the Bradford part of the Investment Zone as a “Digitisation HUB and Tech Entrepreneur Eco-System Space”. 

It said the University of Bradford would play a major role in the scheme, supporting local start-ups and helping develop new spaces for business.

Investment Zone funding would be used in Bradford “to invest in new technology to enable expansion of the programme in scale and scope aligned to investment in unlocking additional innovation space in the city centre and development opportunities in the Knowledge Quarter and Southern Gateway areas for businesses investment and agglomeration.”

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