A DEVOLUTION deal for West Yorkshire will help the region recover after the Coronavirus Pandemic - Council bosses have heard.

Bradford Council's decision-making Executive met online yesterday to discuss the planned West Yorkshire devolution deal, which will see an mayor for the region elected next May.

The proposals, announced by the Government in early March, will see the region receive a huge pot of funding and given a much greater say on transport and infrastructure projects.

One members of Bradford' Executive said it will make the region "masters of our own destiny."

Devolution to be supported ‘with gusto’ as part of Coronavirus recovery - minister tells T&A

Included in the devolution deal is funding to prepare Bradford Interchange as a possible stop on the Northern Powerhouse Rail route, work to pedestrianise parts of the city centre such as Hall Ings, the creation of a new cycle route linking the city centre to Thornton and funding for a West Yorkshire mass transit system, which would link Bradford, Pudsey, Leeds and numerous other towns and suburbs.

Overall the deal is worth £1.8 billion to the region.

Earlier this month the Telegraph & Argus asked Communities and Local Government Minister Robert Jenrick at the daily Coronavirus briefing whether he could guarantee the funding would still happen. He replied saying the Government would pursue the deal "with gusto,"

A public consultation on the plans will begin on Monday. However the Executive was told that consultations for similar Mayoral authorities such as Manchester or the West Midlands have not always excited the public.

Ben Still, from West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said: "Consultations like this rarely elicit a large amount of responses from the public. You are usually talking about the low number of hundreds.

"In West Yorkshire we are looking at how we can maximise the response rate."

Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe described the devolution deal as "momentous" for the area, and added: "This will put West Yorkshire in the same position as devolved areas like Manchester and the West Midlands. This is something we've been working towards for years. It gives the area significant powers over funding for transport, education and skills.

"It is one of the best devolution deals in the country.

"The funding can be spent as we see fit, and not dictated by Westminster. It gives us a better change of affecting recovery."

Councillor Rebecca Poulsen (Cons, Worth Valley) questioned whether the deal would only benefit Bradford city centre.

Cllr Hinchcliffe replied: "This is for the whole of the district and all of West Yorkshire. People in Keighley and Ilkley also have to feel the benefit of this as much as people i the city centre."

She pointed out that West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which currently operated in a similar way to how the devolved authority will work, albeit with less power, had funded schemes such as the £10 million Hard Ings Road improvement scheme in Keighley.

Cllr Hinchcliffe added: "This deal will enable us to fund more schemes like this all over the district."

Councillor Imran Khan, deputy leader of the Council, said: "I'm really excited by this deal, it opens up endless possibilities. There will be so much more we will be able to achieve, it makes us masters of our own destiny."

Councillor Alex Ross Shaw, Executive for Regeneration, Housing and transport, said: "The Half million pounds funding for the city Centre Masterplan show how seriously the government is taking the idea of a high speed station in the city. It is a fantastic statement of intent and will help us make the most out of Northern Powerhouse Rail."

He said while projects like Darley Street Market, Bradford Live and One City park were projects that were happening in the coming years, the devolution deal would give the region more power to plan the "next generation" of projects.