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Nations & regions overview: Yorkshire

Words: The Planner

An overview of planning in Yorkshire, looking at key planning themes, major projects and RTPI activities in the region.


Analysis: A new Yorkshire accent

Perhaps more correctly called Yorkshire and the Humber, this is a large region that comprises just over 10 per cent of England, with around 10 per cent of its population. It includes England’s largest county (North Yorkshire), lengthy coastline and ports, extensive farmland, cities built on the Industrial Revolution, market towns, rural villages and two national parks (and a bit of a third) with some of England's most spectacular countryside.

Following decline in traditional industries, its economy is now as diverse as its geography; many parts of Yorkshire are thriving, though stubborn pockets of poverty remain. Nowadays, Hull is becoming a centre for renewables and high-tech manufacturing linked to the ‘energy estuary’ of the Humber; Leeds is one of England’s fastest-growing cities outside London, strong in financial services and with a growing digital and creative sector – evidenced by the decision of Channel Four to locate its new headquarters in the city; Sheffield, extensively regenerated, continues to thrive as a manufacturer, backed up by a strong university research base; Scunthorpe makes all the UK’s rail tracks, and much for Europe, too; North and North East Lincolnshire are vital to the UK’s agri-food sector.

"Yorkshire and the Humber has a powerful regional identify rooted in a strong sense of place. Its cultural, sporting and built heritages are significant and frequently celebrated"

The region is a logistics hub, a manufacturing base, a financial services and a research centre, but it is let down by poor transport connectivity. There are various schemes to address this, broadly incorporated within the idea of the Northern Powerhouse – Transport for the North, which promotes a revitalised East-West rail network as a foundation for economic growth, has been given statutory status, and the RTPI itself is a driver of  the Great North Plan, looking at the relationship between people and place. There is huge potential for Yorkshire’s towns and cities through working in tandem with counterparts across the North.

Beyond economy and geography, Yorkshire and the Humber has a powerful regional identify rooted in a strong sense of place. Its cultural, sporting and built heritages are significant and frequently celebrated – indeed, the award-winning regeneration of the Piece Hall in Halifax, a former cloth hall, exemplifies how these different strands of identity are interwoven and can be adapted to a modern, post-industrial world.


Read more: Regional projects and planning insights

Once a year, we produce an update of major projects in the pipeline, alongside a selection of award-winning projects that have been completed. We also interview a key figure from the region for additional insight.

Nations & regions focus: Yorkshire 2019

Nations & regions focus: Yorkshire 2017

    Factfile 2019

    Counties: North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Riding of Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire

    Area: 6,074 square miles

    Population: 5.45 million*

    Major population centres*: Sheffield 544,402; Leeds 503,338; Bradford 361,046; Kingston upon Hull 288,671; Huddersfield 170,269; York 161,994; Doncaster 114,900; Rotherham 110,751; Grimsby 88,500; Scunthorpe 82,472

    *ONS 2017 estimates

    Parliamentary constituencies: 60 (20 Conservative, 40 Labour)

    Planning authorities: 1 non-metropolitan county council, five unitary authorities, 9 metropolitan borough councils, 7 district councils, 2 national parks (and part of a third)

    Local plans latest

    Click on the link to view the local plan documents.

    Non-metropolitan county councils

    Unitary authorities

    Metropolitan borough councils

    District councils

    National parks

    The RTPI region


    The 2019 Yorkshire conference series programme:

    Find out more about events in Yorkshire on the RTPI website

    Regional RTPI details