PLANS to upgrade Leeds train station have been welcomed by a business organisation.
Eight development projects for the busy transport hub were unveiled this week at the Leeds Chamber Property Forum.
Network Rail’s head of retail, Gavin McKechnie, said the schemes would transform the north and south concourses, create a new south entrance, develop office and retail space and boost parking.
Passenger numbers at the station are predicted to increase 63 per cent by 2029.
Now the Leeds, York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce has come down in support of the schemes.
Its own research suggests that 63 per cent of business people do not believe the station currently acts as a good gateway into the city and 55 per cent say that the retail opportunities should be improved.
Mark Goldstone, head of business representation, said: “The appearance, accessibility and facilities of Leeds City Station have long been a source of vexation for both businesses and commuters. The station is a primary gateway into Leeds, yet it fails to reflect the significant development that has taken place – is still taking place – within the city.
“The Chamber has worked closely with Network Rail over the past six months to ensure the concerns of the business community have been listened to and we welcome these planned improvements which will transform the look and functionality of the station. It is important the city has a station it can be proud of and creates the right first impression.
“However, we believe more development is still needed to cope with the significant forecasted increase in passenger numbers, as well as the arrival of high-speed rail in 2030. The additional car parking, improved pedestrian links and southern entrance will relieve some of the increased congestion but investment in additional platforms is also needed, as well as a review into how the station connects to other modes of local transport, such as the buses and taxis.
“A coordinated approach by Network Rail, Metro and Leeds City Council is vital to making sure this additional development takes place and the Chamber will continue to work with all parties in lobbying for investment.”