ACTION is needed now to make sure Leeds secures once in a lifetime benefits from a new high speed rail line to the city, according to a new report.
It says a plan in place by the end of the year showing how the proposed new station on land opposite ASDA House will generate jobs and help regenerate the area.
The report calls for the high speed rail scheme, known as HS2, to be put at the heart of future transport plans for Leeds and neighbouring areas.
It also recommends action to ensure that young people have the skills needed to build the new rail line and suggests HS2 should feature in school lessons.
The report was written by a taskforce led by Lord Deighton who was in chargeof the body which delivered the 2012 Olympic Games.
He said: “We travelled the country gathering evidence. We visited Leeds and witnessed first hand the potential for growth and regeneration that exists in that great city.
“Our conclusion is that HS2 could be much more than a railway. It could be a once in a lifetime opportunity – particularly for our cities in the Midlands and the North – to deliver jobs and growth.”
HS2 will run from London to Birmingham carrying trains running at up to 250mph. A second phase will see one arm continue north to Manchester and another come to Yorkshire.
The Government set up the HS2 Growth Taskforce to look at ways of making sure the controversial £50bn project has the biggest impact possible on the economy.
Roger Marsh, chairman of the Leeds City Region local enterprise partnership - which brings councils and business in the area to grow the economy - was a member of the taskforce.
He said: “HS2 is not just about changing the way we travel, it is essential to the medium and long-term growth of our city regions and the opportunities this offers future generations, both in terms of direct job creation and the effects of better connectivity with London, Europe and the UK’s key regional centres.
“Locally we are committed to working with government and partners to ensure that the whole of Leeds City Region seizes the significant opportunities and benefits for good growth this national investment presents for generations to come.“