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Leeds needs YOUR help to truly shape transport vision

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Leeds council leader Keith Wakefield wants to hear YOUR ideas about how to give the city the transport system it needs and deserves.

He was speaking following strong reaction to recent suggestions that it was time for Leeds to have a new airport at a more convenient location, which would connect directly with the proposed high speed rail line into the city and planned major new roads infrastructure.

Coun Wakefield told the YEP that he wants Leeds to have the same big transport aspirations that Manchester, and major European cities, are already working towards.

His vision is for a “transport hub” linking air, rail and road, but he stressed any eventual plan will be thoroughly researched and have maximum input from the public - and will not be put together “on the back of a fag packet”.

Coun Wakefield is urging Loiners to get involved in the debate - and promises that all ideas will be considered.

“I’m delighted we are having the discussion because you have to do this kind of thing when you are responsible for the economy of the city,” Coun Wakefield said.

“We are open to all ideas to improve. HS2 has really been the catalyst to resurrect this debate. Everywhere in Europe is good at transport hubs. Manchester have a [airport-rail] hub.”

Reacting to one suggestion that the cheaper and least controversial solution would be a rail link from Leeds-Bradford airport to Leeds central station, he said: “It will be considered alongside other ideas.” And asked if re-igniting the airport location debate risked souring relations with Leeds-Bradford airport, the leader said the current facility had been “fantastic” for the city” and had “done a lot of hard work,” but “they understand our job”. “They understand that having no debate would be like burying our heads in the sand,” he said.

Tony Hallwood, aviation development and marketing director at Leeds Bradford airport, said: “Leeds Bradford Airport will continue to invest in our airport infrastructure to provide a range of facilities that our customers demand. “However, we require cross regional support and action to introduce rail connectivity and improve road access to Leeds Bradford, which will allow easy access from across the Leeds City Region.”

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