City leaders met with HS2 chiefs to lobby for construction of the new high-speed rail link to begin in the city.
The HS2 board, chaired by recently-appointed Sir David Higgins, current chief executive of Network Rail, visited Leeds as part of wider HS2 consultations, and heard city leaders’ case to begin building HS2 from the north.
Senior councillors believe the start date of 2027 for the Leeds link is too far away and must be brought forward by starting construction in Leeds – which they say would make the most of economic benefits and open up new construction jobs sooner.
Councillor and Metro chairman James Lewis said high-speed rail was an opportunity for Leeds “on a scale we have never seen before”.
He added: “HS2 has unwavering support from Leeds.
“We are very enthusiastic to welcome high-speed rail to Leeds and have tightly integrated it into our ambitious regeneration plans for the city. Leeds has a projected rail user growth of almost 70 per cent by 2029 for this very reason alone it makes sense to start engineering and construction of HS2 right here.
“However we’re concerned the route needs to be right to benefit our region and we’re asking the board to revisit this.”