King's Cross design guru is on board with Leeds City Station redevelopment scheme

He is the design genius who spearheaded the dazzling transformation of King's Cross Station in London.

Tuesday, 18th October 2016, 5:33 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 5:34 pm
An image of how the area around the station could look.

Hiro Aso’s latest project, however, will see him lending his architectural talents to a destination 200 miles north of the capital.

Mr Aso’s Gensler firm is part of a consortium that has been awarded the contract to draw up a masterplan for the remodelling of Leeds City Station.

The Atkins consortium’s various design, engineering and project management experts have also previously been involved in stylish schemes connected to Heathrow Airport, Wembley Stadium and The Shard.

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Mike Gardner from Atkins with Coun Judith Blake and Coun Keith Wakefield at today's announcement.

And, as the contract award was announced today, Leeds was told to expect more of the same during the push to give it a station capable of handling north-south HS2 and transpennine HS3 high speed rail services.

Liam Harrison, Atkins market director for stations and transport oriented development, said: “Our team will be a true partnership, combining each company’s unique expertise to deliver an integrated masterplan that will create a real and positive impact on Leeds as a city and as a key hub in the Northern Powerhouse.

“By integrating the new HS2 station into Leeds’s existing mainline station and the surrounding area, we’ll help create a 21st century station – a fantastic space to travel, live and work.”

Civic leaders hope the new masterplan for the site will be ready by next summer.

Mike Gardner from Atkins with Coun Judith Blake and Coun Keith Wakefield at today's announcement.

It is not yet clear how much the overall scheme could cost but the revamp of King’s Cross had a price tag of around £500m.

Funding for the Leeds project is expected to come from both national and local sources.

The key stakeholders in the redevelopment include Leeds City Council, Network Rail, the Department for Transport and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Experts say the scheme should create as many as 13,000 new jobs in Leeds.

An exact timescale has still to be set out for the project but work on the existing station concourse could start in the early 2020s.

Trains are not due to begin running on HS2’s West Midlands to Leeds line until 2033.

The Atkins consortium’s previous work also includes the design of the new southern entrance at the station.

Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake today hailed the proposed transformation of the site as a “game-changer”.

Coun Blake said: “We are delighted to be able to announce the Atkins consortium as our partners in developing the exciting masterplan for Leeds Station, which we want to be a statement of our ambition and determination as a city and region to create a distinctive world-class modern transport hub, economic driver and attractive venue and destination in its own right.

“Their wealth of experience working on major projects around the world and locally is exceptional, so we look forward to working with them and seeing the ideas they come up with.”

Coun Blake added: “We are all firmly committed to delivering the same thing – a new Leeds Station which will be a game-changer for us as a city and region and something for us all to be proud of.”

West Yorkshire Combined Authority transport committee chairman Coun Keith Wakefield said: “With HS2 and [HS3] and train travel having such an important role to play in achieving the aims of our strategic economic plan, Leeds Station will become a true transport hub for the city, the city region and the North as a whole.”

Coun Blake and Coun Wakefield were joined at Leeds City Station by Mike Gardner from Atkins for this morning’s announcement.

The plans for the station form part of a wider vision for the regeneration of Leeds’s South Bank area.

Covering a space the size of 250 football pitches, the South Bank stretches from Holbeck’s so-called ‘urban village’ to Leeds Dock.

The council’s proposals for the area include the building of more than 4,000 homes and the creation of an education hub used by around 10,000 students.

Firms such as Vastint, Burberry and Citu have already committed hundreds of millions of pounds of investment to the South Bank.