Stunning images reveal the shape of things to come for £500m rail station scheme in Leeds

A new front entrance for the station, seen as if from Bishopgate Street.
A new front entrance for the station, seen as if from Bishopgate Street.
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These are the eye-catching images that give the clearest indication to date of the dizzying scale of the redevelopment planned for Leeds City Station.

The Yorkshire Evening Post reported last month on £500m proposals to transform the station into a stylish transport gateway worthy of a heavyweight European city in the 21st century.

One of the station's new entrances, as it would be seen from Bridgewater Place.

One of the station's new entrances, as it would be seen from Bridgewater Place.

And today council bosses released three computer-generated pictures showing how the remodelling of the site could take shape.

A hand-drawn sketch by Hiro Aso – the world-renowned lead architect on the scheme – offers another tantalising glimpse of what the future holds for the station.

The CGI images have been produced by development experts Atkins as part of their work on the project, which is being spearheaded by Leeds City Council, Network Rail, Transport for the North and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Civic chiefs want the station to become a “hub of international significance”, integrating HS2 and transpennine Northern Powerhouse Rail high-speed trains as well as other local, regional and national services.

The station's proposed new concourse.

The station's proposed new concourse.

Council leader Coun Judith Blake said: “These fantastic new images of what Leeds Station could look like show not only its exciting future as a distinct and welcoming gateway to the city, but how important it is to get this right by putting people and the visitor experience at the heart of all the plans.

“It must provide a step-change not only for the future of transport and connectivity in our city and region, but also as a key economic driver for our future economy providing opportunities for all to benefit through a clear people-first approach.”

The images were also welcomed by Sir David Higgins, chairman of HS2 Ltd.

He said: “It’s fantastic to see how much progress has been made since we first announced our plans to bring HS2 to Leeds.

Lead architect Hiro Aso's sketch.

Lead architect Hiro Aso's sketch.

“Working together with HS2 Ltd, the Leeds city region, Network Rail and Transport for the North, Leeds has clearly seized the opportunity that high-speed rail represents both locally and regionally.

“HS2 presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity both to revitalise Leeds and, in the process, rebalance Britain.

“Leeds’s plans live up to that level of ambition and will leave a legacy that the city and the region can be proud of for decades to come.”

The remodelled station would boast new entrances, platforms and public space, with a surrounding ‘campus’ being created for commercial, residential and leisure developments.

If all runs smoothly, then the changes will be carried out in stages over the next 25 years or so.

A masterplan document published today by the council says the “repurposing” of New Station Street and Bishopgate Street to create a new square could begin as early as 2021.

Network Rail route managing director Rob McIntosh said: “The masterplan has a clear focus on the future and the arrival of HS2 but can be implemented in phases, bringing benefits to passengers and the city at each stage.

“We will be working closely with our partners, funders and stakeholders to secure the funding which will make this vision a reality.”

The station project as a whole would form a crucial part of the regeneration of Leeds’s South Bank area, which runs along the southern side of the River Aire and stretches from Holbeck to Leeds Dock.

Key elements of the South Bank blueprint include the building of 8,000 homes, the creation of 35,000 jobs and the laying-out of a new city park.

Leeds’s station is already the busiest transport hub in the north of England, used by more than 100,000 people a day.

The remodelling would far surpass the impact of other recent changes at the site, such as the opening of its £20m southern entrance at the start of last year.

In a sign of the frustrating waits that passengers have sometimes had to endure for major improvements at the station, the idea of opening up its south side pre-dated British Rail’s privatisation in the 1990s.

A £245m redevelopment of the site completed in 2002 saw an increase in the number of trains it can handle each day plus the installation of a new roof and extra escalators.

Yorkshire’s section of the north-south HS2 rail network is scheduled to be up-and-running by 2033.