The next step for a £500m scheme to transform the North’s busiest railway station has been approved by decision-makers this week.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) announced at its annual meeting that it would fund further work into its Leeds Integrated Station Masterplan.
Leeds is set to be at the heart of the UK’s transport infrastructure plans in the coming decades, with both the north-to-south HS2 and east-to-west Northern Powerhouse Rail projects expected to have stops at the station.
As such, WYCA has stressed the need to make major improvements to Leeds station to make it fit to accommodate the new lines.
Authority members voted to pump £5m into the work, which will go towards putting together a business case and overall design. The total cost of this part of the scheme is just over £6m, with Network Rail contributing a £1m grant.
Once the masterplan is finished, it is then hoped the authority will submit it for parliamentary approval.
A report which went before members said: “A Leeds integrated station will transform Leeds rail station into a world class gateway for the city region which integrates High Speed rail, Northern Powerhouse Rail and classic rail services, including the TransPennine route upgrade. It will also act as a catalyst for wider growth, in particular the regeneration of the adjacent South Bank Leeds area and create jobs. Initial indications demonstrate that the wider Leeds integrated station scheme is expected to deliver high value for money with an indicative strong benefits to cost ratio which will be developed at a later stage.”
The authority believes the wider scheme could also help to bring more than 40,000 jobs Leeds and West Yorkshire. It’s also hoped that a revamped station could improve nearby public spaces, such as the waterfront and Dark Arches.
Coun Kim Groves, who was appointed new chair of the authority’s Transport Committee, said: “It’s not just important to Leeds, it’s all around our districts. We need to think about those corridors and other areas – once we have these transport systems in place, it will help the north to grow. People are really important – we can make their lives better through schemes like this.”
IMPROVING AIRPORT ACCESS
Transport bosses have agreed to multi-million pound road works which they hope will improve access to Leeds Bradford Airport.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority agreed to part-fund a project to rebuild the Harrogate Road new line junction on the A658 to help reduce congestion.
It is hoped the works will also make roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians, while helping support new housing developments.
The expected £8.6m cost will be funded with a £6.7m grant from the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund and Bradford Council.