PLANS for new railway stations serving Leeds-Bradford Airport and Elland are set to take a significant set step forward next week.
Council leaders in West Yorkshire are set to agree to spend £15m developing a package of transport and other infrastructure improvements including the two stations.
An upgrade to Bradford Forster Square station, increased parking facilities at four other stations and a network of charging points to be used by taxies are among the proposals.
Measures to improve flood resilience in West Yorkshire and make homes more energy efficient are also set to be progressed. The West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which brings council leaders together to work on issues, is expected to agree to progress work on the projects at its annual meeting next week.
Taken together, the package of measures could eventually cost more than £200m paid for by the authority’s own transport fund and money from the Department for Transport.
Barry Collins, Calderdale council’s cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, said: “This is great news for Elland, in the town’s 700th anniversary year. “It’s also a massive step forward in the council’s rail development plans. We know how much local people need a train station, and delivering it is one of our top priorities. “The proposed scheme takes advantage of funding that had previously been identified to improve line speeds along the Calder Valley route.
“These are now being delivered as part of a separate programme by Network Rail, freeing up £20 million from the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund for the Elland project.
“Station construction is only one element of the plan. It also includes a bus-rail interchange; a dedicated car park, enabling a park and ride service, a new footbridge over the River Calder and improved road, cycle and pedestrian links between the station, the town centre and neighbouring areas.” The proposed station for Leeds-Bradford Airport would be built on the existing railway line between Leeds and Harrogate.
The ‘parkway’ station would act as a park-and-ride scheme for commuters and connect to the airport via bus services.
Critics of the proposal have argued a direct rail line should be built to the airport. If it goes ahead, the station, which could cost up to £25m to build, would be served by trains stopping at least every half hour. The West Yorkshire Combined Authority will hold its annual meeting on Thursday.