‘Delight’ as bus-rail link to Leeds-Bradford Airport moves closer

Leeds City Station.
Leeds City Station.
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A BUS-RAIL link to Leeds-Bradford Airport has moved a step closer after ministers approved spending plans for £173m originally earmarked for the collapsed Leeds trolleybus scheme.

Park and ride schemes, investment in buses and proposals for new railways stations also feature in the package backed by the Government.

The schemes were drawn up after the collapse of the Leeds trolleybus scheme last year.

The Government promised the £173m it was set to contribute to the cost of trolleybus would be ringfenced to be spent on transport improvements in Leeds.

Ministers have now agreed the package of measures put forward are a suitable way to spend the cash.

Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake said: “We are delighted that the Department for Transport has given its support for our plans which have the potential to transform public transport in Leeds, with improvements we can deliver in the coming years in keeping with what the people of Leeds told us they want to see.

“That is making it quicker and easier for everyone to be able to move around the city as well as connecting people and businesses to places and jobs, increasing productivity and supporting major economic growth areas.”

Proposed improvements including bus lanes on key roads in and out of Leeds such as the A61, A58 and A660.

Park and ride schemes are planned at Stourton and in the north of the city to add to the existing site at Elland Road and another under development at Temple Green.

The money will fund further development of proposals for new railway stations at White Rose and Thorpe Park.

The single most ambitious project is the development of a parkway station on the railway line between Leeds and Harrogate.

The station would act as a park-and-ride scheme and offer onward bus connections to Leeds Bradford Airport.

Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland has previously described the idea as “half-baked” and called for a direct rail connection to the airport.

The total package of transport measures is expected to cost around £270m with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the private sector making up the shortfall.