Leeds: Developer seeks council cash for Kirkstall Forge rail station plan

How the proposed Kirkstall Forge station would look.
How the proposed Kirkstall Forge station would look.
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Private sector property bosses have asked Leeds City Council to ride to the financial rescue of proposals for a new train station.

The station is due to form part of a village-style development at Kirkstall Forge comprising more than 1,000 homes and 300,000 sq ft of office space.

Government ministers agreed to plough £10.3m into the station element of the 56-acre scheme in late 2011.

A further £5.3m was due to come from the former industrial site’s private developer, Commercial Estates Group (CEG).

Now, though, it has emerged that CEG has approached the council seeking financial support for the station plan.

CEG originally anticipated funds generated by the rest of the development would help it meet its share of the cost of the station.

The start of work on the wider scheme, however, was delayed due to the recession.

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And although CEG remains in a position to put some of its own money into the station project, a funding shortfall has therefore arisen.

A report to be considered by the council’s executive board next Wednesday recommends that the local authority agrees in principle to provide assistance.

It also says, though, that “this will be subject to the finalisation of the agreement of terms and conditions which ensure the council’s position is as secure as possible”.

The report says the project would deliver a “key improvement” to the local transport infrastructure.

It also indicates the scheme’s Government funding could lapse if work on the station does not begin soon.

CEG director Jon Kenny today confirmed the rail project was facing “time pressure”.

It is not clear how much of CEG’s previously-announced £5.3m contribution the council has been asked to provide.

The Yorkshire Evening Post understands any public funds given to the firm would be in the form of a loan to be repaid.

Kirkstall Forge station would be on a busy stretch of the Airedale and Wharfedale rail lines, which link Leeds city centre with Guiseley, Ilkley, Shipley and Skipton.

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