New parkway for Leeds Bradford Airport could be 'quick-win' for transport fix

Leeds Bradford Airport
Leeds Bradford Airport
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Quick-win transport solutions in Leeds could transform the North's economy, a leading think tank argues, calling on the Chancellor to evidence funding commitments for a new airport parkway.

While major projects such as Northern Powerhouse Rail are "essential" to bringing transport into the 21st century, IPPR North has said, such schemes could take decades to deliver.

Smaller, short-term improvements such as a new Parkway rail station for Leeds Bradford Airport, it argues, could bring a huge boost to transforming the North's economy.

Coun Judith Blake, Leeds City Council leader, backed IPPR North calls for a devolved £400m transport fund in the Spending Review.

“This report adds to the already compelling case for significant investment in transport in the North of England to unlock our full economic potential in a way that delivers for all our communities," she said.

“We need Government to continue to invest so we can keep the momentum going and fund both quick wins across the North and the development work for the longer term projects.”

A consultation is underway over the plans for a new rail Parkway at Leeds Bradford Airport, which would see a new station built on the existing Leeds - Harrogate train line.

The IPPR Report, using the scheme as one of five examples for "quick wins" when it came to transport improvements, said the focus in the North was often about "big-ticket" projects.

Highlighting the value of smaller-scale projects, Luke Raikes, report author and senior research fellow at IPPR North said these could have a much quicker transformative effect.

"These relatively inexpensive projects could be quick to deliver and could make a real difference for the people of the North," he said.

Building a new Parkway rail station for Leeds Bradford Airport could expand the region's connectivity across the country and worldwide, the report found.

The Chancellor, in the Spring Statement on Wednesday, confirmed Government will hold a spending review ahead of the summer recess, to conclude alongside the Autumn Budget.

This was, he added: "assuming a Brexit deal is agreed over the next few weeks and the uncertainty that is hanging over our economy is lifted".

And Liz Truss, the chief secretary to the Treasury, warned this weekend that too much public money is being spent on "white elephant" infrastructure projects.

"I'm in favour of gritty infrastructure," she said in an interview with The Times, suggesting that the Treasury may look to smaller ideas to ensure practical changes.