YEP Says, May 29: Railways back on track as station plan is given green light

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Go ahead for Kirkstall Forge is welcome – even if it has taken a decade.

IT would be churlish, given the disparity in transport funding between London and Yorkshire, not to welcome the Department for Transport’s decision to spend £9.5m on two much-needed new railway stations on a key Leeds commuter route – even if it is 10 years since this plan was first advocated.

Both proposed stations illustrate the importance of the railways to the city. The Kirkstall Forge stop will be the centrepiece of a major £400m regeneration project that will feature 1,000 new homes on a brownfield site, another plus, while the location of the Apperley Bridge station is intended to persuade Leeds-bound commuters to leave their cars at home.

Despite the frustrating delays, it is also to the credit of Patrick McLoughlin, the current Transport Secretary, that he has recognised the importance of these two schemes – at least he understands the needs of the North, and visited Leeds to see the proposed sites, unlike so many of his predecessors whose policy-making was too London-centric for the country’s good.

However, these new stations will only fulfil their potential if the trains servicing them are able to meet the expectations of the travelling public. First, additional rolling stock will need to be sourced. Second, plans to increase the capacity of the rail network around Leeds need to be speeded up. Waiting for HS2 will be too late; this process needs to begin now and run alongside Britain’s high-speed rail revolution.

Dementia-friendly city moves a step closer

IT’S a bit early to be thinking about Christmas, but in this case we can be forgiven for making an exception.

The West Yorkshire Playhouse has announced that it is set to stage its first ever dementia-friendly performance this December.

The performance of White Christmas will be specially adapted to meet the needs of people living with dementia, following on from performances tailored for those with learning disabilities, which have now been adopted by theatres nationwide.

It’s great news for those affected by this cruel condition and another step closer to the worthy goal of making Leeds a dementia-friendly city.

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