Plans to build two new rail stations, at Kirkstall Forge in Leeds and Apperley Bridge in Bradford have been given final approval by the Department for Transport.
Construction work can now start in the autumn of 2014, with both stations expected to open in Summer 2015.
Cllr Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council said, “A new rail station is a key element of the Kirkstall Forge development site, which will support 2,400 new jobs and lever £400m of new investment into the area. Regular service from the station will mean a six-minute link to Leeds city centre and will complement existing services between Leeds and Bradford Interchange via Bramley and New Pudsey."
Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves said, “After four years of campaigning I am thrilled for the community of Kirkstall, and people across West Leeds that we have agreement to go ahead with the development at Kirkstall Forge.
"Getting new infrastructure in place will create jobs and having a new train station will help so many people from the area commute into Leeds and Bradford for work or leisure. And with the station agreed, new housing, retail and office space will be built with jobs created on this historical site. Getting this project from drawing board to agreement has been a triumph of partnership working. I look forward to the first train stopping at Kirkstall Forge."
Cllr David Green, Leader of Bradford Council, said, “It is great news that a new station at Apperley Bridge has been given final approval. It will form a major link in the district’s transport chain and support our efforts to improve transport infrastructure and investment opportunities in the District."
The Rail Growth Package was granted 'Programme Entry Status' by the Department for Transport (DfT) in December 2011. 'Full Approval' of the scheme has now been granted by the DfT following submission of the final business case. The DfT will provide approaching £10m towards the £15.97m scheme.
Welcoming the news Cllr James Lewis, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority's Transport Committee, said, “Building these two new stations will support new jobs, reduce traffic on busy routes between Leeds and Bradford and ease traffic congestion in the two city centres.
“Around 40% of the overall cost of the new stations has been raised locally including a contribution of over £5m from the Kirkstall Forge site developer Commercial Estates Group (CEG). The local funding, which will be supplemented by funding from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, means we can now push ahead with the detailed design and construction work for these new stations.”
Charles Johnson, Development Manager at CEG, said, “This is very welcome news and something we have been working towards as a team with West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Council for a long time.
"Kirkstall Forge is a uniquely different project which will ultimately deliver a sustainable mixture of new homes, jobs, leisure and community facilities in a beautiful riverside setting on the outskirts of Leeds."