WYCA Transport Committee Chair Cllr Keith Wakefield has welcomed plans for the redevelopment of Leeds Station into an integrated high-speed transport hub for the region unveiled today.
In his much-anticipated report, HS2 Ltd chair Sir David Higgins has recommended the redevelopment of Leeds station as ‘Yorkshire Hub’. The design would see the existing east-west rail lines being combined with connecting new north-south lines to accommodate HS2 when it comes to the city.
Sir David’s proposals replace the original proposal of a new station for HS2 at New Lane on Leeds’ South Bank. A single station would mean integrated existing and high-speed rail services serving connecting cities and towns across the Leeds City Region and beyond.
Responding to the plans Cllr Wakefield said: “Integrating the HS2 station with our existing station will provide a seamless interchange between high speed and classic rail services – and importantly, will allow through trains to enhance services to the city region and beyond.
“This will connect the major cities of Bradford, York and Wakefield, and significant towns such as Halifax, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Harrogate and Selby, into the national high-speed network, with all the benefits for jobs, skills, business opportunities and investment it will bring.”
Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council said: “Leeds City Council and partners have worked together to push for a solution for Leeds Station that meets the city and region’s aspirations, creating the connectivity the region clearly needs; and I am delighted that we have such a strong proposal in place now.
“This major project will not only transform the station into a landmark gateway to welcome visitors and business travellers in the city and region, but will be transformative in terms of new jobs, skills, regeneration, and business opportunities. Redeveloping the station in Leeds alone will create 10,000 new jobs and we are determined that people in the city benefit from these opportunities.”
This recommendation and follows detailed discussions as to the ideal solution for Leeds Station to meet current and future needs. These discussions have taken place between HS2 Ltd, the Department of Transport, Network Rail, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Leeds City Council, Wakefield Council, Kirklees Council, Bradford Council, Calderdale Council, City of York Council, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and key local stakeholders such as the Leeds Chamber of Commerce.
Used by over 27 million people a year, which is similar to figures for London’s King’s Cross, Leeds is the busiest rail station in the north of England. A projected 114% rise over the next 30 years will mean passenger flows at the station matching those of Gatwick Airport.
The new station will enable seamless interchange between HS2 trains and ‘classic’ local and regional rail services, which will ensure the benefits of HS2 are spread across West Yorkshire and the Leeds City Region.
Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP)said: “Today’s announcement of the creation of a “Yorkshire Hub” in Leeds is great news for the whole of Leeds City Region.
“Along with other partners, a one station solution for Leeds is something I lobbied long and hard for when I was a member of the national HS2 Growth Taskforce. As well as heralding significant new investment and jobs in the region, by integrating the new HS2 station with the existing regional and Transpennine network this announcement is also a major boost to our ambition of creating the intra-regional, inter-city and international transport links that our City Region needs to become globally competitive and realise its full economic potential.”
Cllr David Sheard, Leader of Kirklees Council, said the new location of the HS2 station development allowing quick and easy inks to the rest of the network was vital to its success.
He added: “This is excellent news as it means that places like Huddersfield and Dewsbury are just minutes from the HS2 network. It means that the high speed trains to and from London are connected to the trans-Pennine link joining Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, York, Hull, Middlesbrough and Newcastle. With the government’s earlier announcement that this line is also to be electrified, we have a tremendous opportunity to benefit in Kirklees.”
The recommended option for redevelopment of the station will see the HS2 platforms approaching from the south and joining directly on the existing station building. A common concourse will be created, offering easy connections between classic rail and high-speed services under one roof and good pedestrian access to both the city centre to the north, and the regeneration area of South Bank.
Announcing his plans, Sir David Higgins said: “Leeds Station is already the busiest station in the north of England, and also a major transport hub for the city, Yorkshire and the wider north of England as a whole.
“Given the physical constraints of the existing station, and the rising level of demand for services, coming up with a solution that meets all those needs has not been easy, but, thanks to the efforts of the council, the Leeds City Region and the Chamber of Commerce, as well as HS2 and Network Rail experts, we have reached a consensus.”
The discussions that have led to Sir David’s announcement have involved HS2 Ltd, the Department of Transport, Network Rail, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Leeds City Council, Wakefield Council, Kirklees Council, Bradford Council, Calderdale Council, City of York Council, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and key local stakeholders such as the Leeds Chamber of Commerce.