Bradford Interchange rail gateway to benefit from investment while solution for bus station is found

Investment to boost rail gateway as Combined Authority waits for in-depth surveys to determine bus Interchange future.

31 May 2024

Plans to create an enhanced rail gateway at Bradford Interchange using part of a repurposed £22 million funding pot have been set out by West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Bradford Council.

It’s part of a commitment from the Combined Authority to invest while a longer-term solution for the bus station is found.

An update report by the Combined Authority has today revealed that the bus station will remain closed until September as in-depth surveys are completed to determine if it can ever be safely reopened.

The report said the bus station, which was built in the 1970s and is at the end of its 50-year lifespan, has become increasingly difficult to maintain and a decision will soon be made on its viability.

The Combined Authority has committed to continue investing in the broader Bradford Interchange site while a long-term solution is found. The council is working with the Combined Authority to support this.

Plans are now in place to create an enhanced rail gateway from the Interchange train station, drawing on £22 million of funding previously set aside for Bradford Interchange improvements.

Officers from the Combined Authority and Council have also reviewed a shortlist of locations where a temporary bus facility fit for Bradford UK City of Culture 2025 could be established should the Interchange not reopen by that point.

The report highlighted the challenges involved in maintaining such a large and complex structure, and details how more than £13 million has been invested into repairs and maintenance in recent years.

The report also included findings from the initial survey report – ordered by the Mayor Tracy Brabin after the bus station was closed by officials on January 4 – which found that drainage issues had resulted in widespread water leakage and corrosion to steelwork. The engineers determined that more in-depth surveys are needed before a final decision can be made.

West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin said:

“We are very sorry for the disruption caused by the closure of the bus station and roadworks linked to investment in the city centre.

“We are working flat out to come to the right decision on the future of the Interchange, bearing in mind the critical importance of public safety.

“In the meantime, residents and businesses have my word that we will continue to invest in Bradford to make a great success of this magnificent city as its 2025 UK City of Culture year approaches.”

Bradford Council leader Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe said:

"We all know just how difficult the closure of the Interchange has clearly been for passengers and local businesses. I understand and share the frustration felt.  

"It’s in everyone’s interests to get the findings of the surveys the Combined Authority has commissioned as quickly as possible. We need clear answers on the future of the building.

“We are working closely with the Combined Authority to plan next steps whatever the outcome of the surveys."

Prioritising public safety, the efficient use of taxpayers’ money, and minimising disruption have been at the heart of the Combined Authority’s decision making throughout. The ongoing closure of the Interchange is costing more than £200,000 per month.

Options on the table for the future of the Interchange bus station include permanent closure, a partial reopening or full reopening.

A report will be brought to the September meeting of the Combined Authority to determine next steps, once outcomes from the more in-depth surveys are known.

The Combined Authority is now considering its future capital allocations in preparation for the results of the surveys.