Leeds City Region bid for £1/2 billion to transform transport for all

Two new bus park and rides, six new and improved bus stations, 800 new cycle parking spaces, six key priority bus routes, improvements to seven rail stations and one new station and new, high-quality cycle routes along six corridors are all part of Leeds City Region’s £1/2 billion-plus bid to the government’s Transforming Cities Fund.

Two new bus park and rides, six new and improved bus stations, 800 new cycle parking spaces, six key priority bus routes, improvements to seven rail stations and one new station and new, high-quality cycle routes along six corridors are all part of Leeds City Region’s £1/2 billion-plus bid to the government’s Transforming Cities Fund.

If successful, the funding will result in over 1,100 new jobs being created, £1 billion being added to the local economy. It will also mean a reduction of up to 15,000 tons of CO2 emissions from transport by 2036, which will help the City Region become carbon neutral and tackle the climate emergency.

Making it easier

Better access to rail stations, bus priority along key transport corridors and improved facilities will mean 33 million rail journeys a year made easier for local passengers, more than eight million additional journeys on West Yorkshire’s buses and 12 million fewer car trips across the City Region. Plans also mean people living and working across the region will be able to make more journeys by bike or on foot, with changes to town and city centres making it easier for people to choose to travel more sustainably.

Better connectivity resulting from a successful bid will also support the building of 45,000 new homes at 650 sites and the development of almost 1,600 hectares of employment premises at 220 locations.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority has developed the bid in partnership with district partners, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, North Yorkshire, Selby, Wakefield and York councils. It includes proposed transport improvements that will benefit residents, businesses and their employees in each of those areas and will result in communities having better access to an affordable, cleaner and attractive transport network, in line with the West Yorkshire Transport Strategy 2040.

The Leeds City Region bid will deliver sustainable transport that is essential to enable everyone to access skills and job opportunities, tackle the climate emergency and raise productivity across the Leeds City Region.

Transformational change

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee said: “Clean, sustainable public transport, walking and cycling are the focus of the Leeds City Region Transforming Cities Fund bid.

“The schemes in the Bid are in line with our Transport Strategy and will complement the significant investment we are already making through the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund and the Connecting Leeds programme as well as our emerging plans for mass transit.

“Our Transforming Cities Fund bid aims to engender a transformational change in behaviour, by providing people across West Yorkshire and the City Region with opportunities to make reliable, safe and attractive journeys by using public transport and by walking and cycling.

“We have taken a holistic approach to putting this Transforming Cities Fund bid together to ensure the measures it contains will deliver significant benefits for as many people as possible across the City Region.”

Addressing the challenges

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council said: “Through this ambitious City Region Transforming Cities Fund bid we are setting out how we plan to improve people’s access to employment, education and training and our businesses’ ability to grow and invest with access to a valuable and skilled local workforce.

“Crucially, it addresses the challenges currently experienced by our most disadvantaged communities where people are cut off from opportunities because they don’t have access to affordable and sustainable travel.

“This bid will provide local people with a real alternative to travelling by car, enabling them to make sustainable journeys that are better for their physical and mental wellbeing and our environment and it will enable us to reshape our town and city centres by putting people at their heart.”

Bradford

Among the schemes contained in the Leeds City Region bid are plans to transform Bradford city centre to reduce traffic and improve air quality and improve links between its Interchange and Forster Square rail stations. A new park and ride to the south of the city will ease congestion and boost investment, a new, high-quality segregated cycle route linking west Bradford to the city centre is also planned.

Calderdale

In Calderdale, there will be improvements to Halifax rail station, including better access and a new footbridge and a new bus station linked to the new Calderdale College site. Halifax town centre will be made more accessible for people walking and cycling and there would be a new, high-quality segregated cycle route linking north Halifax to the town centre. Also, there will be improved routes by bike or on foot to the new Elland rail station and new cycle and pedestrian routes through Brighouse.

A consultation on plans for the new Halifax Bus station is scheduled to take place between Monday 13 January and Wednesday 12 February.

Craven

Skipton rail station and bus station in Craven district will have better connections for people walking and travelling by bicycle and there would also be enhanced cycling and walking routes linking with Skipton Academy, Craven College and employment areas.

Harrogate

Access to Harrogate rail and bus stations will be improved by the creation of a more pedestrian-friendly environment. Also, new cycling and walking routes will provide improved access across and to the town centre and better links to healthcare and employment opportunities to the north of the town. A new, high-quality segregated cycle route to Knaresborough will provide better connectivity to Harrogate, Starbeck and Knaresborough rail stations.

Kirklees

In Kirklees, a refurbishment of Huddersfield bus station and an upgrade of the town’s rail station will improve public transport access and new routes would mean better links for people who walk and cycle. Access to Dewsbury town centre will be transformed by a new bus station and high-quality walking and cycling routes to the town centre and Kirklees College. These improvements will also support the delivery of the TransPennine Route Upgrade.

Bus users in Cleckheaton and Heckmondwike will benefit from new bus hubs and there will be improvements to bus reliability and cycling and walking routes on the A638 between Dewsbury and Bradford and from Batley towards Leeds on the A653.

A new, high-quality segregated cycle route will link Huddersfield town centre and East Huddersfield.

Leeds

Major works to the front of Leeds rail station will improve access for people travelling to the station by foot or on bike and will include a 700-space secure cycle parking facility. Improvements to the Leeds rail station will also prepare the city for the arrival of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail routes.

A new rail station at White Rose will increase capacity to accommodate future employment growth, support access to key employment and retail centres and provide an interchange between bus and rail services. The communities of Churwell, Millshaw and Cottingley will have greater access to jobs and education opportunities through these improvements

New, high-quality cycle infrastructure will link communities on the periphery of the city centre, enabling more people to access jobs in central and new jobs and colleges in Leeds South Bank by bike.

Bus priority in east Leeds, which will improve capacity for commuters travelling from the east of the City Region to the city centre and will also reduce congestion and improve service reliability for residents and commuters.

Selby

With a new plaza and bus interchange, Selby rail station will be at the heart of developing new housing and employment as a result of new cycling and walking routes to the town centre. A new footbridge will also provide direct access to future employment opportunities at the town’s Olympia Park site.

Wakefield

Wakefield city centre will be transformed and traffic in the Northern and Civic Quarters reduced. There will be new and enhanced cycle links including a new cycle route between Wakefield Kirkgate and the city centre as well as improved pedestrian access from the bus station.

New bus priority and cycling and walking infrastructure on the A61 and A639 corridors will complement these measures and improve sustainable travel between Leeds and Wakefield.

York

Sustainable access to York’s rail station will be transformed by a reconfiguration of the area in front of it to improve capacity for pedestrians and cyclists and to create an improved bus and taxi interchange. There will also be new cycling and walking routes between the station and the city centre.

These improvements will also support the York Central development site behind the station, which includes 90,000m2 of commercial space and 2,500 new homes.

More details of Leeds City Region bid, including the Bid Document, the Vision and the Executive summary.