Transformational transport schemes presented as West Yorkshire Combined Authority plans long term recovery from COVID-19 pandemic

Projects to improve cycling and walking infrastructure across Leeds City Region to go before the Investment Committee

A package of schemes that will transform the way people can travel across the region, as well as support the region’s long-term recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, are being presented to members of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Investment Committee. 

The virtual meeting, being held on Tuesday 9 June, will hear details of schemes which will help more people walk and cycle, as well as measures to support  reliable and fit for purpose public transport services across the Leeds City Region. 

Members of the Investment Committee will hear how the schemes will form part of the region’s response to the pandemic, ensuring people have safe and reliable alternatives to using cars, whilst also helping the Leeds City Region reach its ambition of being a net zero carbon City Region by 2038 and improve air quality. 

Five of those schemes will be funded through the transformative £317 million Transforming Cities Fund – a investment fund designed to improve journeys by bus, rail, bike and on foot for up to 1.5 million people across the Leeds City Region. 

Cllr Denise Jeffery, Chair of the Investment Committee and Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “It’s vital that we invest in the right schemes now to lay the foundations for our region’s successful recovery from the impacts of the pandemic. 

These schemes will build on previous investment and will benefit a wide range of communities across the Leeds City Region at the same time as enabling much needed regeneration in our town centres and cities.” 

The Transforming Cities Fund schemes set to go before the Investment Committee are: 

  • Connecting Leeds from South Leeds and through Wakefield (A61 South) - A £7 million package of improvements to help improve reliability of bus services and improve facilities for passengers as well as providing new cycle and walking lanes.   
  • Active and Sustainable Interchange for Harrogate – An £8.4 million scheme to improve the area surrounding the town’s railway station and improving cycling and walking access in Harrogate and nearby Knaresborough. 
  • Active and Sustainable Travel across Skipton Town Centre – A £5.8 million package of improvements to access to the town’s railway station and the surrounding area as well as better connectivity between the station, the bus station and the town centre for pedestrians and cyclists. 
  • Active and sustainable travel to Selby Gateway – A £19.5 million package of improvements to Selby Railway Station including providing better access to the town centre and bus, walking and cycling routes. 
  • 'Connecting Leeds’ towards Castleford and the Five Towns (A639) - A £10.9 million package of measures to meet the growing demand from rail, bus and bicycle users and improve access for pedestrians.  

Also part of the Transforming Cities Fund Programme is the Halifax Station Gateway - a £33.62 million scheme to build a new railway station and pedestrian bridge to the town centre as well as improving connections to the station and other pedestrian and cycling routes. This scheme was previously being delivered through the West Yorkshire Transport Fund. 

The Transforming Cities Fund is a key part of the West Yorkshire devolution deal – aagreement between the UK Government and the Leaders of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield Councils which will bring new powers and more than £1.8 billion in funding into local control. 

A public consultation is currently underway on the devolution deal and can be found at https://www.yourvoice.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/wydevolution 

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said: “As a region, we have suffered from decades of underinvestment which has resulted in communities feeling isolated from opportunities in employment and education. 

We know that the ability of households in poverty to find paid work often depends on access to affordable, regular and reliable transport. So it’s vital that we invest in the right schemes to enable people to travel in a sustainable and low-carbon way.” 

Members will also discuss a numbeof other schemes designed to improve walking, cycling and public transport options: 

  • A641 Bradford-Brighouse-Huddersfield Corridor – A £95.1 million scheme for better walking and cycling facilities and bus priority measures in Brighouse town centre and along the A641 to improve connections to Bradforand Huddersfield. 
  • The Safety, Accessibility and Efficiency Programme: Investing in Bus Stations, Shelters and Clean Growth – A £1.9 million scheme to repair and improve bus stations and shelters around the region designed to encourage more people to use public transport and reduce future maintenance costs. 
  • Leeds City Centre Package: Armley Gyratory – £61.5 million scheme which brings together a package of improvements to reduce traffic going through the city centrecreate better walking and cycling facilities and improve public transport reliability. 
  • Holmfirth Town Centre – A £3.97 million scheme to reduce congestion and improve accessibility to and from the town centre for people travelling by foot, bicycle and bus. 
  • CityConnect: Cross Church Street, Huddersfield – A £2.09 million scheme to improve facilities for people to walk and cycle, and provide a reduction of traffic by 90%. It will also support better access to the train and bus stations and places of employment and education. 
  • Monitoring, Evaluation and Bid Development – A £700,000 scheme to support delivery of the West Yorkshire Transport Strategy 2040 which will also play an important role in the Combined Authority’s response to COVID-19.