Transport committee welcomes Transforming Cities Fund bid success

Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York are set to benefits from projects designed to improve dramatically people’s access to public transport, cycling and walking.

Transport schemes across the Leeds City Region are set to benefit from £317 million of investment from the Transforming Cities Fund, West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee members were told at their meeting today.

Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York are set to benefits from projects designed to improve dramatically people’s access to public transport, cycling and walking.

Transforming Cities Fund schemes will improve journeys by bus, rail, bike and on foot for up to 1.5 million people. This will provide them with an accessible, affordable and attractive alternative to the car.

Five-year London-style transport fund

As a result of the devolution deal announced this week between council Leaders and the Government, West Yorkshire will have access to a five year London-style transport fund from 2022-23. The Government has committed to work with the Combined Authority to develop plans for a mass transit system, which will help support clean, inclusive growth and contribute to reducing reliance on cars, helping the region to achieve its ambition to become a zero carbon economy by 2038.

The deal will also enable the Combined Authority to have freedoms and flexibilities available to other Mayoral areas to provide further investment to the Transforming Cities Fund schemes, and to manage delivery of the programme locally.

Transformational programme

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee said: “We are delighted with the government’s announcement in the budget to support our region’s Transforming Cities Fund bid, which means we will be able to deliver a transformational programme of new infrastructure, and help create a step change in travel across the region.

“The £317 million announced in the budget, one of the biggest allocations nationally, means we will be able to begin delivery of our ambitious programme, which will dramatically improve access to public transport, cycling and walking across the region.

 “The schemes that will be delivered by the programme 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 and wider connectivity across West Yorkshire.

“We have worked with partners across the region to develop the Transforming Cities Fund programme, to ensure the measures it contains will have a significant beneficial impact across communities in the region.

“Through the Transforming Cities Fund programme, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and partners across the region aim to boost public transport, build high quality infrastructure for people to travel by bike or on foot, and help us to start to address the climate crisis.”

Schemes identified

Among the schemes identified for Transforming Cities Fund investment are measures to transform Bradford city centre including better access to Bradford Interchange.

In Calderdale the Fund would be used to develop- a new bus station for Halifax and improve links between the bus and rail stations.

An upgrade of the bus station at Huddersfield in Kirklees and improved accessibility and a cycle hub at the rail station will help ensure the ‘TransPennine Upgrade-Ready’ while a new bus interchange will mean better public transport for Dewsbury.

Leeds will see major works to the front of the city’s rail station and the creation of a 700-space secure cycle parking facility in preparation for HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail and a new bus rapid transit scheme, including 5.5km of new bus lane, connecting East Leeds to the city centre and key employment sites.

In Wakefield, a package of measures will transform the city centre and remove traffic from its Northern and Civic Quarters and the Five Towns will benefit from bus priority measures, a bus hub at Glasshoughton and pedestrian and cycle improvements at Pontefract Horsefair.

Pedestrian and cycling routes between the rail and bus stations in Craven’s Skipton will be improved along with links to Skipton Academy, Craven College and high-value jobs in financial, engineering and technology sectors

Access to Harrogate rail station and bus station will be made easier through creation of a more pedestrian-friendly environment and new cycle and walking routes will provide improved access across and to the town centre and the north of the town.

Selby rail station will be at the heart of new housing and employment developments through new cycling and walking routes and a new station plaza and connections to the town’s bus station will be improved.

In York, access to the city rail station will be transformed for future growth through a reconfiguration that will improve capacity for pedestrians, cyclists and create an improved bus and taxi interchange.