Leeds' political and business leaders travel to Westminster to make case for £500m station investment
A delegation from Leeds has travelled to Westminster today to call on the Government to recognise the “incredible potential” of the regeneration plans linked to the arrival of HS2 in the city.
City council leader Judith Blake will join David Laws, chief executive of Leeds Bradford Airport, and Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity will make the case for government investment in Leeds Station.
HS2 is set to arrive in Leeds by 2033 if the northern leg of the route gets Parliamentary approval
A business case for the £500m Leeds Integrated Station Masterplan, which would turn the station into a “world-class gateway” able to accommodate HS2 and the Northern Powerhouse Rail project connecting the great cities of the North, was submitted to the Department for Transport last year.
The delegation going to the event in the Commons today is part of the ‘Leeds Key to the North’ project which been working with businesses across the city for a number of months on plans to transform the station.
Coun Blake said an integrated station will “help rebalance the economy and act as the catalyst for wider regeneration opportunities within the city, not least the work that has already begun on the South Bank”.
She said: “Today we are calling on Government to recognise this incredible potential and back our ambitious plans for the station. We have established Leeds Key to the North to explain how important this vision is for realising that potential.
“Our ambitions also have at their heart the people of Leeds and the wider region, to bring them on the journey with us, share in the economic benefits and create a station that will support everyone to thrive.”
Mr Laws said: “To unleash the economic potential of the north requires major investment in our transport infrastructure, ensuring our train stations, airports and cities are properly connected.
“Alongside the plans to deliver a new train station at Leeds Bradford Airport, we recognise the significant opportunity to create a world-class transport hub in the heart of Leeds city centre.
“That is why Yorkshire’s Airport and the business community is fully behind these plans and we will be making this known to government ministers.”
Yesterday, Rail Minister and Harrogate MP Andrew Jones described claims that the northern stages of HS2 will be scrapped as “nonsense” amid fears that the Government is planning to scale back the project because of its mounting costs.
Speaking at the Transport for the North conference in Sheffield, Mr Jones said cancelling any part of the flagship rail scheme connecting London to Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham would be a “betrayal of the North”.
And he said it was not a matter of choosing between HS2 and the £39bn Northern Powerhouse Rail project connecting the biggest cities of the North as “both are needed for our region”.
He spoke amid reports that the Government is considering the future of HS2 due to concerns over its spiralling costs.
A Channel 4 documentary aired last night will claim that although published national accounts show HS2 will rise to an average cost of £4.2billion a year over the next ten years, Ministers have secretly allocated up to £6billion a year.