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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Area around new station could become ‘Kings Cross of the North’

The area around a new rail station in Bradford could become “the King’s Cross of the North” according to the Department for Transport.

On Tuesday Rail Minister Huw Merriman visited Bradford to announce a £24m investment to build a new rail platform at Forster Square station.

On the same visit, Mr Merriman spoke with local political and transport bosses on another, much bigger rail scheme that was announced last year.

£2 billion has been pledged by the Government for a new rail station in the city – with the facility likely to be a key part of the proposed ‘Southern Gateway’ to Bradford.

The gateway area between Manchester Road and Leeds Road has been touted as a major part of Bradford’s long-term regeneration and will include the future station as well as new housing, office space and employment sites.

When announcing the new station last year, the Department for Transport said it would vastly improve rail links in the city and would halve journey times to Manchester.

Bradford Council had previously proposed a new station on the St James’ Wholesale Market site off Wakefield Road – but Mr Merriman said this week that several different sites were being looked at for the potential station.

Tuesday’s release from the Department for Transport, announcing the Forster Square investment, referred to the funding for the new station.

It said: “The meeting follows closely on the heels of £400,000 committed to the Bradford in November to accelerate the council’s masterplans for the new station, which will see it become ‘the King’s Cross of the North’.”

The redevelopment of the King’s Cross area of London has been one of the biggest regeneration success stories in recent decades.

The once run-down section of the capital has become a thriving area with new office developments, restaurants, shops and public spaces.

On Tuesday Mr Merriman told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that Bradford had “massive potential”.

Talking about the meeting he had with local leaders earlier that day, he said: “We’re really focussed on progressing this brand-new station for Bradford, and all the housing, offices, jobs and other regeneration that will occur in this city on the back of it.

“I’m really happy with the progress. We are all committed to working together and everyone is rowing together at a very fast pace.

“With the scale of this, it is important that there are no errors – it is right that we scope out all potential sites and narrow it down to the site that has the most potential.”

Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe said a business case for the new station would be sent to the Department for Transport later this year.

She added: “It is not just about the station – it is about the regeneration around it – the housing and commercial space. It all helps with the regeneration of the city.”

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