Bradford Council is planning major changes to the city centre in a bid to get a station on the new Manchester to Leeds train station. The proposed station could dramatically cut journey times to Leeds and Manchester.
Under the proposals the site currently occupied by Bradford’s St James’ Wholesale Market will be taken over by a new city centre NPR station. It would, they say, slash journey times to just seven minutes to Leeds and Manchester to 22 minutes. It would have a major boost to the city connecting attracting investment, encouraging enterprise and creating jobs. However, the city is still not as yet part of the NPR plans.
“It is disgraceful that a place the size of Bradford is still not on the mainline. We have two local stations that are not fit for purpose, or properly linked at all,” said Council Leader Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, who is also chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority. “If the Government is serious about its levelling up agenda then providing the funding for an NPR station in Bradford city centre is a no brainer. The Prime Minister said that he supported an NPR route between Leeds and Manchester back in summer 2019 but we are still waiting for that commitment to be backed up.”
She added that: “We have a compelling case that shows Bradford city centre on a new line is the strongest of all shortlisted options from Manchester to Leeds – achieving the highest number of jobs, the most trips, the highest impact on the local economy and the greatest regeneration benefits.
“What more does the Government need to give us the green light for this transformational project?”
Replacing the St James Wholesale Market would be controversial in itself. It is the largest in the Yorkshire and North East region and is under pressure to expand into a major northern food hub. However, for that it may need to move from its current position which, despite demand, has no scope for expansion.
“We are very proud to have one of the largest wholesale markets in the North of England and are committed to that continuing in Bradford,” Councillor Hinchcliffe added. “Indeed, we want to enable it to develop further and prosper and become one of the most pre-eminent wholesale markets in the country. St James’s Market is outgrowing its current location and we will work with the traders to find a new, bigger and better, site in the district when it’s needed. We would not envisage work on the station starting before 2024-25 to be open for 2030.”