GOVERNMENT has today awarded Bradford Council £400,000 to help develop plans for a new city centre rail station – and one minister says details on the station will likely be revealed within the next year.
In October, rail minister Huw Merriman visited Bradford the day after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s announcement that Bradford would get more than £2 billion to develop a new rail station.
Today (Tuesday) he returned to the city to announce that the first set of funding towards the scheme has been unlocked – the Council will get £400,000 to begin masterplanning for the project.
This will include regeneration of the area around the proposed new station, expected to be at the current St James’ Market site off Wakefield Road.
The Department for Transport today said: “This work will consider how the new station can best support regeneration in the surrounding area and maximise its potential to create new homes, jobs and local economic growth – as well as significantly improving transport links and cutting journey times.”
Once complete, the findings will form part of a wider business case for the project which will include details on the proposed location and delivery date for the station.
More detail of the plans are expected to be revealed roughly this time next year, and Bradford Council’s leader says the station will be delivered within 10 years.
On a visit to Bradford Interchange today, Mr Merriman said: “I have championed the case for a new railway station in Bradford for a long time and the funding announced today will make this commitment one step closer to becoming a reality.
“Bradford is soon to become the UK’s City of Culture and our scheme to deliver a brand new station and railway line will help attract tourism, unlock access to neighbouring cities and provide the area with the huge regeneration opportunities it deserves to boost connectivity and economic growth.”
Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: “This £400,000 will make sure we can staff up and accelerate the plans. We need to look at things like land acquisitions, things we need to accelerate the project.
“I believe we can deliver the station within 10 years, that’s what we’re working towards.
“It is great that we’ve got the Department for Transport and the Department of Levelling Up backing us. It is good to see everyone willing Bradford to succeed.
“Everyone has worked so hard for so long to get this progressed. Improving connectivity for Bradford to the rest of the North is so important to enable greater investment, jobs and opportunities.
“There can be no successful North without Bradford being successful.”
She said the new station would also have to incorporate the West Yorkshire Mass Transit system.
Mr Merriman told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “At the beginning of October I came here the day after the Prime Minister’s announcement. I came to Bradford because finally Bradford is getting that commitment for a new station.
“This £400,000 will help the Council to the checks needed to take the station proposals further.
“It is a really important partnership we have with the Council. We’re providing the funding and support they need to scope out the options they have before them.
“This work will not just be good for transport, it will help Bradford’s regeneration ambitions and the development of housing and office space.”
When asked if there was a timetable being imposed on the funding, he replied: “This time next year we hope the Council is in the position where the best option has been locked down ready for that option to be taken forward. We have to make sure the decision chosen is the best decision.”
The Council has previously said any new station would be the centrepiece of a “Southern gateway” to the city – an area that will be targeted for regeneration.
On top of the £400,000 announced today for regeneration plans in the city, a total of £2bn will be invested to build the station and a new line to deliver a faster, 30-minute journey to Manchester via Huddersfield.
The Government has announced a further £2.5bn Network North pledge to support the West Yorkshire Mass Transit System which will improve connections between Leeds and Bradford, Huddersfield and Halifax.