As one of the main gateways into Calderdale, the proposed major upgrade to the station and surrounding area would bring far-reaching benefits to the borough.
Coun Barry Collins, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Strategy, said: “The massive amount of regeneration in Halifax and across Calderdale is putting our area on the national and international map, so it’s important to have an excellent train station – it’s often people’s first impression of the town and their link to our fantastic facilities.
“Around two million people use Halifax train station every year, and we have an ambitious target to see 50% more rail trips in 2026 than in 2016. Improving the station and the way people access it would help meet future demand. It would also improve the travel experience, create a more attractive environment and boost the local economy by increasing investment, jobs and tourism.
“This is part of Calderdale’s Next Chapter, which will see major developments in transport, public spaces and business premises.”
Coun Keith Wakefield, Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee said: “This is just the kind of scheme, generating inclusive growth to the local economy and connecting people with new opportunities and jobs, that we established the £1bn West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund to deliver.
“Improving the welcome to the town provided by its busy station is part of a joint programme of works between west Yorkshire Combined Authority and Calderdale Council that will transform Halifax and the rest of the district.”
The Council has considered a number of design options in partnership with Network Rail, Northern and other organisations. The concept design being recommended for Cabinet approval includes:
A proposed new station at platform level
A transport interchange combining all modes of travel to and from the station
Replacement of the station access bridge with an attractive landscaped entrance to the new station
A new car park and drop-off, pick-up and taxi points
Reopening the third platform in front of the ‘1855 building’
New areas for shops or food and drink businesses
Accessibility for everyone, including step-free access, is a key feature of the design, as well as the blend of old and new. The proposals include a modern glass façade for the main building, combined with preserved historic features such as the existing stone arches supporting the access bridge.
The transformation of Halifax train station is part of the Council’s work to invest in transport infrastructure using the Leeds City Region’s £1 billion West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund. The fund is being invested over 10 years in more than 30 transport infrastructure schemes across West Yorkshire and York, designed to create around 20,000 new jobs and add £2.4 billion a year to the economy by the mid-2030s.
Cabinet approval of the station’s early design would enable the Council to seek funding from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. More detailed designs would be prepared by 2019 and consulted on during spring 2019. Subject to further approvals, it is anticipated that construction could start in 2021.
Alongside the station plans, the Council is working on a £40 million project for the once-in-a-lifetime transformation of Halifax town centre as part of the A629 Phase 2 West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund work to reduce congestion on the route between Halifax and Huddersfield and to boost the local economy.
Proposed improvements include better cycling facilities and footpaths; improved bus / rail interchange and on-street infrastructure; easier, safer and more enjoyable pedestrian access to shops and leisure facilities; a public space next to The Piece Hall, new Central Library and Archives and Square Chapel Arts Centre to create a safer, more pleasant space for pedestrians and people arriving by train and bus; better links to Dean Clough; and much more. Construction is anticipated to start in 2019.
To achieve the full range of benefits, the Council, subject to Cabinet approval, will need to purchase land in the town centre to enable the scheme to be delivered.
A Side Roads Order is also required to enable the works to go ahead, and approval for this is also being sought from Cabinet. The order would allow some roads to be altered to facilitate the Phase 2 scheme.