Creating a station in Bradford as part of the planned high speed rail link between Leeds and Manchester could boost the UK’s economy by billions of pounds and add 15,000 new jobs to the region, it is claimed.
Analysts at GENECON today published the first full economic impact study of a Bradford city centre station on Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR), claiming it would bolster the North’s economy by up to £15bn by 2060.
The research findings claim that a revamped Bradford Interchange connected to the high-speed link, which would see journey times to Manchester and Leeds reduced to 20 minutes and seven minutes respectively, could be the catalyst for wider city centre regeneration, significantly improving Bradford’s offer and making the city a more attractive place to live, work and invest in.
The research has been commissioned by Bradford Council to help support the campaign to Government and Transport for the North to ensure the city is connected to rather than bypassed by the NPR scheme.
A decision is expected on the preferred rail route by the end of the year and if given the go-ahead it is expected to be up and running by the mid-2030s.
In tandem with the research, new CGIs showing prospective plans for the new Bradford Interchange have been released, showcasing a new public area in front of a multi-levelled station with NPR on the lowest level.
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council leader, said: “That is the definition of transformational change, and it is exactly the impact that an ambitious project like NPR is trying to achieve. Only a city centre NPR station will have this game changing impact for our city, finally getting Bradford off the branch line and unleashing the huge economic potential of the UK’s youngest city.”
Nick Garthwaite, Bradford Chamber of Commerce president, told The Yorkshire Post that a NPR station in the city would “support inward investment opportunities in West Yorkshire, and be a catalyst for further city centre regeneration in Bradford”.
“It’s widely acknowledged that the city needs to be better connected to do that, and these figures help sell the case,” he said.
“A station would also support inward investment opportunities in West Yorkshire, and be a catalyst for further city centre regeneration in Bradford.”
Northern Powerhouse Partnership director Henri Murison said: “A 20 minute commute to Manchester, and seven minutes to get to Leeds, would be a game-changer for the people of Bradford.”
During a Northern Powerhouse transport conference earlier this month, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling was asked for assurances that a NPR station would be built in the city centre rather than further out.
He said: “I buy the argument about the city centre, but what I want to do, Northern Powerhouse Rail is a big project, we actually need to do some work together on how we improve things in Bradford sooner than that as well.
“I think the new trains will make a difference. Bradford’s Interchange isn’t the easiest of places to operate from, but we need to work together and I am very happy to do that, to see what else we can do for Bradford in the short term.”