Masterplan to make station a '˜world class gateway' to city

A long-term masterplan to rebuild Leeds Station is being drawn up which will see extra platforms, new concorurse areas and extra retail space as the city aims to create a 'world class gateway' for visitors.

Leeds Station during the afternoon rush hour today. Picture: James Hardisty.

Leeds Station is already one of the the busiest transport hubs in the north and the council and partner agencies want to begin work now to accommodate HS2 and HS3 as well as expected growth on the existing network.

The project could involve opening up the Dark Arches to create new pedestrian areas and to remove traffic from Neville Street and City Square, Leeds is to work with London and Continental Railways, the Government-owned property company that helped mastermind the successful Kings Cross Central scheme and the design work is being led by Hiro Aso of Gensler, the architect of the Kings Cross station renovation.

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To oversee the redevelopment Leeds City Council has pulled together a group of all the organisations with a stake in the station to work on the plans, including, Hs2 Ltd, Transport for the North, WY Combined Authority, Network Rail, Leeds Chamber of Commerce, Leeds BID, DfT and DCLG.

Leeds Station during the afternoon rush hour today. Picture: James Hardisty.

The project board is chaired by Tom Bridges, Chief Officer Economy and Regeneration at Leeds City Council.

He told the YEP: “The intention is to create a long-term blueprint for a world class gateway, which will bring together the new HS2 platforms, HS3, new capacity as a result of the Transpennine upgrade and new concourse areas to create a world class hub. The intention is to enable people to move through and under the station easily and pleasantly even if they are not catching the train.”

Leeds Station is already used by 29 million people a year and is one of the busiest stations in the north. Soon Leeds Station will be used by more people each day than Gatwick Airport is currently.

Mr Bridges added: “We are also looking to maximise the commercial development potential. The shopping centre with the busiest footfall in Leeds is the station, we just don’t think of it in that way currently. We are looking at how stations like St Pancras or Canary Wharf Crossrail (which is yet to be served by trains) have become retail and leisure destinations in their own right.”

Leeds Station during the afternoon rush hour today. Picture: James Hardisty.