Delayed plans to redevelop Forster Square Railway Station have taken a step forward today as it was revealed a design and build contractor has been appointed.
The £17.3 million scheme to create a new station building, lift, and to create new shops and facilities in the station’s unused arches was first announced several years ago – with a planned completion date of March 2021.
Bradford Council has now announced that Morgan Sindall Construction has been appointed to take the redevelopment forward and is expected to make a start on the new gateway to the city centre in early 2021.
Delays to the scheme were revealed earlier this year, and work is now not starting until shortly before the redevelopment was originally due to be completed.
The redevelopment of Forster Square Station is set to include better access to Cheapside and Manor Row.
The new, larger station building would incorporate the arches behind the station and provide a new cafe, information centre, new toilets and seating, parking for 75 cars and a community garden and meadow area.
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New ‘pods’ would be installed in four of the old railway arches to provide extra facilities which could include a newsagents, cycle parking, a mess room for rail staff and a storage room for equipment for the community garden as part of the redevelopment.
Funded through the Combined Authority’s West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund, the scheme will also create better access to the city centre and the nearby Broadway shopping centre.
Feedback from a consultation on the proposals by Bradford Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Network Rail and train operator Northern show that overall, 86 per cent of respondents either approved or strongly approved of the improvements.
The plans complement the recently announced Transforming Cities Fund bid plans for four major transport schemes in Bradford city centre. The four plans include improvements to Bradford Interchange, a park and ride at south Bradford, an extension to the City Connect cycle route to the west of the city and a package of measures in the city centre.
Coun Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s executive member for regeneration, planning and transport, said: “We’re delighted to be able to be making this announcement that will take this much needed redevelopment project for the city centre another step forward.
“The proposals will improve connectivity between the station and the top of town area of the city centre and provide an impressive and welcoming gateway to Bradford city centre for commuters, shoppers and visitors.
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“They also complement the plans recently announced as part of the Transforming Cities Fund bid and the plans for more train services between Bradford and London in the near future.
“We look forward to working with Morgan Sindall Construction to develop the proposals further including preparation of a planning application for the new station in the New Year.”
Coun Kim Groves, chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee said: “Using West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund investment for this redevelopment of Bradford’s Forster Square station will support economic growth and job creation by improving transport links to the city centre while at the same time supporting our aim to combat climate change by encouraging more people to use public transport.
“When complete this scheme will mean Forster Square is a suitably impressive and welcoming gateway to Bradford that improves people’s journeys whether they are daily commuters, shoppers visiting the city centre or tourists.
“These are truly exciting times for the people of Bradford today and for future generations and I am really pleased to be working with the Council to support this scheme that will help shape the city for the 21st Century.”
Andy Hall, managing director at Morgan Sindall Construction – Yorkshire and North East - said: “The redevelopment of Forster Square Station is a landmark project for Bradford, and we’re delighted to have been appointed to work with the Council to help fulfil its exciting vision for a key gateway to the city.
“We are committed to creating employment and training opportunities for local people through our work on the project, and we look forward to collaborating with local organisations in order to ensure our presence leaves behind a skills and education boost for the people of Bradford.”