Planned improvements to the site include a revamp of Bishopgate Street to include a ‘multi-modal transport interchange’, including ‘generously sized lifts’ and ‘sweeping steps’.
Council officers discussed the plans at a meeting this week and added that, as part of pre-application proposals, new stairs access and the pedestrianisation of New Station Street, which currently houses a taxi rank.
Plans also include ‘enhanced pedestrian and cycle friendly routes’ through Neville Street, Dark Neville Street and Victoria Road, as well as a new 700-capacity ‘cycle hub’.
In a report by planning officers, Leeds City Council claims the station is the busiest in the North of England, and that passenger numbers are expected to increase by 80 per cent over the next two decades.
The document suggests the current retaining wall to the train station forecourt, the cycle hub and rotunda staircase are set to be demolished and replaced with an ‘upgraded plaza’ along New Station Street, leading from the station entrance to Bishopgate Street.
Access would include a ‘series of grand sweeping steps and two generously sized passenger lifts’.
It adds New Station Street would be pedestrianised along its full length from its junction with Boar Lane to the point where it meets City Square.
This would mean the existing taxi rank at the front of the train station would be moved to the bottom of the new steps and lifts on Bishopgate Street. There are also plans to include extra taxi stacking ranks on Swinegate, Concordia Street and Meadow Lane.
At a meeting of Leeds City Council’s city plans panel, councillors said they were concerned at the removal of the taxi rank on New Station Street, claiming they were worried at possible effects on traffic elsewhere.
Coun Paul Wadsworth (Con) warned: “It will be chaos. When you remove the vehicles from under the dark arches to under the Queens Hotel. It just won’t happen.”
Coun Dan Cohen (Con) added that the ‘wider impact’ of the effect on the area should be taken into consideration.
No decision was made on the plans, as they are currently only at pre-application stage. A full planning application is yet to be submitted.