St James Wholesale Market in Bradford could become a 'northern food hub' if city gets a Northern Powerhouse Rail station

A 'northern food hub' could be created in Bradford if a wholesale market site in the city is turned into a station for the Northern Powerhouse rail high speed line.

Bradford's council leader Susan Hinchcliffe revealed yesterday that St James Market, the biggest wholesale market site in Yorkshire, was the location where local leaders want to build a new station.

They hope the station will be on the Northern Powerhouse Rail route between Leeds and Manchester, slashing journey times to both cities, and would replace the city's existing Interchange.

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A Northern Powerhouse Rail station at St James Wholesale Market could help Bradf...
Bradford's council leader Susan Hinchcliffe revealed yesterday that St James Market, the biggest wholesale market site in Yorkshire, was the location where local leaders want to build a new station. Pic: Simon Hulme

No decisions have been made about the exact route for the rail line into and out of the new station, and there are no immediate implications for traders at St James Wholesale Market.

But the six-acre council-owned site is the largest in Yorkshire and the North East region and officials, who want to expand it, say there is potential to create a 'northern food hub' by moving it elsewhere in the district.

This would have "a new larger and more accessible modern wholesale market centre stage, creating more jobs, strengthening local and regional food distribution as well as market access for regional food producers".

Labour-run Bradford council says the market remains fully let "with no opportunity to expand on the current site despite strong demand from existing businesses wishing to expand and new businesses wishing to locate here to take advantage of the 500 local and regional retailers that use the market each week".

And they say that as a city, Bradford's equidistant location between London and Edinburgh and Liverpool and Hull means it is in an ideal location for the movement of fresh produce across the UK.

Coun Hinchcliffe added: “We are very proud to have one of the largest wholesale markets in the North of England and are committed to that continuing in Bradford.

"Indeed we want to enable it to develop further and prosper and become one of the most pre-eminent wholesale markets in the country.

"St James’s Market is outgrowing its current location and we will work with the traders to find a new, bigger and better, site in the district when it’s needed.

"We would not envisage work on the station starting before 2024-25 to be open for 2030."

She added: “Over time the Interchange rail station would close with all train and bus services moving to the new St James station.

"The new station and Forster Square would be connected to each other as part of the West Yorkshire mass transit plan, integrating with the bus and road networks, as well as safe cycling and walking routes."