White Rose railway station: Building work on a new railway station halted after 'unforeseen increase in costs'

Building work on a new railway station in Leeds has been halted after an “unforeseen increase in costs.”

Workers at the White Rose railway station project on Elland Road, south of Leeds downed tools last week, while a timescale on work re-commencing remains unknown.

A joint statement to The Yorkshire Post on behalf of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Network Rail, developers Munroe K and principal contractors Spencer Group, describes “a temporary pause” in construction of the new station, but provides no indication of how long the pause may last.

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“This decision comes in light of an unforeseen increase in project costs, prompting a thorough evaluation of future funding sources to ensure the project's successful completion,” they said late yesterday.

Work has been halted on the new £26m White Rose stationWork has been halted on the new £26m White Rose station
Work has been halted on the new £26m White Rose station

The £26.5m project broke ground in March 2022 and was due to see the new rail station open for passengers in early 2024. However, previous delays had already moved the expected opening date back to the end of this year.

David Aspin, CEO and owner of Munroe K told The Yorkshire Post, “it’s a pause to recalibrate.”

Private funding for the new station has come from Munroe K, who own the adjacent White Rose Park business park. Meanwhile public sector investment comes from the Leeds City Region Transforming Cities Fund, a capital grant from central government to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme, which represents £173.5m from the Department for Transport (DfT) over a period of six years, and an additional £5m from the DfT’s New Stations Fund.

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The stakeholders say in their statement that they, “remain committed to finding a speedy solution to the present difficulties encountered and continue the progression of this critical infrastructure project.

“The White Rose Railway Station will not be just a transport hub; it is envisioned as a catalyst for regeneration, promising to unlock new education and employment opportunities, foster economic growth, and enhance connectivity within South Leeds and beyond.

“Recognising the importance of this project to the local community and economy, all parties involved have agreed that taking the time to reassess financial strategies is a prudent step forward. This pause will allow for a comprehensive review of funding options to ensure the project is delivered on the most sustainable and cost-effective basis possible.

“The project team is dedicated to minimising any delays, with the goal of resuming construction as swiftly as feasible,” the statement says.

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Mr Aspin added: “We understand the disappointment this news may bring, especially given the anticipation for the station's opening. However, we firmly believe that taking this step now is in the best interest of ensuring the project's long-term success and sustainability.

“Our focus remains on delivering a state-of-the-art railway station that will serve as a cornerstone for economic development in South Leeds."

If completed, construction of the new rail station is hoped to improve access to White Rose Park, as well as to the White Rose Shopping Centre and Millshaw Industrial Estate. Nearby Cottingley station, less than half a mile away, is planned to close once the new station is operational.

A West Yorkshire Combined Authority spokesperson said: “We are investing £22 million into White Rose Rail Station.

“This scheme is a major priority for West Yorkshire. We are committed to working with partners to see it open as soon as possible.”

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