£500m blueprint to transform Leeds Station revealed

AN AMBITIOUS £500m plan to remodel Leeds Station into a 'world class gateway' at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse has been revealed.

The masterplan would transform Leeds Station and the surrounding area. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
The masterplan would transform Leeds Station and the surrounding area. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Leeds Council’s Executive Board will be asked next week to agree to proposed blueprint for the future of the station that aims to boost regional connectivity, create an integrated “transport hub” and maximise the benefits of HS2 in the city.

The masterplan sets out an ambition for the station, which is currently used by 100,000 people a day, to become a “major national landmark”, with new entrances, a new concourse, additional platforms, and new retail and leisure spaces in the surrounding area.

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The document, to be considered by members on Wednesday, sets out a range of principles agreed by Leeds Council, HS2 Ltd, Network Rail, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Transport for the North, Department for Transport and the Department of Communities and Local Government.

It lays out pivotal regeneration steps that would create a “destination station” for the city centre, linking the South Bank with City Square that celebrates travel and proudly announces arrival into Leeds that “speaks to the unique characteristics of the city”.

It would “seamlessly integrate” national, regional and local transport modes and optimise connectivity for users, the report says.

The blueprint includes creating a “station campus district” of high quality developments including commercial, residential and leisure sites over 3m square ft. New leisure and retail space will also be created by the transformation of Neville Street and the Dark Arches.

Multiple new entrances will be created, with City Square becoming a predominantly public space, the pedestrianisation of New Station Street and a shared public space extended onto Bishopgate Street.

The masterplan takes into account plans for the city’s South Bank announced as part of its bid to become European Capital of Culture 2023, including a new pedestrian route similar in scale to Briggate connecting Temple Works and Leeds Dock.

A new central concourse inside the stations would connect HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and existing rail services, with an overbridge giving access to other platforms.

New drop off and pick up points would also be created, with a focus on disabled provision, new car parking and a cycling hub.

There is also potential for a new roof to offer improved lighting, the report says, and a new footbridge at Bridgewater Road.

Work on the remodelling of the station has been led by world-renowned development experts Atkins, who previously worked on the Dubai Metro and London’s Crossrail project.

Hiro sdo, who was behind the acclaimed redevelopment of King’s Cross Station in London, is the lead architect.

The leader of Leeds Council, Coun Judith Blake said: “Leeds Station has a vital role to play in the future of our city and the wider region, boosting connectivity and being a key driver of social and economic improvement and opportunity.

“Aside from being a fully integrated transport hub, we want it to be a distinctive, attractive place people want to be and visit, with a clear identity as a welcoming gateway to our city and beyond. As a major asset for the city, region and the north as a whole, its potential must be maximised to become a catalyst for inward investment, job creation and to generate inclusive growth for the benefit of all.”