Yorkshire was today given a tantalising glimpse of what the future could hold for people making journeys by rail and road to the county’s biggest airport.
New images have been released showing how the new parkway railway station planned for Leeds Bradford Airport is expected to look.
Other images issued by Leeds City Council illustrate the range of options being considered for improved road access to the airport.
Maps and fly-through videos have also been made available as a major public consultation and engagement process gets under way.
And civic chiefs today urged people to take this chance to have their say on proposals that could change the face of travel in Leeds.
Council leader Coun Judith Blake said: “We are pleased to be able to release this updated information on the proposals to improve access and connectivity to the airport, and especially the visuals which will give people an idea of what the plans could look like.
“Leeds Bradford Airport is a key element of our local and regional economy, and these plans to improve road and rail access together with local network upgrades will bring significant benefits as well as helping the airport to grow along with supporting the new jobs we expect to see in the area in the years to come.
“I would encourage as many people as possible to take part in this public consultation and engagement, find out more about all the elements involved and tell us what they think.”
Under current plans, the new station would be built between Scotland Lane and Cookridge, on the existing Leeds to Harrogate rail line.
A spur road would run between the airport and the station, which would have a 350-space car park and a bus interchange.
The three options on the table for improved road access are:
* The construction of a new road running from the A65 to A658 along the eastern side of the airport;
* A new road running from the same point on the A65, but this time meeting the A658 to the south west of the airport;
* Upgrades to existing junctions on the A65 and A658 as well as some localised road widening.
Junction and capacity improvements are also being proposed at Dawson’s Corner, Fink Hill and the Dyneley Arms.
Development work on the plans is being carried out by the council with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and other partners, including Leeds Bradford Airport.
It is hoped the parkway station could be built within the next five years, with the chosen road option being delivered by 2029.
Funding for the station would come from the £173m that was left over following the cancellation of Leeds’s trolleybus scheme.
WYCA transport committee chair Coun Kim Groves said: “Leeds Bradford Airport has huge potential for growth in passenger numbers as well as acting as a catalyst for economic development and job creation in the surrounding area.
“The proposals to develop much-needed improvements to the airport’s transport connections will help ensure it reaches that potential and I would urge people to ensure they have their say by taking part in the consultation.”
Leeds Bradford chief executive David Laws said: “These latest plans are a major step towards improving the surface access to the airport and I am delighted we now have images, an animation and fly-through videos of what the road options and parkway station could look like.
“To unleash the economic potential of our region requires major investment in our transport infrastructure, ensuring our train stations, airports and cities are properly connected.
“I would urge as many people as possible to take part and engage in the consultation which will lead to greater connectivity with our region’s main gateways.”
The public consultation and engagement process begins today and runs until April 12.
People will be able to give their views on the plans via an online survey form that can be accessed at www.leeds.gov.uk/connectinglba.
Drop-in sessions are also taking place at a number of venues over the coming weeks.
The schedule is: Yeadon Town Hall, February 25, 3pm to 7pm; Otley Courthouse, February 28, 5pm to 8pm; Greenacre Hall in Rawdon, March 5, 11.30am to 2.30pm; Cookridge Village Hall, March 9, 2pm to 5pm; Bramhope Methodist Church, March 12, 5pm to 8.30pm; The Grove Church in Horsforth, March 19, 5pm to 8.30pm.
Development work on the access schemes is taking place against a backdrop of plans for major improvements to facilities at the airport itself.
A three-storey extension to the main terminal building won planning permission at the end of last year.
It will provide larger immigration and baggage reclaim areas and an improved departure gate set-up as well as additional retail and food and drink outlets.
The scheme represents the biggest on-site investment by AMP Capital since it purchased the airport in 2017.
Construction work is scheduled to start in the spring, with Leeds Bradford bosses saying the expansion is a key part of their drive to drive up annual passenger numbers from four million to seven million by 2030.
Speaking during a presentation at Leeds’s Bridgewater Place building earlier this month, the airport’s chief executive, David Laws, said he wanted to make Leeds Bradford – and not Manchester – the first choice option for Yorkshire air travellers.