Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew has branded proposed road links to Leeds-Bradford Airport as “completely inadequate” – and renewed calls for a rail link to the airport.
The initial public consultation on improving road access to the airport comes to an end on Friday.
The survey asks for the views of participants on three possible options for improving road access to the airport, with two seeing the creation of a new link road from the A65 to the A658, while an alternative consists of upgrades to the existing route and junctions.
Mr Andrew said that in meetings with the airport, representatives have given many examples of times they have lost out on business and investment due to a lack of a rail link. He said the council’s proposals raise further concerns about development on the greenbelt in the Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough constituency, just after he suggested a complete rethink was required for the Council’s site allocations plan for new housing across the city.
In his response to the consultation, Mr Andrew wrote:
“With Government investment in northern infrastructure, now is the time to support a rail, rather than road, link. A rail service from LBIA to the existing Leeds, Horsforth and Harrogate line would mean a journey time of as little as nine minutes would be possible from the city centre.
“This can form part of a more joined-up approach to rail travel across Leeds, making use of the benefits of the upcoming HS2 line and the redevelopment of Leeds station. For this opportunity to be missed, by only providing a link road to the Airport, would be a real shame.”
Mr Andrew added:
“My constituents who have contacted me about this have overwhelmingly agreed that a rail link is the way forward to support the Airport in its plans for growth. I would urge the Council to rethink these plans, and liaise with groups like Transport for the North, who have a duty to ensure the very best infrastructure in the north. Connecting one of the north’s fastest growing airports surely needs to form part of this investment.”
Mr Andrew said he recently met with Andrew Jones at the Department for Transport to discuss the plans and was ‘encouraged’ that he agreed to look further at the issue.
Improving road access at the airport has been prioritised in the short to medium-term as a way of aiding the growth of the airport and the local and regional economy. In addition to better road access, Leeds City Council, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds Bradford Airport have said they are examining the possibility of a rail link in the longer term.
Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning Councillor Richard Lewis said:
“We are now in the final week of this initial consultation so I would encourage as many people as possible to take part and give us their views before the deadline on Friday.
“The consultation has sparked a great deal of debate which is what we wanted and I’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time to either come to one of the drop-in sessions or fill in the survey.
“Leeds Bradford Airport has a key role to play in the future growth of our economy, so we’d like to hear the views of many more people before this initial consultation period ends.”
Leeds Bradford Airport is one of the fastest growing in the UK, used by 3.3million passengers a year.