Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew has welcomed welcomed confirmation that the preferred route High Speed Rail Two (HS2) will go through Leeds.
The Government’s announcement also confirms the revised plans released last year for Leeds Station to be remodelled into an integrated ‘Yorkshire Hub’ to accommodate HS2 alongside regional and local services.
Mr Andrew said:
“This is a very significant announcement and allays those concerns that the Leeds route might not happen. This is a huge boost to the city, almost doubling the number of intercity trains, bringing new skilled jobs and adding to the reasons which makes Leeds a great place to do business.
“The fact that the government have recommended an integrated station approach is crucial. This means that HS2 can be seamlessly integrated into our city’s existing transport infrastructure and Leeds City Station will get the investment it deserves to become a world class transport hub.
“The integrated approach also means we have a real opportunity to build on the continued success of our local economy. This is a vote of confidence in the city of Leeds and the North of England.”
Leeds City Council leader, Councillor Judith Blake, said:
“This is very welcome news not only to provide further confidence that HS2 will be completed in its entirety but also to offer certainty in that everyone can now know exactly where and how it will come into Leeds. That is hugely important as now planning at all levels can be carried out in an informed way around HS2, what it means and where it will go.
“This announcement also confirms the remodelling of Leeds Station as a single integrated transport hub, which is very pleasing as it is a key element of the South Bank Leeds development which aims to provide more than 35,000 jobs, over 4,000 homes and educational facilities for over 10,000 students.”
Leeds Station is already the busiest station in the north of England used by over 100,000 passengers a day, with those numbers forecast to more than double over the next 30 years to reach a level similar to Gatwick Airport.
The ambition set out by Leeds City Council and partners is for Leeds station to become a key national landmark and transport interchange featuring high-speed HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail (formerly known as HS3), as well as being a pivotal regeneration and economic driver and asset for the city and region. The redevelopment of the station is expected to provide approximately 13,000 new jobs in Leeds.
Councillor Keith Wakefield, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said:
“HS2 will be the largest single investment in transport ever in north of England and it will deliver a transformational change to growth and jobs in West Yorkshire and the Leeds City Region economy. The combined authority is committed to a £1bn-plus programme of transport developments and recent successes have included the recently-opened new rail stations at Apperley Bridge and Kirkstall Forge and the award-winning Leeds Station Southern Entrance.”
Phase Two forms a ‘Y’ shape from the West Midlands up towards Manchester and the North West with proposed stations at Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly; and up towards Leeds and the North East with proposed stations in Leeds, the East Midlands and Sheffield Meadowhall.
It is anticipated that Phase Two of HS2 will begin operating trains around 2033 as part of the integrated HS2 network and with the rest of the UK rail network.