New preferred site for Leeds' HS2 station announced

Image source, PA
Image caption,
HS2 was originally due to reach Leeds by 2033 but project boss Sir David Higgins has called for work to speed up

Plans to integrate Leeds' proposed HS2 station with the city's existing railway station have been announced.

Dubbed "The Yorkshire Hub", the proposal favours a plans to build on the south bank of the River Aire.

A report by HS2 boss Sir David Higgins said the original location in New Lane was "too isolated" and "too detached".

Leeds councillor Keith Wakefield said it was "great news" and he hoped the new station would become a "St Pancras in the North".

Image caption,
The proposed rail link will split at Birmingham to create a Y-shape with links to Leeds and Manchester

The report considered three options; incorporating HS2 into the existing station, building a new integrated station, or building a new station in New Lane.

Sir David said the preferred integrated option "connects HS2 and existing rail services through a common concourse, allows for the growth in Northern Powerhouse rail and local services, and provides easy access to the city centre and motorway network, whilst creating the potential for a landmark architectural statement".

In a letter, regional civic and business leaders said: "The proposed Leeds hub station, integrating HS2, Northern Powerhouse rail and improved local and regional rail services, will transform the economy of Leeds and the city region.

"We now need to make this a reality and create a transport hub the nation can be proud of."

Mr Wakefield, the transport committee chairman for West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said: "This is great news for Leeds. Our aspiration should be St Pancras in the North."

The recommendation will now be considered by the chancellor. A final decision on the route between Birmingham and Leeds is due to be made in autumn 2016.

The proposed high-speed rail link was originally due to stretch from London to Birmingham by 2026, and then reach Manchester and Leeds by 2033.

But Sir David proposed speeding up the £50 billion project last year.

The announcement came on the same day Chancellor George Osborne said the proposed high-speed rail link between Birmingham and Crewe will be opened six years earlier than planned, in 2027.

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