In March 2015, David Cameron speaking in Leeds, announced that Sir David Higgins, Executive Chairman at HS2 Ltd, would be tasked with relooking at the options for HS2 coming into Leeds city centre. The original thinking sets out plans for a new station terminating at New Lane, opposite ASDA House in Leeds South Bank, approximately quarter of a mile from the existing Leeds station. Sir David will be bringing his recommendations on station location back to Government in autumn 2015.
Leeds Chamber President, Gerald Jennings said: “The Chamber has been a longstanding supporter of HS2 but the proposed plans to site the station so far from the existing station would be a missed opportunity to provide the seamless and integrated network required to benefit the entire region.
“Leeds station is already one of the most heavily used stations in the UK with demand set to double over the next 25 years to over 60 million passengers a year. Station capacity is already stretched so clearly further investment is required just to ensure existing national, regional and local rail journeys can be accommodated.”
Following consultation with members across Leeds, York and Bradford, the Chamber has published plans setting out their preferred option. The Chamber would like to see a single station capable of accommodating the significant growth in existing rail services and for future high speed services to run through the station rather than terminate in Leeds.
We acknowledge the financial and engineering challenges this may present but we must be ambitious and ensure Leeds has a station that provides a sense of arrival befitting one of the largest commercial centres in the country. HS2, Network Rail, the Department for Transport and Leeds City Council between them have the ability to shape the fortunes of Leeds and the wider region for generations to come
Mr Jennings went on to say that: “For many of our members the journey from Kings Cross-St Pancras to Leeds is a stark reminder of the disparity in investment between London and the north. Leeds station must be viewed as a piece of national infrastructure and investment prioritised accordingly”