The Leader of Leeds City Council has welcomed confirmation of the preferred route HS2 will take through the city.
The preferred route of the second phase of the national high-speed rail project was released on Tuesday 15 November 2016 by the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd, showing how the new line will come into Leeds. The announcement also confirms the revised plans released in 2015 for Leeds Station to be remodelled into an integrated ‘Yorkshire Hub’ to accommodate HS2 alongside regional and local services.
Responding to the announcement the Leader of Leeds City Council 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 a vital piece of national infrastructure being 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 reaching 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.
The creation of the full HS2 network is considered essential in order to offer improved rail services; addressing capacity issues on the existing rail network, as a catalyst for growth especially in the north and the midlands, and as a way of developing and rebalancing the national economy.
Leeds City Council has also released an interim growth strategy to show how high-speed rail will benefit the wider Leeds City Region. The strategy looks to maximise the opportunities provided by HS2 to realise growth combining innovation and productivity with more and better jobs, improved skills and career progression and environmental benefits.
The strategy outlines progress in these areas to date and commits to delivering a fully integrated strategy for the remodelling of Leeds Station. To see the interim growth strategy visit www.leeds.gov.uk/HS2