Go-ahead for Yorkshire transport plans

leeds city station

The planned new entrance to Leeds City Station at Granary Wharf

PLANS for a new southern entrance to Leeds Station and improvements to a key road route in South Yorkshire were given the go ahead today after councils promised to cut the project costs by £2.3m.

The two projects were among those told by Transport Secretary Philip Hammond last year to look again at the costs and make best and final bids for Government support.

Leeds City Station

The planned new entrance to Leeds City Station at Granary Wharf

PLANS for a new southern entrance to Leeds Station and improvements to a key road route in South Yorkshire were given the go ahead today after councils promised to cut the project costs by £2.3m.

The two projects were among those told by Transport Secretary Philip Hammond last year to look again at the costs and make best and final bids for Government support.

Mr Hammond has now given the go-ahead after the cost of the Government's contribution to the new station entrance was cut from £13.7m to £12.4m while the request for funding for improvements to the A57 fell from £12.8m to £11.8m.

Metro Chairman Coun Chris Greaves said: "This announcement that our revised bid for the scheme has been approved will be extremely good news for the thousands of rail passengers for whom the new entrance will mean quicker and more convenient daily access to train services. It will also go some way to improving the station's status as a gateway to Leeds.

"With over 100,000 people passing through Leeds station every weekday and a significant number of them now heading to business and leisure locations to the south of the city centre, Metro has pressed for the development of this new entrance that will provide them with step-free access to the station via escalators and lifts at the western end of the station."

There was also positive news for proposals on a new "bus rapid transit" scheme for South Yorkshire, improvements to the A164 between Beverley and the Humber Bridge and a maintenance scheme for the Leeds Inner Ring Road.

The three ideas have all been moved into a pool of projects that could qualify for a share of £630m in Government funding when Ministers take a decision later this year.

Other projects that are already in the pool include the Leeds trolleybus scheme, a new park and ride site in York and a bid for extra trams for Sheffield.

However, the Government today said plans to tackle congestion on the A61 in Sheffield and for a new transport interchange in Castleford will not be considered for a share of the cash. A separate bid has already been made to the Regional Growth Fund for backing for the Castleford interchange.

Mr Hammond said: "The Government is committed to delivering transport projects which improve journeys while also helping economic growth.

"Following the spending review we challenged local authorities to look again at the cost of proposed schemes to ensure we get maximum value for every pound we spend. The councils being awarded funding today have met that challenge by achieving a saving to the taxpayer of £45.5m on the original proposed costs.

"That means more money is now available for other schemes across the country and I would urge other councils to follow this lead as they bid for funding. This will allow us to fund as many schemes as possible, delivering improvements to roads and public transport across the country."


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