4 August 2014

NETWORK Rail is promising major changes to Leeds Station in an attempt to make it a better gateway to the city in the wake of a campaign by business leaders.

The first phase of work will start this summer and see the south concourse undergo a m

New Leeds Train Station

Metro has already secured Government funding for a new southern entrance to the station and Network Rail is discussing how that might be engineered to encourage more people into Dark Neville Street, making that a more viable shopping area.

Gavin McKechnie, head of retail at Network Rail, said: "The continued success of the railway has enabled us to make these investments.

"We are committed to improving stations for passengers, and these planned projects at Leeds City Station will do just that - providing a gateway Leeds can be proud of and a destination for people to eat, meet and shop."

Network Rail announced the plans in front of more than 80 business leaders at the Leeds Chamber Property Forum at DLA Piper's offices last night.

Chamber research has suggested that 63% of business do not believe that the station acts a good gateway into the city and 55% believe that the retail offering should be improved.

Mark Goldstone, the Chamber's head of business representation, said: "The Chamber has worked closely with Network Rail over the past six months to ensure that the concerns of the business community have been listened to and we welcome these planned improvements which will transform the look and functionality of the station. It is important that the city has a station that it can be proud of and creates the right first impression.

"However, we believe that more development is still needed to cope with the significant forecasted increase in passenger numbers, as well as the arrival of high-speed rail in 2030. The additional car-parking, improved pedestrian links and Southern Entrance will relieve some of the increased congestion, but investment in additional platforms is also needed, as well as a review into how the station connects to other modes of local transport, such as the buses and taxis."

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