28 May 2015
The £17m transformation of Leeds railway station is on track to complete this autumn - taking the city centre into a new era of popularity, according to a leading residential sales and letting specialist.
Linley & Simpson, based nearby at Swinegate, said the investment would add to Leeds city centre's growing magnetism as a place to live and work.
Spearheaded by a new entrance, the station will boast a fully-accessible, enclosed pedestrian extension over the River Aire directly south of the station.
Lifts, escalators and stairs will take passengers from the popular residential areas south of the city, such as Holbeck Urban Village, to a widened footbridge, which will have customer information screens, ticket vending machines, CCTV, and cycle storage facilities, leading to a new ticket gate line above platforms 16 and 17.
The aim of the investment is to reduce congestion at a station which is seeing 100,000 passengers use it every day.
Leeds has great importance within the UK rail network as a gateway to the north. It is crucial to the new high-speed rail link, which will improve connections for the entire region and boost the West Yorkshire economy by £1 billion a year and create thousands of jobs.
Phil Verster, route managing director for Network Rail, said: "We expect passenger numbers using the station to rise by 16 per cent this year and by 62 per cent by 2029.
With over 100,000 people already using the station each day, meeting that growth in demand will be a significant but very welcome challenge. We expect around 20,000 people to use the new entrance once it opens.
"We already have plans to make the main concourse lighter, brighter and more spacious through improvements to the lighting and retails units. We continue to work with Metro and Leeds City Council to identify further opportunities to develop the passenger experience."
The new pedestrian entrance will be a great benefit to people living and working south of the river, and will open up new travel opportunities providing a further stimulus to redevelopment and expansion of the city centre, and will support the continued regeneration of the southern quarter of the city.