Plans to redevelop Forster Square Railway Station have received a resounding thumbs-up from the public.
Feedback from a recent consultation on the proposals by Bradford Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Network Rail and train operator Northern show the vast majority of respondents approve.
Improvements would include the replacement of the existing station building, lift and staircase tower to Cheapside and Manor Row. The new, larger building would incorporate the arches behind the station and new ‘pods’ would be installed in the old railway arches to provide extra facilities.
Funded through the Combined Authority’s West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund, the scheme would create better access to the city centre and the nearby Broadway shopping centre.
Responding to Bradford Council’s consultation, carried out in December last year, station users rated the need for toilets and heated waiting rooms as top priority with cash machines and a shop or newsagent also popular. Passengers also supported the proposal for a green space or landscaped area behind platform three.
Overall, 86% of respondents either approved or strongly approved of the proposals.
Coun Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “It is heartening to see that the results of the consultation pretty much matches the proposals.
“The proposals will improve connectivity between the station to the top of town, and will help drive the masterplan work that is currently being undertaken in that area of the city centre.
“We will ensure the project includes as many of the facilities that people asked for as we can.
“The next step is to appoint a design and build contractor who will work with the Council to develop the proposals further including preparation of a planning application for the new station early in the New Year.”
Coun Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee said: “The Combined Authority Funding is set to invest £195 million this year improving road, rail and cycling links in the region, developing land for housing and commercial use, regenerating town and city centres, and supporting businesses to create jobs and apprenticeships.
“West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund schemes within Bradford include the A650 Keighley Hard Ings Road, the Bradford to Shipley corridor and Harrogate Road/New Line junction, and planned car park extensions at Apperley Bridge, Ben Rhydding, Shipley and Steeton & Silsden rail stations.
“Our joint plans for Forster Square station support economic growth and job creation by improving transport links to the city centre. They complement plans for new leisure facilities nearby and promised plans for more train services between Bradford and London in the next couple of years.
“And they provide an impressive and welcoming gateway to Bradford for commuters and visitors.
“We established the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund to invest in schemes such as this that will support economic growth and the creation of jobs, as well as improving transport facilities and people’s journey experiences whether they use the station daily or are arriving in Bradford as tourists.”
Coun Ross-Shaw added: “Over the coming months, we will carry out a further consultation exercise to ensure people have the opportunity to feed their ideas in to this major regeneration project which is just one of a number of exciting developments all coming online within the same 18 months period.
“The Odeon building in 2020, the redevelopment of Bradford Interchange and One City Park, as well as the city centre market relocation and the Top of Town Masterplan will be delivered in the next few years.”
West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund, is part of the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government investment through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.
More information about the proposals can be found at www.bradford.gov.uk/forstersquare