By Abbey Maclure and Elisha Atkinson
The chair of Bradford Chamber of Commerce has called for a new through station in Bradford to be at the heart of new transport plans.
Business and Transport leaders in Bradford said the station was crucial to provide opportunities for young people and improve connectivity to other cities.
Nick Garthwaite, president of Bradford Chamber of Commerce said: “What it will do is bring great opportunities to bring young people into our city.
“That improvement in connectivity has to be one of our highest priorities without a question.”
“These plans are so important for Bradford, they are real game changers for the city.
“We need something really really special and this through railway station is absolutely what’s needed. It will change and transform the city.”
The event talked about a 30-year transport plan by Transport for the North, which aims to boost the economy in the north by improving road and rail networks and a promise to provide 850,000 more jobs in the north.
Jonathan Spruce, interim strategy director at Transport for the North, is calling on the government to recognise how important these plans are and explained that both HS2 and a Northern Powerhouse Rail network were vital to improving connectivity in the north.
Spruce said: “”For the first time these plans recognise the role of Bradford in connecting Bradford to the rest of the North of England and the opportunities that it gives young people.
“At the moment trying to get to Leeds by train is over 20 minutes and to Manchester is over an hour. These plans will transform that. They’ll get to Leeds in about 10 minutes, to Manchester in about 20 minutes.
“This gives the young people a different chance across the north, so when they’re growing up in Bradford, they can learn in Bradford, live in Bradford, but experience everything the North has to offer from Bradford.
“Over the next 12 months, when there’s likely to be a lot of uncertainty with Brexit and with the leadership of this country, we need to stay singular about this plan and stand behind it. This plan is the way we can really unleash the potential of the North.”
The vision for Transport for The North is to see a thriving North of England, supporting world class transport and sustainable and economic growth.
Professor Peter Woodward, Chair in High Speed Rail Engineering at the University of Leeds commented on the plans: “It represents economic growth for the whole of the North.
“You only have to look at what’s happening within the city regions on the back of HS2 to see the economic development that is occurring and the job creation that will bring.”
Emma Young, Associate at Systra who attended the conference said: “I thought it was really exciting to see something so transformational if we can get this extra funding to make this change that would be fantastic.
As a mother it’s important – it’s not just for us it’s for our next generation that’s coming through, to give them opportunities.”