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Unleashing the potential of the Leeds City Region

Wednesday 17th April 2019

Leeds City Region leaders including Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and Transport for the North Board Member, and Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council, today joined Transport for the North’s (TFN) Jonathan Spruce at a local Strategic Transport Plan event in Bradford.

Transport for the North recently launched the Strategic Transport Plan, which marks the first time the North has spoken with one voice to outline their vision for the future. The Plan, alongside TFN’s Investment Programme, outlines the need for investment in transport across the North and provides a pipeline of infrastructure investment that could unleash the North’s potential– delivering transformational economic growth and access to new opportunities for local people and businesses.

The event, chaired by President of Bradford Chamber of Commerce Nick Garthwaite, brought together businesses and civic representatives from across the region to hear from a panel of speakers about what the Strategic Transport Plan means for the Region. This includes the impact of Northern Powerhouse Rail, as well as improvements to the M65/A59 corridor, M1, and improved road and rail access to Leeds Bradford Airport, all of which feature in Transport for the North’s Investment Programme. The audience also heard from Professor Peter Woodward, Chair in High Speed Rail Engineering at the University of Leeds about plans to establish the Institute for High Speed Rail and System, which will bring world leading capabilities to the Leeds City Region and provide the UK with an unrivalled centre of excellence for high speed rail planning, design, construction and manufacturing.

Jonathan Spruce, Interim Strategy Director at Transport for the North, said:

“It was a pleasure to join local leaders at today’s event to talk about the importance of our plans and what they mean for the people and businesses of Leeds City Region and Bradford.
“In addition to the more high-profile projects, such as Northern Powerhouse Rail, our Investment Programme advocates for investment in projects with local importance, including the A650 corridor and the Calder Valley Line.

“Our plans are all about improving people’s lives and supporting businesses in the North to grow – whether that’s the FinTech sector in Leeds, or advanced manufacturing along the Aire Valley. We’ll continue to work closely with partners in the region to advocate for investment and ensure these plans are delivered to unleash the potential of the Leeds City Region.”

Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and Transport for the North Board Member:

“We are pleased to welcome Transport for the North to the Leeds City Region today so the whole region can see the benefits that one joined up vision for transport in the North can bring to all of our villages, towns and cities.

“By working in partnership with Pan-Northern organisations such as TFN we can deliver the right infrastructure to give people greater access to jobs across the North. It will also give businesses better access to markets and it will ensure more national and global businesses such as Channel 4 and Burberry are attracted to invest here.”

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council:

“We are supporting the Strategic Transport Plan, to invest in multi-modal transport networks that help bring together the wider transport ambitions for the region including HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and local route upgrades.

“Northern Powerhouse Rail presents a once in a generation opportunity, particularly for Bradford. This is not just about faster, more efficient connectivity. An NPR station in Bradford city centre would transform the whole city, kickstarting regeneration, supporting business growth and ensuring the UK’s youngest city is connected to skilled opportunities in the future.

“We continue to support TFN with these plans and stress that it is not a case of either or. We need investment across local, regional, national and international connectivity to ensure we deliver inclusive growth for our businesses and residents.”

In the video below, Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and Transport for the North Board Member, talks about the importance of transport for unleashing potential in the Leeds City Region.

To find out more about the Strategic Transport Plan, click here.