The transport secretary’s “personal commitment” to bringing Northern Powerhouse Rail to Bradford has been warmly welcomed by the council’s leader.
Chris Grayling made the pledge during his speech at the Conservative Party Conference this week in which he conceded that the city has been “woefully served” by its current infrastructure system. The cabinet member said he was particularly aware of the fact that Bradford is a “great and important centre” in the North and the Yorkshire city vitally needed support and improved links.
Speaking in Birmingham, Grayling said: "The last thing I want to touch on is a very strong and personal commitment to making sure that Bradford benefits from this. It is really important to remember that the North isn't just about Liverpool and Manchester and Newcastle and Leeds and Hull, it is also about towns and cities up and down the region. That is why I am so committed to sorting out some of the issues in Cumbria. Although there is a lot of work to be done, I really want to see Northern Powerhouse Rail come to Bradford, and I am committed to making sure that really does happen, because Bradford needs better links."
It’s a timely commitment by the government after research undertaken earlier this year by analysts at GENECON, revealed the full economic impact potential of a Bradford city centre station on Northern Powerhouse Rail.
The research underlined that if Bradford Council would be able to secure the backing of Transport for the North and central government, the North’s economy could benefit by up to £15bn by 2060 and generate up to 15,000 new jobs for the region.
A transformed Interchange with NPR in the city would see journey times to Manchester and Leeds reduced to 20 minutes and seven minutes respectively as well as acting as a catalyst for further regeneration and investment across the city, according to the analysis commissioned by the council.
Susan Hinchcliffe, leader of Bradford Council and chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority has responded to the transport secretary’s vow by saying the announcement couldn’t be more significant with the business case for the new high-speed rail line at a critical stage.
“I strongly welcome the comments made by Chris Grayling about bringing Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) to Bradford,” she said. “Over the past 18 months, civic, business and community leaders in Bradford and across the North have campaigned tirelessly to make the case for a Bradford city centre station as part of NPR. Bradford is a great and important centre in the North, with a young and vibrant population and a thriving business community. For the North of England to be successful, Bradford needs to be successful.”