Ministers are being asked to open their eyes and recognise the potential Leeds has in connecting over three million people in the region and unlocking the north’s potential.
The efforts are part of the Leeds Key to the North initiative which has been established to champion the economic and social opportunities of transforming Leeds Station into a world-class transport hub at the heart of the city.
A delegation from Leeds has travelled to Westminster to emphasise to ministers and MPs what investment in Leeds Station could do not only for the city but for the wider northern regions.
An event in the House of Commons is underway today (12 February) and will be attended by Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake, rail minister Andrew Jones and shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald, where the case for why Leeds is so key to the north’s success will be heard.
Commenting, Blake said: “A new integrated station will help rebalance the economy and act as the catalyst for wider regeneration opportunities within the city, not least the work that has already begun on the South Bank. Today we are calling on government to recognise this incredible potential and back our ambitious plans for the station. Leeds and our train station sit at the heart of the northern economy and are absolutely essential to unlocking the north’s potential.”
Political leaders in the north believe a transformed Leeds Station with HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and local transport routes will be the catalysts for the largest regeneration project in Europe on the South Bank in Leeds.
The South Bank will not only spatially double the size of the city centre but importantly it will also double the economic output too. The South Bank is already home to 1,000 businesses, and will bring 35,000 new jobs, 8,000 homes, and a new internationally significant commercial district in Leeds city centre.
Leeds City Region’s HS2 Growth Strategy sets out that this opportunity would create £54bn of additional GVA by 2050, including doubling the size of the city centre.
Paula Dillon, president of Leeds Chamber of Commerce, said: “Chamber members list transport and talent as the key barriers to business growth. We know that the government wants to hear the voice of business, particularly around the need for investment in infrastructure and we will continue to work with the Department for Transport, HS2 Ltd and transport partners to ensure that HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and regional rail upgrades through Leeds Station drives economic growth in the north of England.”