Senior councillors in Leeds are set to approve £500,000 of improvements to the area around the new southern entrance of Leeds Rail Station next week.
A report being discussed by the council’s executive board at Leeds Civic Hall on Wednesday 18 March recommends approving a programme of highways improvements works to offer access for pedestrians and disabled people to and from the new southern entrance to the station which is due to open in late autumn.
The proposed improvements would see the area around Little Neville Street becoming a pedestrian zone, helping to accommodate the expected 20,000 additional pedestrian movements each day to and from the new station entrance.
The proposal would see the area being refurbished to provide a safe, attractive and welcoming environment for those accessing the station, with pedestrian zone restrictions in place between 7am and 10pm each day.
Considerable work and consultation has been undertaken with stakeholders and disability groups in order to offer access for disabled people, which will see two Blue Badge parking spots available restricted to 30 minutes’ waiting time.
Exemptions to the general vehicle restrictions would be for access to off-street properties, vehicles exiting the Hilton Hotel, and essential delivery vehicles. Cyclists and all non-motorised vehicles will also have continuous access.
The improvements will also enhance the gateway to the South Bank area of the city and beyond offered by the new station entrance, further aiding major regeneration proposals for the city centre area south of the station.
The scheme is to be managed by Leeds City Council, with funding from Section 106 developers’ contributions and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
Work would be scheduled to start in October, to coincide with the final stages of the creation of the new southern entrance itself.
Broader consultation on the proposals has been held with local stakeholders, councillors, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Network Rail and emergency services.
Leeds City Council executive member for transport and economy Councillor Richard Lewis said:
“I am very grateful to everyone who worked to bring this improvement plan to fruition. Little Neville Street is a small space to work with so it has taken a great deal of problem solving but I am pleased that we have been able to come up with a solution that everyone is happy with, including access for people with disabilities.
“The new southern entrance is going to make a massive difference not only to the station itself but to that whole area of the city centre, as part of the strategic masterplan to help unlock the huge regeneration potential around the station and beyond to the South Bank as a place for people to live and work.
“It is important we do everything we can to integrate all the improvements around the station and its surroundings together to make the area as inviting as possible for all, so projects like this are essential in order to maximise the benefits the new entrance offers.”
Councillor James Lewis, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said:
“Leeds Station has seen passenger growth year on year, and many of those passengers are heading for destinations south of the River Aire. When opened, the new entrance will make that journey a much more attractive proposition, as well as reducing congestion at the existing ticket gates. The proposed improvements will complement the iconic structure being built and I’m sure they will be well received by passengers.”
Phil Verster, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said:
“We expect around 20,000 passengers to use the new entrance every day. It will make their journey quicker by removing up to six minutes from the walking time as well as much more enjoyable. This new investment is a great example of the regeneration and boost to the local economy which good rail connections and close partnership working can deliver.”
Notes to editors:
Leeds South Bank is a 136-hectare area South of the River Aire. It represents one of Europe’s largest city centre regeneration initiatives. The area is home to Asda’s Headquarters, AQL’s data centre, Leeds Dock and major heritage buildings such as Temple Works, Tower Works and the Round Foundry. The area is expected to have the capacity to create 30,000 jobs. Proposals include a new 3.5 hectare city centre park and the remodelling of the road network to improve its accessibility.
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