BUSINESSES have backed Bradford's ambitions for a city centre Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) station.

This month sees the submission of Transport for the North's (TfN) strategic case for NPR to the Department for Transport, in which Bradford has been calling for a city centre station on the new line between Manchester and Leeds.

Research has revealed that this would reduce journey times and increase capacity, while adding a further £15.5bn to the Northern economy and generating an extra 15,000 full-time equivalent jobs to the Leeds City Region. The NEC Group was recently selected as the operating partner for the Bradford Live development in the former Odeon building.

“The NEC Group’s investment in a live music, entertainment and events venue in the centre of Bradford demonstrates our long-term commitment to the city.

"We’ve seen first-hand at our venues in Birmingham the difference the right infrastructure and transport links can make. An NPR station in Bradford city centre will truly help connect Bradford with wider audiences across the West Yorkshire region, maximising the economic impact of investment into the city centre.

"As such we are firm supporters of the Next Stop Bradford campaign.”

Victoria Robertshaw, co-owner of Keelham Farm Shop in Thornton, added: “As a business, we’ve had roots in Bradford for more than 40 years and have built a fantastic network of farmers and producers from the city and right across the North of England.

"The transformation of the city through continued investment in transport and infrastructure is vital, and the Next Stop Bradford campaign has our full support.

“Through Northern Powerhouse Rail we have an opportunity, once again, for the city to be central to the future of growth of the region.”

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said it was "fantastic" to have the backing of the private sector.

She said: “Northern Powerhouse Rail will be the catalyst our city centre needs to thrive, connecting Britain’s youngest city to the rest of the country and opening up opportunities for trade, investment, jobs, skills and business growth.

“We look forward to working with TfN as their plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail progress to ensure Bradford secures a city centre station as part of the mainline network.”

The Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) for Northern Powerhouse Rail is due to be submitted to the Department for Transport this month, with an announcement on its findings following soon after.