THE NORTH could become as "economically vibrant" as the south if the Government invests in a brand-new Bradford railway station, says the council's leader.

Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, today unveiled plans for a new railway station in the heart of Bradford that would extend the city centre and open in 2030.

It would be situated where Saint James's Market currently is, off Wakefield Road and Essex Street.

This 21st century station would form a vital part of Northern Powerhouse Rail - an ambitious project to connect the north with a new rail network.

Councillor Hinchcliffe has made a plea to the Government to commit investment to the project, which she claims would see the economy of Bradford increase by a third.

The council leader outlined that the station would allow Bradford to become an economic twin with neighbouring Leeds - bringing together complementary strengths and providing a model for the rest of the UK.

Councillor Hinchcliffe added: “Here in Bradford, we’ve often felt like the north’s forgotten city.

“Under my time as leader, it has been the mission of myself and my colleagues to make us as a city which achieves its potential.

“We stand on the cusp of a fantastic opportunity for this city to grow and fulfil its destiny.

“As we continue to battle the Covid pandemic, we are also planning for our future.

“A future where Bradford can only take its place in a successful north if better connected to its nearest neighbour in Leeds and become the gateway for the people of West Yorkshire and beyond to the great cities of Manchester and Liverpool.

“The children of the pandemic deserve better for their working lives.

“They deserve a first stop on NPR, trusting this council to deliver the way we have been, recognised by Government for delivering in response to the pandemic."

A through-station at Bradford on a mainline NPR route would slash journey times from the city to Leeds to seven minutes and 22 minutes to Manchester.
The six-acre Saint James's Wholesale Market site is already owned by the council.

The station would replace Bradford Interchange and Councillor Hinchcliffe explained this would then become "very valuable" as a development site in the heart of the city centre.

As for Saint James's Market, the council leader said the local authority would conduct a site selection for other places across Bradford where the market could expand and grow - currently it is fully let with no opportunity to expand despite strong demand.

The council would work with traders to deliver that.

Councillor Hinchcliffe said: “Bradford has developed a vision, together with and supported by private sector partners and experts.

“Bradford must be on this rail link – the north, which has traditionally performed sluggishly in productivity terms, could with this investment become as economically vibrant as the south.”

The plans have been supported by Transport for the North, Network Rail, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Northern Powerhouse Partnership and a host of other organisations and private sector businesses across the north.