Proposals to link the rail lines from Bradford Interchange to Forster Square could be considered after the country’s deficit is tackled, the Government has said.

Theresa Villiers, minister of state for transport, has written a letter to Shipley MP Philip Davies stating that the cross rail proposals sound “very interesting, especially if it is integrated into the regeneration of Bradford City Centre.”

She wrote: “You will appreciate that the need to reduce the budget deficit means that difficult decisions are currently being made on funding for major transport projects resulting in some being deferred. However this project is one that could be considered in future.”

Mrs Villiers said it was clear the scheme had many supporters, but needed a potential sponsor or promoter and urged Mr Davies to raise his concerns with Bradford Council as planning decisions were made locally.

Mr Davies, a Conservative MP, said: “I am a big fan of cross rail in terms of attracting business investment. We have to make it easier for people to get there before we get the inward investment.”

Mr Davies said the Council had not shown too much enthusiasm for the scheme but added: “The Government is more positive than that.

“It is a massive shot in the arm for those people promoting the cross rail scheme.”

Councillor John Pennington (Con, Bingley), who has been campaigning for the scheme, said: “I am delighted to have some encouragement from the minister.

“It has massive support already and to say it will be considered in future is great. She does point out that it needs to be integrated into the regeneration of Bradford city centre and this is the whole reason for doing this. It will regenerate Bradford and for the sake of one mile of track it is foolish not to do it.”

Mrs Villiers said the scheme could possibly be helped by the new Local Enterprise Partnerships due to start in 2012 when regional development agencies are abolished.

But Councillor Chris Greaves, Metro chairman, said: “As the Minister states in her letter, this is an ‘interesting’ proposal but unfortunately it is one which research has shown would be prohibitively expensive and would deliver limited transport benefits.”

James Vasey, of Bradford Rail Users Group, said: “We are encouraged by Mrs Villiers’ letter. BRUG believes the link will significantly help in the regeneration of the city centre, at a time when funding for many major projects is still being confirmed.”

He pointed out that, only last week, funding was made available for the electrification of the Manchester to Liverpool route, the Blackpool line electrification and 1,500 new train carriages.

He added: “Cross rail has never sought to replace the Westfield development, but consider a rail link directly to the heart of the Westfield development. It would deliver significant numbers of visitors to the site.”