ANYONE who has caught a train to and from London using the East Coast mainline in the last few years will tell you that alighting or waiting at King’s Cross is now a far more pleasurable experience than it used to be.

Not only does the station itself feel lighter and airier, thanks to its superbly renovated arched trainshed, but the concourse, with its dramatic, sweeping white steel grid roof, is a stunning blend of old and new architecture that has rightfully won major awards.

It makes a big, bold statement to the visitor: you’ve arrived in London, our capital city.

Contrast that with arriving at Bradford’s Forster Square station, where the visitor is treated to the back-entrance view of our city-centre located out-of-town shopping sheds, on the one side, and litter-strewn scrubland on the other, before being greeted by something that looks like little more than an overgrown kiosk.

It might make some sort of statement - but not much of one….

I’m not for one second suggesting that Bradford should be trying to compete with London but, surely, it can do better than this?

The restoration of King’s Cross cost more than £500 million, while the suggested budget for the latest plans to revamp Forster Square – exclusively revealed in yesterday’s Telegraph & Argus – is £17 million. Given that it is one of two stations and neither are on a main line route, that sort of spending differential looks to be in about the right proportion.

I’m not going to rehearse all the old arguments here about why we need a through route; until what’s been dubbed HS3 comes into proper focus, we’ve got what we’ve got and we’ll have it for many years to come.

So, surely, we need to make the most of it?

To my mind, that means creating an arrival point that not only provides a better experience for regular users and visitors alike but says something really positive about the fact that they’ve arrived in Bradford.

Confidence builds confidence and if we can show that face to the outside world, more people will come to us, bringing with them jobs and money for the local economy.

Bradford has a great opportunity here to emulate King’s Cross, in a small way, by combining the old and the new, celebrating the Victorian history of the railways while showing off that we can be creative and dynamic in blending it with the modern and stylish.

What we can see of the latest artists’ illustrations for the Forster Square station revamp suggests that we are, at last, starting to do just that.

The railway arches are a strong and powerful tribute to the quality of Victorian construction techniques. Like some of our city’s most striking buildings they make a statement: look how well we can build, how classy we can make something as simple as a retaining wall.

The Victorians knew all there was to know about using architecture to convey confidence and a sense of well-being; about using quality materials and artistic design to create a sense of power and place.

How much poorer would our society be today if buildings such as City Hall were created purely as functional boxes?

Did it really need gothic windows and sculptures of England’s monarchs to decorate it? Of course not – but look how much richer and uplifting it is because the Victorians were determined to show off their wealth and power.

So, to my mind, it’s absolutely right that we should be making more of the station’s arches in the latest plans, in much the same way that has already been done with the fabulous lighting in the St Blaise Square area, which recently beat off Oxford Street to win an Outdoor Lighting Project of the Year award.

The Council has asked residents and rail users to have their say on these proposals and I would urge anyone who cares about Bradford to do so, bearing in mind what the end result will say about the city….

Like Rome, our city centre won't be built in a day

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A temporary garden is in place on the site

THERE IS no need for panic over the delay in selling the former police station site, in the Tyrls, to a developer, as some councillors seem to think.

As the Broadway shopping centre has shown us, the prevailing economic conditions need to be just right for developers and tenants to have the confidence to invest.

This is such an important site – at one of the most significant locations in the city – that it has to be worth waiting to get the best building and the most prestigious user we can.

Business nous and passion at the heart of Bantams’ movie

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: DOUBLE ACT: Owners Stefan Rupp and Edin Rahic have bought into City emotionally as well as financially

LIKE MANY of those present at the premiere of Bradford City’s new Matter of Heart documentary film, I suspect, I was struck by the intriguing combination of sound business acumen and sporting desire displayed by the two main subjects, owners Edin Rahic and Stefan Rupp.

The film, made by a German production company, focuses on the first year of the first German owners of a British league club – although it was the good-humoured and obsessive passion of chief scout Gregg Abbott that stole all the real warm and fuzzy moments.

The film should endear Rahic and Rupp to the fans, though, with its insight into the huge risk they took in taking charge and the sheer level-headedness and suffer-no-fools approach to finding success.

I came away feeling they’re in it for the long game and the Bantams are in good hands.