The five West Yorkshire councils plus York and Metro continue to develop a ground breaking Transport Fund that will see significant investment in the region’s transport network to create new jobs and support economic growth. Reducing congestion, improving the flow of freight and making it easier for people to commute to and from expected major growth areas will help create around 20,000 jobs and increase economic output for West Yorkshire.
Leaders of Calderdale, Kirklees, Wakefield, Bradford and Leeds authorities plus York have agreed in principle for an initial £1bn of funds to be specifically targeted at increasing employment and productivity growth, to reverse decades of under-investment and create a world-class infrastructure for West Yorkshire and its neighbouring authorities.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet will be asked to recommend that the Council support the principle of establishing a £1 billion West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund at the meeting on Monday 8 April.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Environment, Cllr Barry Collins said:
“Calderdale is an international financial centre, is the home of one of the largest manufacturing clusters in the UK and is experiencing a growth in creative industries and enterprises. However, our transport network is currently constraining job creation, business productivity and access to employment and housing growth. To prosper we must improve our transport links across the region, to keep pace both with our neighbours and with our global competitors.”
Initial analysis has shown that a well-targeted 10 year programme of investment in transport will help free new and existing businesses from the current restrictions they are experiencing and enable them to create and sustain a substantial number of new jobs. It will also significantly improve travel, connectivity and mobility for people living in West Yorkshire.
Kirklees Council’s Regeneration spokesperson Cllr Peter McBride said:
“This is a bold move which secures real investment in our future infrastructure, which will in turn allow us to boost the local economy across the county by increasing access to jobs and skills.
“We are in a stronger position to bid for government funding when we work together, and as thousands of people travel from one of our council areas to another to work, this makes sense.”
People and businesses across Calderdale will benefit in the medium term from:
- Quicker, more reliable journey times by road through faster traffic flow and highway improvements which will reduce the impact on the environment.
- Better integration of transport services including more parking at Calder Valley stations, better bus-rail interchanges, ‘Oyster card’ type ticketing and more rail services.
- Further major improvements to Halifax railway station, making it more welcoming, as part of a ‘station gateway’ package which is likely to include Leeds, Bradford Interchange, Bradford Forster Square, York, Huddersfield and Castleford.
In the longer term people and businesses in Calderdale will benefit from:
- A629 Halifax-Huddersfield Corridor: This scheme would help transform Halifax town centre. It would open up new employment land to the east of the centre, while also providing a faster more sustainable and reliable route to north Halifax and Huddersfield from the M62 to Halifax and the lower valley. It would support faster commuting by bus between Halifax and Huddersfield, as well as sustainable (bus based) access to the two centres to/from the M62. This would encourage employment growth. Businesses in Calderdale and Kirklees would become better connected to labour markets across West Yorkshire. There would be significant improvements for access to Copley and Sowerby Bridge with the removal of several bottlenecks on the A629 corridor while addressing key air quality problem locations and improving safer cycle access to the Route 66 cycle network.
- Improvements to the CalderVale Line, which links Leeds-Bradford-Halifax-Manchester. Short term enhancements will be designed to increase the case for electrification. This includes an increase in the frequency of services to/from Manchester and improvements to rolling stock. The scheme complements the planned Low Moor Station and Network Rail’s Northern Hub improvements. The scheme will make it easier to access employment opportunities (particularly in Manchester, Halifax, Bradford and Leeds) for communities living along the route.
- The upgrade of all core rail routes working towards full electrification across the Pennines and integration with the High Speed 2 network.
- Improvements to the motorway network in West Yorkshire possibly including a new junction, 24a, on the M62 at Rastrick.
- Develop a new bypass around Brighouse to reduce congestion.
- Heavy rail or tram-train connections between Bradford and Leeds Bradford International Airport, and between Leeds and Leeds Bradford International Airport