Three major schemes for Calderdale will reach the next stage of preparation when they are discussed at the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Investment Committee on 4 July 2018.
Two Corridor Improvement Programmes will be considered which would encourage active travel by improving highway facilities for all users, especially walkers and cyclists; reduce accidents and improve air quality.
The schemes cover the A58 / A672 from Junction 22 of the M62 to King Cross in Halifax and the A646 / A6033 from Todmorden to Skircoat Moor. These are well used routes through Calderdale which can be congested during peak times, suffer in pockets from poor air quality and limit the potential for economic growth because of variable journey times.
Both programmes are designed to improve the road network, providing better connections across West Yorkshire to stimulate economic growth and job creation and support housing developments throughout the region.
The Corridor Improvement Programmes should improve traffic flow, aiming to deliver an 8% reduction in journey times for all traffic and a 12% reduction in journey times for buses. They would also aim to reduce accidents throughout the schemes by 10% by 2022, particularly involving pedestrians and cyclists.
Members of the public can find out more about both schemes by attending a series of engagement events in the late summer where they can view the plans and comment on the proposals.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Strategy, Cllr Barry Collins said:
“Although we’re at the very early stages of planning for these improvements, and there are many more stages to get through, it’s great news that these programmes are being considered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
“The schemes have the potential to remove some of the barriers which are limiting economic growth in the Upper Valley. The schemes would also help us to bring major health benefits to these communities, allowing us to tackle the poor air quality along the corridor, and encourage people to enjoy more active travel by improving facilities for cyclists and pedestrians.”
Plans to transform Halifax Station will also move a step further with a request for additional funding to support the development of the outline business case.
The Halifax Station Gateway project envisages a new iconic station building which would complement the existing Victorian Grade II listed building which dates from 1855. It would also provide an extra platform to significantly increase the capacity for passengers travelling on the Calder Valley line.
Cllr Collins continued:
“The plans for Halifax Station are also exciting, creating an attractive entrance to the town which could not fail to impress visitors and commuters alike.”
The area in front of the station, which is currently leased to Eureka! by the Council, would be developed into a landscaped ‘Station Gardens’ providing visitors and commuters with an attractive link route between Halifax Town Centre and The Piece Hall.
It is anticipated that the transformation would see an increase in the number of rail journeys and visitors to Halifax, an increase in investment by local employers and a boost to the number of local business start-ups and external businesses moving into the town, within five years of the completion of the project.
Cllr Peter Box, Chair of the West Yorkshire and York Investment Committee said:
“The package of schemes in Calderdale which the Investment Committee is set to consider this week is yet another example of how our capital funding programmes – especially our £1billion City Region Growth Deal and West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund – are having a positive impact across our region. This crucial investment is supporting economic growth, enabling much needed improvements to our transport network and housing infrastructure to go ahead, and crucially is creating jobs and opportunity for local people.”
Two other Calderdale schemes will be considered by the Combined Authority’s Investment Committee: the demolition of three empty tower blocks to make way for new homes on the Beech Hill estate site; and the creation of a new, improved 6km canal towpath for walkers and cyclists linking Hebden Bridge and Todmorden.
The canal towpath scheme has benefitted from £1.5million funding from the Department for Transport, secured by the Combined Authority and Calderdale Council.
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Investment Committee will be asked to recommend the two Corridor Improvement Programme schemes proceed to the next stage of consultation and design, and that the request for the Halifax Station Gateway project to receive additional development funds is approved.
The Leeds City Region’s £1 billion West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund is being invested over 10 years in more than 30 transport infrastructure schemes across West Yorkshire and York, designed to create around 20,000 new jobs and add £2.4 billion a year to the economy by the mid-2030s.