NPR station in Bradford could provide £1.5bn economy cash boost

A new railway station in Bradford city centre could boost the local economy by £1.5bn, new research shows.

A report from construction firm Mace Group, led by ex-Treasury member Chris Walker, found that — based on growth experienced in Birmingham following the opening of Birmingham New Street station — a city centre station in the Yorkshire city could add £1.1bn-1.5bn a year to the economy and create over 1,000 local jobs.

Birmingham New Street, the busiest train station outside of London, was used as the report’s case study because West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s (WYCA) GVA per head was deemed to be “very similar” to West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA).

The ‘Bradford Bonus’ report was launched at a workshop yesterday with the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, including key transport leaders from Transport for the North, WYCA, and the West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.

The report said Bradford’s “poor transport links” is holding back the city’s potential for attracting businesses to locate and invest in the local area.

“Nearly a quarter of the city’s population is aged under 16, compared with 18.8% nationally, making Bradford Britain’s youngest city,” Walker noted.

“This all makes for a huge opportunity, however. Better infrastructure could link Bradford’s labour force to the investment and jobs needed to help the city fulfil its economic potential.”

The report went on the add that Braford looks “increasingly likely” to get a new station on the high speed Northern Powerhouse rail line, the network between the north of England’s biggest cities which will also enhance connectivity to the Midlands and London via HS2.

Northern Powerhouse Rail Director Tim Wood will be a keynote speaker at this year’s TransCityRail hosted by Rail Technology Magazine.

Lisa Bowden, head of infrastructure in the north at Mace, commented: “For Bradford, direct connections across the North will mean more investment coming into the city and residents will greatly benefit from the regeneration this will kick-start across the district whilst also supporting the wider economic contributions to the north’s economy. 

“We believe this is a truly once in a generation opportunity to change the city for the better, boosting economic growth, supporting the regeneration in the city and supporting the young and dynamic residents and businesses that call the city home, both now and in the future.”

Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw, executive member for regeneration, planning & transport at City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council said it is “fantastic” to see growing popularity behind Bradford’s campaign for NPR and recognising the major potential it has to transform the city centre and the north as a whole.

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