Calderdale has been included in an ambitious multi-million pound transport package a regional authority is asking Government to support.
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority, of which Calderdale is part, is pitching plans to upgrade the Leeds City Region transport network and if successful Halifax could have new railway and bus station buildings as a result, greatly upgrading existing buildings.
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The bid for a share of the Government’s £840 million Transforming Cities Fund has been submitted by the Combined Authority.
The submission sets out proposals to improve public transport along four key routes in the Leeds City Region, including the Calder Valley line, and upgrade connections to eight rail stations, including Halifax.
The Leader of Calderdale Council, Councillor Tim Swift (Lab, Town), said: “The Transforming Cities Fund bid sets out ambitious plans for transforming travel around West Yorkshire, and I’m pleased that the Calder Valley line, Halifax rail and bus station and improvements to the corridor to North Halifax have been recognised as a focus for the submission.
“The Calder Valley line has suffered from serious under investment for many years, which has led to a poor, unreliable service for commuters, increased congestion on our roads and is continuing to hinder business growth and economic prosperity.
“Improving and integrating transport links in Calderdale is vital to make sure our communities and businesses have better access to major cities and employment areas.
“This is especially important with the arrival of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, giving people the best possible access to jobs, learning and leisure.
“We’re already investing a huge amount in plans with the Combined Authority to improve transport in Calderdale, and this bid is an opportunity to build on this work and really transform travel across the region.”
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The Calder Valley route links the Leeds City Region’s biggest economic centres – together, Leeds and Bradford are bigger in gross value added terms than many other entire city regions and even some countries – but some areas around Halifax centre and Sowerby Bridge are among the 10 per cent most deprived areas nationally, according to the Government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation.
Poorer transport links, for example the rail offer on this corridor suffering from slow journey times and high levels of crowding, mean Calder Valley people in particular are missing out on economic opportunities offered in the nearby cities, says the authority.
If successful, the submission will allow the Combined Authority to develop detailed plans over the next six months.
The bid is focused on transforming transport connections for those communities most in need of access to jobs, services and education.
Priorities set out in the submission including creating healthy streets, supporting cycling and walking as well as exploring the opportunities offered by new technology.
A key focus of the submission is the need for investment at Leeds Station to ensure it is ready for the arrival of HS2 and can seamlessly integrate high speed services with Northern Powerhouse Rail, upgraded local services and other transport connections.
The Halifax Gateway project dovetails into Calderdale Council’s plans to revitalise the town following the completion of major heritage building schemes including The Piece Hall, supporting successful delivery of the full benefits the interfacing £40m A629 Phase 2 Project.
TCF funding for Halifax Station Gateway would provide additional cash to help enable delivery of a wholly new rail station building, incorporating significant access improvements for all modes and users, a wholly new bus station building, and re-opening of Navigation Road to transform east-west pedestrian cycle connectivity in Halifax, completing an existing key gap in the Halifax section of Sustrans National Route 69.