Funding blow to major Halifax station gateway scheme

The Halifax Station Gateway project is a key part of ongoing regeneration and transformation work aimed at making the borough a place people want to live, visit and work
The Halifax Station Gateway project is a key part of ongoing regeneration and transformation work aimed at making the borough a place people want to live, visit and work

Detailed design work for a key Calderdale regeneration scheme is going ahead but another source of cash will need to be found to replace a reduction in funding.

Funding of £10.6 million from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority via the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund formed part of the budget for the £28.2 million Halifax Station Gateway project but the council will not now get all that amount.

Coun Barry Collins (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) told members of Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Transport Working Party that the council was determined the full scheme would go ahead despite the setback.

It was not the combined authority’s fault, he said, with demand from all authorities which make up WYCA being so high for transport schemes, resulting in all projects having to be allocated less money.

“Unfortunately funding has been reduced, not just in Calderdale but elsewhere,” he said.

“But the line we are taking at Combined is that a reduced scheme is of no use to us – we want to move forward with our vision, so we are continuing with progressing design work with our partners.”

These include the Eureka! museum of childhood and major company Nestle Halifax, as well as Network Rail and Northern.

Coun Collins, who is Cabinet member for Regeneration and Economic Strategy, said there had been two meetings with senior Nestle executives and they were firm in their intention to develop their site, with the company’s major brand Quality Street being so identified with Halifax.

“As a council we are determined to drive ahead with this scheme and get the best project we can.

“There is no blame attacked to the authority – it just turned out they didn’t have enough money to meet the aspirations of all authorities and cut back on everyone’s funding,” said Coun Collins.

He told the working group that the Transforming Cities programme might provide some extra money and Calderdale was awaiting a response.

Part of the the Calderdale: The Next Chapter, the Halifax Station Gateway project is a key part of ongoing regeneration and transformation work aimed at making the borough a place people want to live, visit and work over the coming years.

The vision is for: “a regionally recognised, landmark station with world class facilities that serves as an instantly recognisable hub and gateway to Halifax town centre; combining rich heritage assets with unique design that responds to the area’s distinctiveness, revitalising the relationship between the station, the town and its ambitious renewal to create vibrancy and confidence that define Halifax as it embraces its future.”

Around two million people use Halifax train station every year and the council’s ambition is to see 50 per cent more rail trips by 2026 – improving the station and the way people access it will help it meet the expected demand.

Calderdale Council is developing cross-department strategies to reduce pressure on the area’s roads with practical, environmental and health goals, ranging from major investment with the combined authority’s help in highway improvement schemes to addressing air quality issues.

Other solutions include improving public transport and cycling and walking routes around congested parts of the borough.

Once more detailed designs are completed next year, more consultation will take place on the Halifax Station gateway.

The concept design includes a proposed new station at platform level, a transport interchange combining all modes of travel to and from the station, replacement of the station access bridge with an attractive landscaped entrance to the new station, a new car park and drop-off, pick-up and taxi points, re-opening the third platform in front of the ‘1855 building’, new areas for shops or food and drink businesses and accessibility for everyone, including step-free access, as a key feature of the design.