A multi-million pound transformation of Halifax Railway Station could get the green light by Calderdale Council on Monday.
The plans include a new station building at platform level, the demolition of the station access bridge, a new transport interchange, a new car park and drop-off, pick-up and taxi points, re-opening the third platform in front of the ‘1855 building’ and new areas for shops or food and drink businesses.
The stone arches which currently support the bridge will be retained and will form part of the structural supports to the new concourse roof.
The front of the station will feature a glass facade, while platform three will be re-opened, which it is hoped will reduce overcrowding at peak times.
It is estimated the overall cost of the project could be between £25m and £30m.
Only half of the money required can be secured through initial external funding. The West Yorkshire Combined Authority has earmarked £10.6m of funding to the council, while the council has earmarked funding of £3.3m from the A629 phase 2 scheme.
That leaves a funding gap of between £11m and £16m, which could be plugged by the West Yorkshire Transport Fund, third-party funding, the Transforming Cities Fund and capital investment.
The council says they are in negotiations with Eureka! and Nestle, and that Network Rail and Northern are supportive of the plans and estimates that construction will start in summer 2020.
The station has around two million passengers a year, but the council report says that lack of investment in the station has seen it fall behind the economic growth in the town, and that it fails to provide a positive gateway into the town.
The council says this is a critical issue, and that without improvements to the station, visitors’ first impressions of Halifax will be poor, which could damage investment and tourism.
The report also says a lack of investment could mean the station is unable to deal with increasing train passenger numbers, and fail to improve facilities for disabled people.
The report says that maintaining a “do nothing” approach will hinder Halifax’s regeneration and economic development, and that improvements must be made to meet Calderdale’s Transport Strategy’s target of 50 per cent more rail trips in 2026 than 2016.
Coun Barry Collins, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Strategy, said: “The massive amount of regeneration in Halifax and across Calderdale is putting our area on the national and international map, so it’s important to have an excellent train station – it’s often people’s first impression of the town and their link to our fantastic facilities.
“Around two million people use Halifax train station every year, and we have an ambitious target to see 50% more rail trips in 2026 than in 2016. Improving the station and the way people access it would help meet future demand. It would also improve the travel experience, create a more attractive environment and boost the local economy by increasing investment, jobs and tourism.
“This is part of Calderdale’s Next Chapter, which will see major developments in transport, public spaces and business premises.”
Coun Keith Wakefield, Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee said: “This is just the kind of scheme, generating inclusive growth to the local economy and connecting people with new opportunities and jobs, that we established the £1bn West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund to deliver. Improving the welcome to the town provided by its busy station is part of a joint programme of works between West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Calderdale Council that will transform Halifax and the rest of the district.”
The proposals will be discussed at a meeting of Calderdale Council’s cabinet on Monday at Halifax Town Hall.
Cabinet approval of the station’s early design would enable the Council to seek funding from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
Cabinet members will also consider a separate report that looks at the next phase of road improvements into Halifax - a £40m project to improve infrastructure for better access into and around the town centre.
This follows on from major works to improve the congested A629 from Ainley Top via Salterhebble Hill into Halifax which are due for completion this summer.