The leader of City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Susan Hinchcliffe, has said the Manchester to Leeds railway line – supported by Boris Johnson – must pass through Bradford to unlock the city’s potential.
It follows the support given by the new Prime Minister for the Northern Powerhouse Rail line, seen as crucial in the battle to bring balance to the economy and ensure the North of England prospers.
Mr Johnson outlined his plans in a speech in Manchester – part of his domestic agenda to “turbo-charge” regional growth.
In response, Transport for the North (TfN) welcomed this news, as has Susan Hinchcliffe.
But, writing in the Yorkshire Post, the leader of the council in Bradford said this “once in a generation” opportunity to guarantee opportunities for people in the North should ensure full delivery of Northern Powerhouse Rail in the region – including Bradford.
Susan Hinchcliffe said: “More than 45,000 people commute between Bradford and Leeds each day, but 74% of these commuters travel by car.
“This holds our economy back, is bad for the environment and, most importantly, prevents the people of Bradford from realising their full potential. It has been shown that 38% of job seekers in our district cite poor transport connectivity as a barrier to employment.
“That is why any new Manchester to Leeds line must include a Bradford city centre station and I urge government to not waste time considering Northern Powerhouse Rail options that don’t include Bradford.
“Bradford is the largest city in the UK not on the main line rail network – an unacceptable situation for a city of its size with a population of over 530,000.
“Improving our connectivity would provide businesses with opportunities to access new markets in Bradford and beyond and allow workers to broaden their horizons when seeking employment.
“This is a once in a generation chance to increase opportunity for millions of people across the North of England, Prime Minister. Let’s make sure we get it right and deliver Northern Powerhouse Rail in full, including a station in Bradford city centre.”