Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce responds to the proposed siting of the Low Moor Rail Station
MID YORKSHIRE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
1st December 2011
Low Moor Station
Metro, in partnership with Network Rail, Northern Rail and the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, is planning to build a new rail station at Low Moor. Development and updating of the long term proposals were completed in May 2010 and the site for the proposed station was confirmed as Cleckheaton Road, (off New Works Road), approximately 3 miles south west of the city centre. The proposed new station will be situated on the Caldervale Line between Bradford Interchange and Halifax Rail Station. The proposed new station will include: Approximately 116 space car park, including dedicated Blue Badge-holder parking spaces, and cycle parking : Fully accessible platforms with footbridge, staircases and ramps : CCTV : Passenger information displays and public address system : Modern waiting shelters :Direct access to/from the Spen Valley Greenway
Whilst the Mid Yorkshire Chamber welcomes the decision to at long last commence the development of a station at Low Moor, we think that there are a number of very important points relating to the proposed development which are worthy of discussion and reconsideration. Accordingly, in our consultation reply to Metro regarding the plans for the new station, the Chamber has made a number of observations and suggestions, the main one being that we consider that the proposed site for the station would ideally be to the east, not west, of Cleckheaton Road:
• Conservation Area status should be reconsidered
• Future options for the Spen Valley Line should be accommodated
• Longer Platforms ought to feature
• A bigger Car Park will be required
We strongly disagree with the siting of the proposed station to the west of Cleckheaton Road. We are advised that this is necessitated because the site of the old station to the east side has now become a Conservation Area. We consider that the new Conservation Area status should be challenged - with a view to overturning the decision. There is much more available space to the east side of the road, and more importantly, the east side location fully satisfies all logistical requirements whereas the present proposal does not.
To accept that the former station and engine shed site to the east should be a Conservation Area is unacceptable given that part of it is waste ground and some appears to be a Business Park. Locating the station to the west is such that future development would be extremely difficult, whereas to the east there is a much larger area of land available for development. It would also facilitate a ready-made station and platform for the Spen Valley line were that route ever to be reopened. That Spen Valley route is the only practical way of providing Bradford with a rail route to the south which does not entail having to travel the already severely congested corridor through Leeds. It is the only route with its infrastructure in place (it was preserved by Kirklees Council as a ‘Greenway’ precisely for this reason - providing an amenity for local residents whilst looking to the future). Alternative, long-abandoned rail routes to the south have sadly had their infrastructure removed and thus their reinstatement would most likely prove prohibitive due to the very high costs involved.
On the alternative site a much bigger Car Park could be constructed which could then become a major park and ride facility for South Bradford and parts of Calderdale and Kirklees. Lessons should be learned from the experience at New Pudsey, where it has now become obvious that demand for parking was grossly underestimated and where the shortage of parking places has resulted in potential rail travellers being discouraged from using public transport as a viable travel option.
Commenting, Steven Leigh, Head of Policy at the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said:
“This present proposal will block or at least severely impede any possible connection at the location with the former rail route south through Spen Valley and thus close down options for future rail developments which could otherwise allow for the re-opening of the Spen Valley Line.”
“Given that road usage is predicted to increase by 43% by 2035, the failure of the present proposal to reasonably facilitate future rail transport options is hardly an enlightened course of action.”
David Horsman, President of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber added:
“We urge Bradford MDC and Metro to fundamentally reconsider the present proposal for the location of this station, overturn the Conservation Order, and instead site the station to the east where all logic and common-sense dictates that it ought to be located.”
“The highly controversial and suspect Conservation Area argument is completely unacceptable, and cannot be allowed to prevent the proper development of a facility which the businesses and residents of South Bradford, parts of Calderdale and North Kirklees deserve after waiting for action for many years.”“It is to be hoped that Bradford and Metro can now demonstrate a more enlightened and forward-looking approach to this project, more in keeping with the vision and ambitions demonstrated by their neighbouring Local Authorities in Calderdale and Kirklees.”
For further information contact;
Steven Leigh 07809 658533