Last month, Leeds City Council’s executive board approved an Integrated Station Masterplan that will link the existing station with the new HS2 hub – and now you can see what it will look like.
The new station entrance was just the beginning and now plans are finally starting to come together for the Leeds Integrated Station Masterplan. It will bring the existing station together with the new HS2 hub – but that’s not the only change they’re making. This is a chance to turn the station into the welcome we’ve always wanted, so the new plans will stretch out from the station itself into surrounding areas to create throughways into the city that make your arrival in Leeds the best it can be.
The new plans have been created by The Atkins Consortium, a group of world-renowned design, engineering and project management consultants, including Gensler’s lead for transport and infrastructure Hiro Aso, who was the lead architect behind the redevelopment of King’s Cross Station in London. They’ve been working closely with the Council to create a design that meets the changing needs of the city.
“The masterplan has a clear focus on the future and the arrival of HS2 but can be implemented in phases, bringing benefits to passengers and the city at each stage. We will be working closely with our partners, funders and stakeholders to secure the funding which will make this vision a reality,” Mike McNicholas, Managing Director for Infrastructure at Atkins, told us. “The Leeds Station district will be one of the largest integrated transport hubs in the UK. It will bring together HS2, the classic railway, buses, coaches and taxis into a single place enabling easier journeys between cities in the Northern Powerhouse and around Leeds itself. The bold vision for the district will ensure Leeds remains a key gateway to the north and surrounding areas.”
It’s got new entrances to make it easier to get in and out of the station, as well as new platforms, a new central concourse and a host of public spaces. They’ve integrated a statement roof into the design and added a new footbridge that passes over the platforms below, making the most of the space, but keeping the bright airy feel – it’s a stark contrast to the London Underground, that’s for sure. Expect a medley of new bars, restaurants and shops too, because they’ll be creating lots of new units as they revamp the space.
Outside the station, there will be more change – and yes, it means pedestrianising more of the city’s streets. In fact, they’re looking at remodelling the city centre road network, potentially closing both New Station Street and City Square to traffic. Meanwhile, the Dark Arches, which have been tragically underused for years, will be transformed into retail and leisure units – God it’ll be good to see them back in use again.
“These fantastic new images of what Leeds Station could look like show not only its exciting future as a distinct and welcoming gateway to the city, but how important it is to get this right by putting people and the visitor experience at the heart of all the plans. It must provide a step-change not only for the future of transport and connectivity in our city and region, but also as a key economic driver for our future economy providing opportunities for all to benefit from through a clear people-first approach,” Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor, Judith Blake, explained.
The new station will, of course, also mark the arrival of high-speed rail in Leeds, something that’s essential to help us realise our potential as a driving force in the Northern Powerhouse, and these new plans are certainly a step in the right direction.