Bradford South MP Judith Cummins has called on Rail Minister Andrew Jones to back an NPR stop in Bradford city centre, or else risk “repeating the mistakes of the past”.
Judith was speaking during a Westminster Hall debate that was discussing last year’s key Transport Select Committee report.
The exact location for a Northern Powerhouse Rail station is still to be determined, but a stop outside of the city centre has been suggested.
Addressing Rail Minister Andrew Jones, Judith said: “The Minister may recall from our conversation his supportive disposition to a Bradford stop on the NPR line and I must re-emphasise in the strongest possible terms the importance of this being a city centre station.
“The city of Bradford’s rail connections already operate under the disjointed legacy of two stations and adding a third station outside of the city centre risks repeating the mistakes of the past.
“To be plain, a parkway station for the NPR outside the city centre would deliver neither the connectivity or economic regeneration the city needs and it would represent an enormous missed opportunity.”
Judith spoke in depth about funding disparities between London and the South East’s transport spending and said the Transport Select Committee report “must be a wakeup call for the Government”.
Judith said: “The current transport scheme appraisal methods used by the Department for Transport and Treasury will always favour London as they prioritise congestion reduction and journey time savings – an approach that actively disadvantages less economically buoyant regions.”
The Government has published a ‘rebalancing toolkit’ aimed at addressing the problem, but Judith said it was “nowhere near enough.
“Regional rebalancing must not be an optional-extra, but at the heart of any transport investment decision-making,” she added.
“Bradford, like other towns and cities across the North, urgently needs this high speed rail link to meet growing demand and to fulfil our economic potential.
“And that investment in NPR should include a Bradford stop in the city centre where the benefits will be felt by the greatest number of people.”
Addressing Judith at the end of the debate, Mr Jones said: “The Honourable Lady for Bradford South talked about Northern Powerhouse Rail. I am also very keen to see Bradford well served by that. Indeed, Transport for the North are developing the proposals for NPR – that is great, it will be from the North, for the North.
“I think it is a very exciting project.”
Mr Jones said he had urged TfN to “get on with this properly” because “NPR and HS2 are linked in lots of different ways and any delays to NPR could compromise other projects, so I am urging progress and speedy progress.”