Leeds Bradford Airport Update
Just before Christmas, Leeds City Council scrapped plans for a new link road to Leeds Bradford Airport.
The Council said it had “taken on board” feedback from residents and its decision was not made because of “climate change lobbying”. Good news you might think, whatever the reason given, but dig a bit deeper and things are not quite so clear.
The Council are still intending to go ahead with related developments near to the airport including 36.2 hectares of commercial development to the hitherto undeveloped North of the airport. They rather alarmingly describe that as a “North West Leeds Commercial Hub”. They are also proposing to go ahead with proposals for a new “park and ride” railway station on green belt land about a mile to the East of the airport. This would be a two-way park and ride, serving office commuters in to the city centre, as well as air passengers who wish to travel to the airport by train from the city centre. A shuttle bus would operate between the Park and ride station and the airport terminal.
The problem as we see it is that both these related developments would still be a massive intrusion in to the green belt and act as a magnet for longer term development to the North and East of the airport in the future. They would also trigger a need for more local road transport improvements, now the link road has been scrapped. Local country roads, particularly around the proposed park and ride station, are not up to the standard required for the new park and ride station. Many think the Council should now be more ambitious and propose a direct train link in to the airport, although they have said previously that this would be too expensive. Things are changing though and with the Government’s recent statements about significantly more transport investment in the North of England, anything could be possible. If all other airports in the country can have direct rail links, why can’t Leeds Bradford?
CPRE West Yorkshire’s objections to the original link road were based on its substantial green belt impact as well as inadequate connection with the wider regional road network and other towns and cities in the Region, such as Bradford and Huddersfield. In our view Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority need to have a serious review of their plans for development around Leeds Bradford airport. Perhaps that is exactly what they are doing.
We will continue to monitor and be involved in plans for airport development.