White Rose rail station to be built just 750m from Cottingley station
Some of the shine has been taken off the news that South Leeds is to get a new rail station to serve the White Rose Office Park and Shopping Centre, by doubts about the future of Cottingley station.
Plans for the station at White Rose took another step forward in November when West Yorkshire Combined Authority approved funding of over £2.5 million towards the development of the station.
The full contribution, budgeted at £5m, will come from the £272m awarded to Leeds after the Trolleybus scheme was cancelled by the government. This funding is being used to deliver a range of transport schemes including the Stourton Park & Ride scheme and the changes to streets in the city centre under the banner of Connecting Leeds.
But residents have been warned that with new station being located just 750m along the busy Leeds–Manchester line from Cottingley it is “unlikely that two stations that are so close together can be fully sustained.”
Commuters we spoke to at Cottingley station were not impressed with the possible closure.
“It’s a very convenient station to have” one passenger told us. “I commute daily to work in the city centre. I think they are underestimating the number of people who take this route, a lot of people rely on this station. It’s one the reasons I bought my house here, being close to the station.”
Another passenger who lives on Cottingley Hall estate and uses the train everyday for work said:
“It would be terrible, I would have to take the bus, but it’s a long walk through the cemetery and I would be frightened on my own. I’d probably move away.”
Another Cottingley resident said she would have to use the bus, but added:
“Everyday the bus goes past and it’s full, so you’d be lucky to get to work for nine o’clock.”
And another passenger told us: “I moved about a year ago to Churwell New Village mainly because of the convenience of the station.
“I can understand the logistics of not keeping this open with the White Rose station, but obviously it would be a big blow to us and another 87 houses are being built here.
“I’m not keen to walk on any of the routes around here on my own. The station might be 750m along the railway line, but it’s not quite as easy as it sounds to extend that journey.”
A further round of consultation is promised for next year before final decisions are taken.
Cllr Gohar Almass, member for the Beeston & Holbeck ward which includes Cottingley Hall, but not Churwell, told South Leeds Life:
“Firstly, I’m grateful to Cllr Kim Groves who attended a couple of events we held in Cottingley regarding transport issues. I’d be very happy if Cottingley Station continues to stay open, but on the other hand there needs to be enough people using it for it to continue to be viable. If the proposed new station is built it should ensure more frequent trains which is a positive news for the wider area.
“It is vitally important to have good and safe walking routes to it from all over Cottingley Hall area, meaning accessible and well-lit paths to the proposed new station. A hopper bus has also been discussed as a possibility.
“I think it’s a shame that although the residents of Cottingley Hall only live a stone throw away from the very lively city centre, they are often disconnected from it due to infrequent and in some cases very unreliable transport system.
“This needs radical reforms and urgent improvements by the private companies who run the services and are making huge profits out of their Leeds operations.”
The new station would be located close to White Rose Office Park, home to firms such as Capita and HSBC as well as Elliott Hudson College. The plans are being developed jointly by Munroe K who own the Office Park and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. The station will be fully accessible (unlike Cottingley) and be integrated with road access, bus services and cycle routes.
Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee and a Middleton ward councillor said:
“A new station serving the White Rose Office Park would result in improved transport links across the area and would act as a catalyst for local regeneration and housing growth, economic activity and jobs in the surrounding area.
“This would mean new opportunities for people in my own ward of Middleton and for the communities of Cottingley, Churwell and Millshaw and Morley.”