Kirklees Council is working on plans for a new entrance to Huddersfield Railway Station which would link a historic warehouse building to the town centre, opening it up for re-development.
The council has submitted a bid for £10 million to West Yorkshire Combined Authority to create a new access.
Internally, the station will be completely re-modelled under the £1.5 billion TransPennine Route Upgrade (TRU), which will involve the electrification of an eight-mile stretch of track from Huddersfield to Westtown, just outside Dewsbury.
As a result of the TRU scheme, the council now wants to make the most of that “once-in-a-generation” investment to connect the grade II-listed St George’s Warehouse with the station and the town centre.
The council hopes making that connection will encourage developers to come forward with regeneration plans to use the impressive 19th century former goods warehouse for office space, apartments or leisure use.
The warehouse was built by the London & North Western Railway and is regarded as a fine example of industrial architecture.
The building has been empty since the 1970s and the land around it is used as a pay-and-display car park, though that use will stop when work starts on the station revamp.
There was concern expressed at a public inquiry into the TransPennine Route Upgrade that the internal works at the station, which include a new platform and re-arrangement and widening of others, an extension to the subway and the installation of a new footbridge, could leave St George’s Warehouse ‘cut off’ making regeneration unviable.
However, Network Rail has said that the internal works wouldn’t prevent a new entrance being created at the north-western side of the station and the subway extension to the proposed new platform had been designed to “allow for a possible further extension of the subway to the St George’s Warehouse site.”
It also says the new footbridge at the Leeds end of the station could also be extended “to a building within the warehouse site.”
A report to a meeting of the Ad Hoc Scrutiny Panel for Regeneration on Thursday September 22, reveals that the council has made a £10 million bid to West Yorkshire Combined Authority for the ‘Huddersfield Station Gateway.’
This would include: a subway or footbridge extension from the new platform to the warehouse site; a lift/stair tower from the warehouse site to the town centre for non-rail users; and a park-and-ride on the warehouse site for users of a re-developed warehouse, the station or the town centre in general.
Separately, the council is also working on a £16 million scheme called ‘Huddersfield Rail Station Connections’ which will involve improving and re-designing Northumberland Street, John William Street and St John’s Road to make it safer for cyclists and people on foot.
Rail users will be encouraged to use the Cambridge Road car park while the St George’s Warehouse parking is out of action.
The report also reveals that the council is working on a masterplan to make the corridor between the station and the John Smith’s Stadium a “focal point for high quality employment opportunities.”
That work is at an early stage and a report is expected early in 2023.