Kirklees Council has officially withdrawn its objection to Network Rail’s £1.5 billion TransPennine Route Upgrade.

The council had previously expressed its support for the scheme which will see electrification of the line between Huddersfield and Westtown just outside Dewsbury, and also a massive internal modernisation of Huddersfield Railway Station.

However, the council was concerned that Network Rail wouldn’t fully explain or negotiate over the potential disruption that would be caused on road and rail and so lodged an official objection and a public inquiry was triggered.

The objection was only ever seen as a negotiating tactic to bring Network Rail officials round the table and the council has now withdrawn the objection and won’t take part in the inquiry, due to start on November 2 at the John Smith’s Stadium. 

In a statement the council said: “The council closely examined the proposals from Network Rail and have worked collaboratively with them, and others, to fine tune the technical details and ensure disruption for residents during construction is minimised.

READ MORE: Huddersfield Railway Station faces closure for a month when works get underway

“The positive partnership that has been forged with Network Rail means that the council will be able to engage with them from now until the completion of the project, keeping the interests of Kirklees residents and businesses at the forefront of the process.

“Assurances have come in the form of three legally binding agreements with Network Rail to cover highways issues, arrangements around the sustained operation of the household waste recycling centres at Emerald Street in Huddersfield and Weaving Lane in Dewsbury during the construction process and secured financial contributions for replacement tree planting and long-term management of woodland areas post completion of the project.

“An agreed list of planning conditions will also be submitted into the inquiry process, to be considered by the planning inspector and be attached to the planning consent for the works and an agreed statement of common ground.”

What Huddersfield Railway Station could look like

Clr Peter McBride, Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “We welcome this investment in Kirklees. We are certain that the TransPennine Route Upgrade is in the best interests of us all.

“Improved travel from Kirklees and into the North of England is essential for our economic future.

“As a result of the close partnership working between the council and Network Rail, we are now in a position to withdraw our objection to the project and no longer need to take part in the public inquiry.

“We will continue to protect the interests of the residents and businesses of Kirklees and we look forward to seeing this ambitious programme come to life.”

Clr Peter McBride

The upgrade plan will double the number of tracks from two to four, electrify the route from Huddersfield to Dewsbury and make big improvements to the four stations in this section – Huddersfield, Deighton, Mirfield and Ravensthorpe.

There are also plans to separate the lines going to/from Leeds from the lines going to/from Wakefield, with either a bridge or a tunnel.

Once complete, the upgrade promises more trains, improved journey times and greater reliability.

READ MORE: Rob Martin takes part in our new feature Why I Love Huddersfield