Northern Powerhouse Rail plans for Bradford City Centre

The site currently occupied by Bradford’s St James’s Wholesale Market is the planned location for a new city centre Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) station, Bradford Council’s Leader has announced today (Monday, 22 March).

Putting Bradford on a mainline NPR route between Leeds and Manchester, with a through station, has long been regarded by the Council and partners to be key to the wider regeneration of the city and district.

It would slash journey times to 10 minutes to Leeds and 22 minutes to Manchester, connecting businesses and workforces to existing, new and emerging markets across the North and beyond. It would connect the district’s young and entrepreneurial population to the Northern labour market as well as attracting investment and creating jobs in the district. It would also support the district’s aspiration for clean, sustainable and inclusive growth and its ambition to be the UK City of Culture 2025.

A new city centre NPR station in Bradford is supported by Transport for the North, Network Rail, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Northern Powerhouse Partnership and a host of other organisations and private sector businesses across the North.

The six-acre St James’s Market site at Essex Street is owned by the Council and is opposite the Cineworld cinema, just a short walk from the Interchange station that it would eventually replace. It is also just off the A650 Wakefield Road and is only minutes away from the M606 link to the motorway network.

No decisions have been made about the exact route for the rail line into and out of the new station, and there are no immediate implications for traders at St James’s Wholesale Market.

However, St James wholesale market is the largest in the Yorkshire and North East region. There is potential to create a northern food hub with a new larger and more accessible modern wholesale market being centre stage, creating more jobs, strengthening local and regional food distribution as well as market access for regional food producers.

The market remains fully let with no opportunity to expand on the current site despite strong demand from existing businesses wishing to expand and new businesses wishing to locate here to take advantage of the 500 local and regional retailers that use the market each week.

As a city, Bradford is strategically located being equidistant between London and Edinburgh and Liverpool and Hull meaning it is in an ideal location for the movement of fresh produce across the UK.

City Centre Station could bring £30bn Levelling Up prize

The new city centre rail station located on the site of the city’s St James market would unlock large scale regeneration of a size and significance similar to that of London’s Olympic Park. Analysis undertaken for "Bradford and Northern Powerhouse Rail", a new report by design experts Arup's, confirms the site as the preferred location for the station.

The report builds a compelling case for investment as the Government prepares to finalise its Integrated Rail Plan. Once built the station could:

  • Boost Bradford’s economy by almost £30bn over a decade
  • Bring 6.7 million people and an area of over £167bn of annual economic output within a 35-minute journey of central Bradford.
  • Create 27,000 new jobs
  • Generate a 10% uplift in land values
  • Unlock 1.3m additional accessible jobs within 90 minutes of Bradford

Bradford City Centre – NPR announcement speeches 22 March 2021

Bradford City Centre NPR plan

BBC Look North report - Bradford NPR announcement 22 March 2021

Transport for the North makes the case for NPR linking to Bradford