The Yorkshire Party has lambasted the Government for cancelling the eastern leg of HS2 to Leeds and the new Bradford station on the proposed Leeds-Manchester line.
Yorkshire Party Leader, Bob Buxton, said: "Cancelling the highest-budget projects in Yorkshire is not levelling-up, it's downgrading and degrading. Yorkshire's prosperity will be damaged for decades to come. The Yorkshire Party supports increased rail capacity and speed but has been wary of the project management of HS2 for years. As well as failing to consider communities along the routes, we correctly predicted that its budget would continue to spiral out of control and that Yorkshire’s interests would be sacrificed to make ends meet.”
Dr Buxton, an engineer, was also sceptical of the rumoured tram network proposals for Leeds: “We await the consolation prize with caution; a Leeds tram system is not a solution for the whole of West Yorkshire, which all candidates called for in the mayoral election, and there’s no guarantee we’ll even get a Leeds tramway. Tramways have limitation if trams are not integrated with and able to run on higher speed, heavy rail options, too. The whole of West Yorkshire needs a tram-trains network, along with increases in line and platform capacity. Essentially, we need a tram network complemented by elements of a metro-
system, providing high-speed ‘arteries’ to lower journey times.”
“Even if such a network were constructed, it should be as well as other projects, not instead of them. London will be served by Crossrail and HS2; London never has to choose, while Yorkshire has no choice.”
“We welcome the reduction of travel times from Bradford to Leeds, but it would be much more valuable if Leeds’ HS2 network hadn’t just been scrapped. And there is very little help for the main problem HS2 was meant to solve: local line capacity.”
Dr Buxton concluded: “Without powerful devolution, Yorkshire will continue to be failed. With powerful devolution, Yorkshire would succeed and grow."