Leeds City Centre is going through a number of changes over the next year or so and one of the biggest changes has been named “Connecting Leeds”. But what exactly is Connecting Leeds? You may have seen the signs around the city centre and been affected by the disruptions, so, here at Contact Numbers, we decided to explain exactly what it is.
What is Connecting Leeds?
Connecting Leeds is Leeds City Council’s latest effort to connect the city and make transport seamless and easy for the residents. It also involves a number of developments across the city to some of the key landmarks bringing the city into the 21st century and beyond.
They have broken their plans down into a number of key changes they want to make across the city, from the following:
- Create a new high frequency bus network with over 90% of bus services running every 10 minutes between the times of 7am and 8pm.
- Develop three new rail stations servicing Leeds Bradford Airport, Thorpe Park and the popular shopping centre White Rose (home to the likes of Argos, Debenhams, Game, Sky, Three and many more)
- Provide 2,000 additional park and ride spaces across the city
- 1000+ additional bus stops with real time information
These are just some of the proposed changes across the city. One of the major changes the city is going through at the moment is to the popular Headrow.
Introducing the brand new Headrow
The popular bus corridor has been given a £20 million cash injection for refurbishment to make it more accessible to cyclists, buses and pedestrians by 2020. The works would also see improvements made to the likes of Westgate, Vicar Lane, New Briggate, Cookridge Street, Harrison Street and Eastgate.
Artists impressions of the Headrow have been released which show what the outcome of the project could look like. The scheme hopes to double the number of buses on the Headrow by 2026, encouraging the cities occupants to use public transport more frequently.
What business will be affected by the works on the Headrow?
There are a number of businesses down the Headrow and all should still be accessible by path, just not by public transport.
One of the public’s biggest concerns was the impact it will have on the Headrow’s shops and bars. The Headrow is home to popular shops like Argos, TK Maxx, Sainsbury’s and popular local record store Crash Records. You can also find Yorkshire Bank just off the Headrow, but you don’t need to worry as all these stores will still be accessible despite the interruption. Public footpaths will still be open and the public will be able to move freely and visit the stores.
Will public transport be impacted?
Buses are likely to be heavily affected by the works on the Headrow with a number of the cities many services using it as a direct route out or into the city. The changes are set to be in place for over a year and will impact a number of different services heading out towards the North of the city.
Most of the works are currently been completed overnight with the major works set to begin at the end of the year. Services won’t revert back to normal until Autumn 2020.
Leeds, the new home of Channel 4
You may have seen it splattered all over the news but Leeds is now the home of Channel 4, a move that further strengthens this developing and growing city. A decision that was announced back in October 2018 is set to be of huge benefit to both the city and the TV broadcaster. They’re set to takeover the old Majestic night club in the heart of the city, only a stone’s throw from the train station.
Channel 4’s chief executive Alex Mahon was one of the first to praise the broadcaster’s big move North:
“Leeds put forward a compelling and ambitious strategy for how they could work alongside Channel 4 to further build the strong independent production sector in the city and develop new diverse talent from across the region.
“Locating our National HQ in Leeds enables us to capitalise on a strong and fast-growing independent production sector in cities across the North of England – and also has the potential to unlock growth in the North East and East of the country, an area without a major presence from other national broadcasters.”
The brand new Leeds Train Station
Leeds Train Station is currently undergoing one of its biggest transformations in the last decade. The station is frequently used by commuters with the likes of National Rail, LNER and more using it as a stop off to destinations like London and Edinburgh.
A new transparent roof is set to be fitted similar to that of the Eden Project which will make the Southern concourse be shrouded in light.
Network Rail has also confirmed a number of other changes including details about the new free toilets which will be music to passenger’s ears! There used to be a 40p charge in place but this has now been scrapped. There will also be improvements to the South entrance with plans in place to widen the paths from the entrance down to the Queen’s Hotel. Keep your eye out for a number of different changes throughout the station as they strive to become one of the best in the country.
Improved transport across the city
To coincide with the main train station’s new look, the city is looking to expand its transport network to make the city and its outskirts more accessible.
There are set to be three new ‘Mass Rapid Transport’ lines fitted with stations fitted at the likes of Leeds Arena/LGI, Eastgate and Southbank. The three lines would serve the following:
- Line 1 – Holbeck, Armley, Bramley and Pudsey before heading into Bradford and North Kirklees before ending at Dewsbury.
- Line 2 – Leeds Dock, Temple Green, a new park and ride at Tingley, Woodlesford and Castleford.
- Line 3 – Leeds central station, Leeds Arena, St James’ Hospital, Harehills, Seacroft and on to Thorpe Park.
It hasn’t been confirmed as yet whether the transport will be trains, trams or buses with the plans set to be part of their ambitious objective to develop an inclusive, modern and integrated transport system for the region for the next 20 years and beyond. As Leeds is now one of the only cities in the UK to not be connected by a mass transport system, this proposal might bring the city back in line with other major cities across the UK.
With these changes in place, Leeds is set to become one of the country’s most developed and thriving cities. With more changes set to come, keep your eyes peeled as the city continues to move forward and become a true Northern powerhouse.