Cycle Kirtklees appeared at the Public Inquiry into the TransPennine upgrade (Huddersfield to Westtown, Dewsbury) to make the case for improved access for cyclists and pedestrians in the expanded Huddersfield station. In its Proof of Evidence KCC said, as there were no plans to open up the western side of the station, the plans were not future-proof and were in contradiction to DfT policies on cycling.
The Public Inquiry started on 2nd November in the John Smith Stadium. KCC appeared on 5th November to articulate the lack of access for cyclists and pedestrians on the north west side of the tracks, and to stress the need of the plans to take account the emerging Kirklees Plan, as outlined in the Huddersfield Blueprint.
KCC was represented by Chas Ball (Chair, KCC), supported by Joanne Waddington (KCC committee) and Richard Armitage (see photo). Evidence from Huddersfield Unlimited & Huddersfield Civic Society presented by Hugh Goulbourne (photo, far left) followed, which reinforced KCC objections.
Chas Ball both cross-examined Network Rail witnesses and was grilled by counsel for Network Rail (see link).
The Public Inquiry concludes in early December and the Inspector will report his conclusions to Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport.
Our evidence referred to original plans for the railway station published by Kirklees Council in the Blueprint which were withdraw following a judicial review. We argued for inclusion of this new western station entrance; a new station square; space for drop off/pick up and taxis, and for cycle parking on the Leeds platforms. There is also an ambition to create a direct link between the site and St George’s Square, subject to satisfying station security and revenue protection requirements.
It is clear that delivering the vision in these plans should not be the responsibility of the council alone, but also of other public, private and third sector organisations. If these plans are not developed parallel to the station upgrade we expressed doubt it would ever be attempted. We expressed regret that a multi-million pound upgrade was not including a future proofing of the station’s capacity, which we now know will be on the planned main east west Northern Powerhouse Rail route.