New research from property consultants Mace has suggested that the construction of a new hub train station in Bradford could provide an economic boost of £1.5bn a year to the local economy.
The report, launched in partnership with Bradford Metropolitan District Council, examines the impact of building a new rail hub in Bradford city centre as part of Northern Powerhouse Rail to improve east-west connectivity from Liverpool, Manchester, Bradford, Leeds and Hull.
It says Bradford should take inspiration from the recent £750m redevelopment of Birmingham New Street Station, as the project is expected to boost regional economic output by £3bn a year as well as creating 3,000 jobs.
Major institutions including Deutsche Bank, HS2, and HSBC have also committed to locating major offices in Birmingham and £1bn of commercial property changed hands in 2015 (the year
the station was completed), which Mace say was all influenced by improvements at New Street station.
However, the report acknowledges that the challenges in Bradford are different to those in Birmingham.
Bradford suffers currently from a comparatively low employment rate of 68.7%, versus a national employment rate that is now over 75%.
Productivity in Bradford is also lower than in Birmingham, with Gross Value Added (GVA) per head at £18,800, compared to £22,300.
Bradford’s population has been growing marginally faster than Birmingham’s during the last 10 years, which combined with a large young population underlines its potential as a source of
labour supply, according to the report.
The report adds that because current rail connectivity in the city is so poor, a centrally located station would ‘boost commuting capacity significantly,’ improving both job creation potential in Bradford and in terms of access to other local labour markets for Bradford residents.
Lisa Bowden, head of infrastructure in the North at Mace, said: ‘For Bradford, direct connections across the North will mean more investment coming into the city and residents will greatly benefit from the regeneration this will kick-start across the district whilst also supporting the wider economic contributions to the North’s economy.
‘Mace is backing Bradford’s campaign for Northern Powerhouse Rail as we believe this is a truly once in a generation opportunity to change the city for the better, boosting economic growth, supporting the regeneration in the city and supporting the young and dynamic residents and businesses that call the city home, both now and in the future.’
Read the report here