With the Institute for High Speed Rail and System Integration being established at the University of Leeds and improvements coming to the city’s transport system, Leeds is set to see boosts to the housing market and economy.
Improving transport is likely to positively impact the property market and economy in Leeds and is expected to make Yorkshire’s powerhouse an even more liveable city. With improvements to the Leeds rail station and bus networks in the works, better connectivity could bring more businesses, investment, and young professionals to the city.
High-speed rail research facility
Improvement to rail transport is important to keep up with growth across the Northern Powerhouse, especially in Leeds. Because of this, the Government has approved funding for the University of Leeds to establish the Institute for High Speed Rail and System Integration, which is expected to be one of the most advanced high-speed rail research facilities in the world. The institute will revolutionise new railway systems – how they’re developed, invented, and implemented into service.
Jake Berry, minister of the Northern Powerhouse, stated: “Improving transport for people across the north remains our priority so it is fitting that the research facilities at the University of Leeds’ Institute for High Speed Rail and System Integration, when developed, will revolutionise the transport system and benefit passengers by ensuring it is fit for the 21st century and beyond.”
With the Government contributing £11m towards the project’s capital costs, the University of Leeds and partners in the rail industry are putting in £40m, while the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership Growth Deal is adding £13m. The Institute for High Speed Rail and System Integration will be located beside the Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone. It’s a part of the early phase of a plan to make the city region a centre for rail engineering. On top of that, the institute will create jobs and inward investment.
New trains and rail station improvements
As 31 million passengers travel through Leeds train station every year, it’s the third-busiest railway station in the UK outside of London. New LNER Azuma trains have been introduced supplementing the old 125 and 225 intercity trains, which have been a cornerstone of the Leeds to London line for about 30 years. With an aim to increase capacity and reduce journey times, the introduction of the new trains has boosted the local economy.
Andrew Wells, of property firm Allsop, wrote in a recent article in the Yorkshire Post that the Leeds economy is forecast to grow by around 8.5% over the next five years, which would make it one of the fastest growing economies across Europe. As improvements continue to be made to Leeds rail station, the upgrades are likely to continue to have a positive impact on the economy.
Additionally, better trains in Leeds and improved connectivity could also boost the city and region’s property market. As the city is competing with Manchester and London for young professionals, upgrading the station and its connections could draw in more young people to live in Leeds city centre with easy access to housing, employment, and leisure.
Earlier this year, Leeds City Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority unveiled a new bus network plan to double the number of bus journeys in 10 years. The plan is a part of Connecting Leeds, a wider transport strategy aiming to improve air quality, traffic flow, pedestrian crossings, and cycle lanes, in addition to reducing congestion.
These plans will allow Leeds to keep up with a growing population and further improve its liveability. As better connectivity is likely to draw more people, especially young professionals, to the city, Leeds is expected to continue to thrive with upgrades to local and regional transport.