Interchange & Forster Square Upgrades Delayed

West Yorkshire Combined Authority will be funding both schemes, and at a meeting of the authority’s West Yorkshire and York Investment Committee on Wednesday, members will discuss the delays to both projects, and approve the new timescales.

Plans to upgrade Bradford’s two main rail stations have both been delayed with one of the schemes likely to finish over a year later than planned.

A £5.6 million refurbishment of Bradford Interchange is not likely to now be complete until October 2021, not September 2020 as originally planned.

And a £17.3 million project to completely upgrade Bradford Forster Square Station will not be completed until December 2021 – nine months after original March 2021 completion date.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority will be funding both schemes, and at a meeting of the authority’s West Yorkshire and York Investment Committee on Wednesday, members will discuss the delays to both projects, and approve the new timescales.

A report being presented to members details the reasons for the delays in both projects, and also reveals that 'feasibility studies' into both are costing more than originally expected.

Improvements to Bradford Interchange are the first stage of what is hoped to be a major transformation of the station – which could ultimately culminate in a high speed rail link at or near the station.

Before then there will be several waves of improvements. The £5.65 million scheme that makes up the first wave is due to include the pedestrianisation of the station frontage and creation of improved public realm, improved station concourses, the creation of a new taxi turn-around, the creation of a new drop off area and accessibility improvements.

A business case for the project was due to be submitted in September, but the report says it is now not likely to be submitted until June.

The report says: “Due to a shortage of resource, the outline business case submission has been delayed by nine months.

“This has also affected the full business case and full business case cost submissions by twelve months which has in turn meant a thirteen month delay in the completion of this project.”

The committee will be asked to increase the amount they are spending on the business case for the project from £180,000 to £293,000. However, this is not expected to change the overall cost of the project.

The £17.31 million Forster Square redevelopment will include a new station building, improved security, turning unused rail arches into shops, and providing “better connectivity” with the rest of the city centre.

“Insufficient expertise” within Bradford Council is behind the start of the project being pushed back, according to the report going to the Combined Authority.

It says; “The delay is due to additional time required to develop and agree the procurement route. There was insufficient expertise to write the Invitation to tender (ITT) at Bradford Council, which has had to be procured externally.

“The decision to procure and appoint a consultant to write the ITT took approx. four months, which has impacted on the programme overall.”

The Combined Authority is funding £17.061 million of the project and Bradford Council the remaining £250,000.

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