The station is intended to replace Cottingley's station. Credit: Spencer Group

Developer tightlipped on White Rose impasse

Three months after contractor Spencer Group departed from the job, there are no signs of progress at the proposed £26m Leeds railway station.

The project’s main funder is West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which committed to stumping up £22m of the total estimated cost. The other partners in the project are Network Rail and Munroe K.

Munroe K, owner of both the White Rose shopping centre and office park – for which expansion plans marketed around the increased accessibility of the site have been floated, with plans for 145,000 sq ft of offices lodged last year – took on the role of project delivery.

In October last year, all was still going to plan, with Spencer lifting bridges into place to connect the station buildings with platform levels at what is designed, in line with modern requirements, as a step-free environment.

However it was announced in March that construction work would halt, due to spiralling costs. At that time, Munroe K chief executive David Aspin said that “taking this step now is in the best interest of ensuring the project’s long-term success”.

Between Morley and Cottingley on the main line to Huddersfield and Manchester,  White Rose is billed as a fully accessible station with cycle storage, with the wider project including improved walking and cycling routes between Cottingley, Churwell and Milshaw.

The intention is that once White Rose station opens, it will replace Cottingley station as the two are too close together to both operate.

With months now elapsed since construction stopped, questions over whether the project will be re-procured, who might take on the responsibility of filling funding gaps, and any timeline for completion remain unanswered.

A West Yorkshire Combined Authority spokesperson said: “We are investing £22m into White Rose Rail Station. This scheme is a major priority for West Yorkshire. We are committed to working with partners to see it open as soon as possible.”

Munroe K declined to comment at this stage.

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