The UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB) has partnered with Bradford Council to work on the proposed Southern Gateway train station, a regeneration project focused on sustainable development. Under its Local Authority advisory service, UKIB will offer strategic guidance to Bradford Council regarding project delivery, financing, and available options.
The scheme includes the establishment of a new through station, which will improve travel times to Manchester and Leeds, as well as a 120-hectare site earmarked for sustainable development. This project holds significant importance for Bradford Council’s ambitions to generate economic prosperity for the region and aligns perfectly with UKIB’s investment principles of driving regional and local economic growth while addressing climate change challenges.
This collaboration follows two preliminary pilot projects in the transport sector conducted by UKIB’s advisory service in Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire. Additionally, recent engagements with Glasgow City Council and the Welsh Government/Transport for Wales on Mass Transit and Zero Emission Buses have further enriched UKIB’s expertise in advisory services.
The Bank is committed to expanding its advisory capabilities, leveraging the knowledge gained from previous projects in Glasgow and Wales, to assist local authorities and devolved administrations in developing and financing infrastructure initiatives.
In addition to enhancing access to the national rail network, the proposed Southern Gateway train station will improve east-west connectivity and reduce travel times. UKIB’s advisory work will aid Bradford Council in assessing the commercial and financial challenges related to station development, funding models and sources, as well as potential delivery structures for the station or the public realm surrounding it.
John Flint, CEO of UK Infrastructure Bank, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, stating, “As a Bank located in the region, this collaboration with Bradford Council presents a tremendous opportunity for our team to advise and support a local authority in our own backyard.
“Successful projects that combine improved public transport with broader regeneration efforts are crucial to the Bank’s mission of boosting regional and local economic growth and facilitating the UK’s transition to a Net Zero economy.”
Kersten England, Chief Executive Officer of the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, emphasized the significance of their collaboration with UKIB, saying, “Our partnership with UKIB will help us explore investment options, identify various funding models, and navigate the practicalities of market and state finance to realize our ambitions. Bradford plays a pivotal role across the entire North of England, and railway investments that enhance east-west connections through our district will position us at the forefront of progressive place-making and sustainability for decades to come.”
The advisory service provided by UKIB is an integral part of the Bank’s mandate, as determined by the UK Government. This service will complement other sources of advice available to local authorities across the devolved nations, facilitating optimal collaboration with the private sector to maximize value.
In March 2023, legislation granting the Bank statutory status received Royal Assent, granting the Bank the authority to directly lend to local authorities throughout the UK. With £4 billion available for deployment, the Bank can offer flexible loans at preferential rates to support regional infrastructure projects.