PLANS to improve links to Leeds Bradford Airport are being slammed as “folly” by transport campaigners.

The Leeds City council proposals display a “a travesty of myopia and lack of imagination” according to the West and North Yorkshire branch of the Campaign for Better Transport.

The council will launch a public consultation in the new year on an airport parkway rail station and three link route options.

It says it is planning an “integrated connectivity package” and is expecting to submit outline business cases during the spring and summer of 2019.

But the campaign group says: “Proposals to build another rail station just south of Bramhope tunnel and near the existing Horsforth station, and link it to the Leeds Bradford Airport by bus is a further waste of public money by Leeds City Council.

“The time deterrence of transferring from rail to bus will mean that it most likely will be quicker to use existing direct bus services from central Leeds and Harrogate, or continue to use one’s car. Continued car use no doubt will be welcomed by the airport’s parking coffers and which are clearly designed to be protected by this folly.”

The group claims a shuttle bus connection could be operated from the existing Horsforth railway station, and that another station would be a waste of money.

It says: “There is a £5m turnback already built at Horsforth railway station that could readily form the start of a direct rail connection to the airport’s concourse.”

It adds: “The proposed 350-spaces park and ride facility alongside the new railway station is far too small to offer anything but a pinprick siphoning of the traffic flows along the A65 or other congested local roads, and itself is likely to generate more traffic. If it operates as a park-and-ride site clogged with the parked cars of commuters, how can it offer parking space to day users of the airport?”

The group says: “What is required is a thorough analysis of a direct rail spur from the existing Horsforth station to the airport concourse served by a revised network of rail services radiating across West Yorkshire. With a curvaceous route, the gradient is not a major issue. At the moment we have a travesty of myopia and lack of imagination.”

A Leeds Council spokesperson said:”The Department of Transport supported scheme has been developed to do much more than provide a rail-based connection to the airport. It is a key element of a wider Leeds economic growth strategy which will support the creation of more jobs. It will help meet the travel requirements of people living in the wider area to better connect with Leeds and Harrogate for typically commuting and leisure purposes.

“It will also provide a new park and ride facility, which will not be additional parking for airport users but for use by people commuting into Leeds and the Leeds City Region. Parking problems will be eased around other stations, like Horsforth.

“For those people who are using the link to travel to and from the airport it would mean a rail journey of around 15 minutes from central Leeds and then a short shuttle bus journey on services co-ordinated to run alongside train arrivals, which is a saving on current bus and car journey times. Other airports have similar connections over similar distances. Studies have been carried out on a train direct to the airport but because of the terrain and cost, it would be very difficult to achieve.

“Leeds Bradford Airport are advocates for the rail station and have indicated that that the rail connection would improve connectivity for airport employees and are working with us to provide up-to-date travel patterns that will be part of the scheme’s business case.

“Development of the scheme will be coordinated with ongoing timetables. The current proposal would not see any trains calling at the new Leeds Bradford Parkway missing out other stops at Horsforth.”

Derails about the council’s public engagement on the issue can be found at