THE YORKSHIRE Party candidate for West Yorkshire Mayor, has claimed his party has won ‘the battle for public support’, after the public backed a direct rail link to Leeds-Bradford Airport in a recent consultation.

Dr Bob Buxton, who has a PhD in engineering, said: “People agree with our vision for a proper, direct rail link to the airport, with a park-and-ride to take traffic off the congested roads.”

“Not only is it the best option for the here and now, but when we get a mass transit system, it will link to it and make it stronger. In contrast, Leeds City Council’s proposed parkway station on the Harrogate line will then be obsolete. They only consulted on their pre-chosen option, and the public have let them know they’ve got it wrong. Will they listen this time?”

The consultation report says: "Across all sentiments, an overarching theme was a desire for the rail line to run directly to the terminal…Over half of those who were not happy with the proposals (which totals just over a quarter of all respondents) gave this as a reason why and many of those who were supportive of the parkway proposals still stated that, although they were happy with the idea of a parkway station, it would be even better if it ran to the terminal."

In response to the questions: ‘Why is the station not being built at the Airport Terminal building?’ Leeds City Council stated: “An outline options appraisal study estimated that a heavy rail link that connects the Harrogate line to the airport terminal building would cost in the region of £350m-£400m, due largely to the topography of the area which would require tunnelling.”

The Yorkshire Party candidate for Horsforth, Cllr Roland Gilmore, who has 40 years’ experience in the rail industry, said: “There is no necessity for a “heavy rail link” that requires tunnelling. A light rail system from Horsforth station to the airport would cost significantly less than the LBA Parkway option being carried forward by LCC. Light rail systems can run at significantly steeper gradients than heavy rail.”

“The only occasion where a tunnel may be desirable is where the route would cross Scotland Lane though a controlled crossing would have a lower capital cost and may be preferable. A light rail system could also quite easily be extended to serve the planned Business Expansion Area adjacent the existing industrial estate north of the airport and further afield to Guiseley, Otley etc.”

Dr Buxton said: “A vote for the Yorkshire Party is a vote for such proper transport solutions, which the public clearly supports.”