Please spare Otley Road from the trolleybus. I frequently walk into town from West Park though Headingley and Hyde Park and it’s a wonderful route.
It’s steeped in history, busy with people, and dotted with great pubs, restaurants, shops, and buildings of character.
The problem is that if the trolleybus is grafted on, it will have to be chopped up and straightened out to make them fit. Sadly this means sacrificing mature trees, old stone walls, pavements, and buildings – the very things that make the route so charming.
The lure of £150 million of government money must be hard for our local planners and politicians to resist. But please, have a care, and don’t be bribed or bullied into a Procrustean solution for the Otley Road. Instead of mutilating the route to suit the vehicles, choose vehicles that suit the route.
Modern diesel-electric double-decker buses, with Oyster card ticketing and running on up-dated bus lanes would do very nicely thank you, with fully electric buses to follow when ready.
Actually I think a go-ahead place like Leeds, with its two universities, deserves a more imaginative solution than the trolleybus anyway. We even have a local company, Optare, which is in the forefront of developing advanced bus solutions. Do we really want to ignore what’s happening on our doorstep and buy dead-end vehicles from abroad at inflated one-off prices?
By 2018, when the trolleys are supposed to start running, other cities will be laughing at our quaint and ugly overhead wires. Clinging to old-tech that’s been discarded by everyone else seems potty to me. I think we should embrace the future and remember our old motto ‘Leeds Leads’.
David Tong, West Park, Leeds