Opponents take Leeds trolleybus fight to council chamber

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Campaigners seized the political spotlight at Leeds Civic Hall to try to draw attention to what they say are fundamental flaws in the city’s trolleybus plans.

A deputation representing the North West Leeds Transport Forum (NWLTF) addressed a full meeting of Leeds City Council yesterday afternoon.

NWLTF co-chair Martyn Thomas told councillors the visit had been arranged to make them aware of issues raised during the recent public inquiry into the New Generation Transport (NGT) trolleybus proposals.

The NWLTF says the inquiry showed that:

* NGT would lead to an increase in “many door-to-door journey times”;

* The public sector-backed project involves “significant financial risk”;

* NGT would mean “narrower pavements for pedestrians” and “banned turns and road closures for vehicles”.

The NWLTF wants the council to think again about committing itself to trolleybus at a time when the devolution of transport powers is on the political agenda.

It says devolution would allow councillors to press more buses into service on key routes in Leeds, removing the need for the introduction of NGT.

The meeting also heard from residents from south Leeds.

One objector, Martin Fitzsimmons, of Belle Isle, said trolleybus would not deliver the transport improvements required in Leeds and called for it to be scrapped.

NGT is being spearheaded by the council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA).

The Government will decide whether to approve the £250m scheme using the findings of the NGT public inquiry.

Following the completion of the inquiry last month, WYCA transport chair Coun James Lewis said: “We are confident the case for the scheme remains compelling.”

2 November 2013...     Police patrol Elland Road at Leeds United's match with Yeovil. (TJ1001/01d). Picture Tony Johnson

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