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Call to arms over Leeds trolleybus ‘land grab’

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Campaigners against the Leeds trolleybus have issued a new call to arms to fellow objectors amid claims of further ‘land grab’ attempts by project bosses.

Next month, Leeds city council’s executive board will consider proposals to legally ‘appropriate’ nine new pockets of land in Leeds, including previously untouched parts of Woodhouse Moor, as part of the scheme. The move would effectively declassify the land, and would avoid the need for the council to carry out a compulsory purchase.

However, campaigners say the appropriation plan is designed to pre-empt a public inquiry. They claim it was only publicized properly for the first time on October 26 with a small newspaper advert, and the deadline of November 9 for objections is “scandalous”.

Dawn Carey-Jones, a member of the Friends of Woodhouse Moor, said: “They are trying to grab this land, get parts of it declassified and take the controversial bits out of the public inquiry”.

A spokesman for Metro, which is spearheading the trolleybus project alongside Leeds council, said the appropriation proposals had been presented as part of the consultation in 2009.

“The appropriation process is an internal one of transferring responsibility of land to different departments within the council,” he added. “The information has been available on the NGT website since 2009. Whatever happens, the promoters will still need to get permission to build the system. That will still need to be decided at a public inquiry and the inquiry will take into account the open nature and use of the park. It will still be open for objectors – the inquiry won’t be pre-empted in any way.”

Visit www.ngtmetro.com/Open_Space_Appropriation/ for details. Submit objections in writing to Legal Services, Leeds City Council, Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR by November 9.