Inquiry into Leeds trolleybus scheme reaches final stages

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The end of the line is finally in sight for the public inquiry that will determine the fate of Leeds’s £250m trolleybus scheme.

The long-running inquiry into the New Generation Transport (NGT) project resumes tomorrow (Sept 23) after a week’s break.

Starting in April, it was originally due to finish in June but is now set to conclude on October 31.

Before then, however, a whole host of objectors will get the chance to have their say on the scheme.

Opponents scheduled to appear at the inquiry include the Federation of Small Businesses, South Headingley Community Association and Holt Park Tenants and Residents Association.

A week of discussions on heritage matters is due to start on October 6 while site visits and closing submissions are pencilled in for October 29-31.

The first stage of the inquiry was mainly taken up by evidence from supporters of the scheme, which is being spearheaded by Leeds City Council and the recently-formed West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), which includes what was Metro, the county’s passenger transport authority.

As previously reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, the process as a whole has gone on longer than expected partly as a result of the large number of people who wanted to cross-examine the various experts called as witnesses by the council and the WYCA.

The hearings are taking place before Government-appointed inspector Martin Whitehead at the Regus office building, off Wellington Street in the city centre.

Ministers will decide whether to give NGT the green light after receiving a report on the inquiry’s findings.

Supporters say it would ease traffic congestion and create up to 4,000 new jobs while critics claim it offers poor value for money.