Council is urged to backtrack on Leeds trolleybus scheme

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A CAMPAIGN group opposing the £250m Leeds trolleybus scheme has urged councillors to act amid claims that it fails to comply with local and national planning policies.

Dawn Carey Jones, secretary of the A660 Joint Council pressure group, told yesterday’s Leeds City Council full council meeting that there is a shortage of open green space on the proposed route in Hyde Park and Woodhouse.

Ms Carey Jones said Hyde Park and Woodhouse have been classed as having a surplus of open space because there are string of errors in Leeds City Council’s draft site allocations plan.

She told councillors: “When all the errors are corrected, and up to date population estimates used, Hyde Park and Woodhouse is shown to have deficits in all categories of open space. This means no part of Woodhouse Moor can be spared for the trolleybus.”

She added: “On the false understanding that Hyde Park and Woodhouse has surplus open space, the council appropriated three sections of Woodhouse Moor for the trolleybus scheme.

“Now that you’re aware that the ward had a deficit in open space, please reverse this decision, and please also reconsider your decisions of July 1 2013 and November 2013 to support an application for the trolleybus project to proceed.”

Councillors voted that the A660 Joint Council’s concerns should be referred to the council’s director of city development for consideration.

A six month public inquiry ended late last year on the proposed New Generation Transport (NGT) trolleybus scheme, which would run over a nine-mile route between Holt Park in the north of the city and Stourton in the south.

Government ministers are expected to announce at the end of this year or the start of next whether the scheme will go ahead. Construction work on the system could start by early 2017 if the plans get the thumbs-up.

NGT supporters say the scheme would be worth £175m each year to the Leeds economy. However, critics claim it would offer poor value for money and damage the environment.

In June, Leeds North West LIberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland said the public should not be forced into accepting the trolleybus scheme as a “second best solution.”

Mr Mulholland wants the government to allow people in Leeds to consider all options, including light rail and tram-train transport systems.