Councillors asked to back controversial Leeds trolleybus plan

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COUNCILLORS in Leeds will be asked to give their backing to the controversial £250m trolleybus project today.

At a full meeting of Leeds City Council, due to take place this afternoon, ward councillors will be asked to give their seal of approval to the city’s Transport and Work Act Order (TWAO) application for the New Generation Transport (NGT) scheme.

If approved, the application will then be sent off to the Secretary of State for Transport in what would be another major step towards the project becoming a reality. Among other issues, the order applies for power to acquire land, including through compulsory purchase orders, payment of compensation and setting fares and tolls.

A report to the full council, drafted ahead of the meeting today, says: “Full council is requested to pass resolutions to authorise the joint promotion with the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive of an order made under the Transport and Works Act 1992 for the purposes of and in connection with the construction and operation of a trolley vehicle system in the city of Leeds.”

Last week, the trolleybus scheme passed a major planning hurdle despite widespread opposition from people living in the city.

A special meeting of the city plans panel heard a string of complaints about the proposed route, which would run from Holt Park in the north to Stourton in the south.

But the report to today’s council meeting says: “Metro and Leeds City Council have worked in partnership to develop a modern, electrically powered trolleybus system for Leeds known as NGT.”

It adds: “Analysis has shown that NGT could generate around 4,000 long-term jobs, both in Leeds and the wider city region in addition to generating a £160m per annum economic boost for the city region. In addition around 1,000 local jobs would be created during the construction phase.”

The project will run along the A660 corridor via Headingley, through the city centre and on to Stourton via Belle Isle and Hunslet.