Councillors set to give Leeds trolleybus the green light

ROUTE AHEAD: But Leeds councillors' decision could just herald a battle at a planning inquiry.
ROUTE AHEAD: But Leeds councillors' decision could just herald a battle at a planning inquiry.
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Councillors will decide today whether to approve £19.2m of funding for the controversial NGT Trolleybus scheme.

If they agree, it will effectively take the £230m project, which aims to create a 14km electrified bus route running roughly north-south through the city centre, to the point where construction can begin.

However, that is unlikely to happen in the short term as planners expect there to be a public inquiry into the plans.

Some £173.5m has already been earmarked by the Government - the £19.2m is part of a £57.1m package being funded jointly by Leeds City Council and Metro, the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority.

According to today’s council report, Metro has decided to revise part of the NGT route as it passes through Hunslet - it initially ran between Balm Road Bridge and the Wakefield Road junction with the M621 along railway sidings.

But following the recent announcement that the planned High Speed 2 rail link would run along that route, an alternative has been devised, which would take NGT along Belle Isle Road and Winrose Grove to the planned park and ride depot at Stourton.

Leeds resident Bill McKinnon, who is opposed to the scheme, said a change in the planned route meant some residents had not had chance to air their views.

However, a Metro spokesman said today fresh consultation was already planned to give residents a chance to speak on the matter.

“There will be consultation, we have a six week period where we will be going out into those areas after Easter, specifically to talk about the proposed change in route. Even when we have finished consultation, that is not the end, because we will enter what we call a formal objection stage of 42 days.”

The NGT scheme is designed to cut congestion by creating park and ride centres north and south of the city and connecting places like the Leeds Arena, Clarence Dock, the universities and shopping centres.

According to the council report, the scheme, once complete, could create up to 4,000 new jobs. Work is expected to begin in 2016, with the scheme up and running by 2018. What do you think? Click here to register and have your say on the stories and issues that matter to you