Leeds trolleybus chiefs urged to ‘choose lesser of two evils’

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Campaigners against the proposed £250m Leeds trolleybus are urging council bosses to choose the lesser of two evils if they must – and not sacrifice one of the city’s green space gems to the project.

As reported in the YEP last week, Leeds stands on the brink of the biggest transport network shake-up in decades with the planned NGT (Next Generation Transport) trolleybus scheme.

Consultation on the project – which could hit the tracks by 2018 – is under way.

Bill McKinnon, chairman of the Friends of Woodhouse Moor, will today present a deputation to the full meeting of Leeds City Council.

He said: “We would rather not have the scheme at all but if [the council] are determined to go ahead with it against the wishes of the majority of local people, then please choose the second option.”

Initial proposals for the project involved a route cutting across Woodhouse Moor, and a second option cutting across Monument Moor, opposite the main park.

However a revised proposal now bypasses the Woodhouse Moor option, but could still encroach on Monument Moor.

A new option would see the trolleybus restricted to the main road.

Mr McKinnon will tell councillors today: “Historic Monument Moor...was the site of the city’s first outdoor gymnasium, and also the setting for the Festival of Britain Land Travelling Exhibition opened by the Princess Royal in June 1951.

“This history will be saved for posterity if you choose the second route option being presented to you by the NGT team.

“Trolleybuses running across Monument Moor...would rule out forever the possibility of a grant to improve the entire park.

“When the original proposal was first put forward three years ago, no one could understand why it was necessary to widen what is already the widest stretch of the A660 between the town centre and Lawnswood.

“The alternative option means that there is no need for road widening, or running of trolleybuses across the park. This is the common sense option, the option that preserves vital green space in an inner city area.”

Campaigners are also raising concerns about the safety of the proposed articulated 200-passenger vehicles.