Objectors to voice views on Leeds trolleybus route

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The Leeds trolleybus route will today (June 25) come under scrutiny at a special planning meeting.

Members of the city plans panel will hear from various community representatives about the proposed New Generation Transport (NGT) network.

For the purpose of the meeting the 14k long route has been split into eight lengths, starting at Holt Park in the north and ending at Stourton in the south.

Objectors and supporters are expected to discuss each section.

Councillors will then ask questions, debate issues and gather the various view points to be reflected in the City Council’s planning application to start construction of the trolleybus.

Coun Martin Hamilton (Lib Dem, Headingley) said: “There will be different community groups speaking on the different sections [today].

“It isn’t quite like your average planning meeting. We are talking community [members] offering views about how things could be, we can perhaps tweak and change minor details but at the end of the day this is a government scheme.

“We need central approval before we can get involved.”

Experts says that NGT could generate about 4,000 long-term jobs, both in Leeds and the wider city region, and 400 during construction. In addition it is thought it will boost the economy by £160m each year.

On Monday full council will be asked to approve the submission of a Transport and Works Act Order in a bid to get planning permission from the secretary of state for transport Patrick McLoughlin.

Councillors will also be asked to approve expenditure of £19.2m from the capital programme, and agree to enter a joint venture with Metro to develop NGT.

Last week councillor Andrew Carter, leader of the Leeds conservative group, told executive board that NGT was not the city’s first choice of public transport choice, but an opportunity that needed to be embraced.

He said: “I don’t think we should hide away from the fact that NGT was not our preferred option as a local authority.

“We tried and failed for more than 20 years to get what we wanted – a tram system like other European and British cities.

“If we don’t press ahead with NGT, with its associated problems, this city won’t have a modern public transport system for the next 30 years.”

Coun Richard Lewis, executive member for development and the economy, said: “We read letters in the Yorkshire Evening Post saying that this is the third or fourth best scheme but we all have to compromise.

“It isn’t just Leeds riding on this, it’s the other districts.

“They are saying that they’d love to have NGT and Leeds needs to push through with it as this will affect them too.”

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