Leeds trolleybus design amended after ‘land grab’ row with art college

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A ‘LAND grab’ row between Leeds College of Art and the city’s trolleybus bosses looks on the way to being resolved after the design was amended.

The row escalated after it emerged that a piece of the college’s land was due to be compulsory purchased for use as part of the city’s proposed New Generation Transport (NGT) trolleybus scheme.

The college’s principal said at the time she had no inkling that the land, at the junction of St Mark’s Road and Woodhouse Lane, had been earmarked until some mail arrived containing the news.

A new report to a Leeds council planning committee acknowledges that “the amount of space left outside the front entrance area was not acceptable as proposed for a major educational institution”. It adds that Metro and Leeds City Council, the joint promoters of the trolleybus, have met with the college three times and a “revised technical plan” for the area outside the college has now been submitted.

The revised scheme “reduces the land take” and means there is “no direct impact” on the college’s external dining area or secondary steps. It also leaves a larger area outside the main entrance, although it is “still smaller than currently exists”.

The report says: “The promoters have continued to develop the NGT plan in the vicinity of the College of Art. It is recognised that even with the amendments, the NGT proposals will continue to cause concern as a result of the increasing traffic levels outside the college building. Metro and Leeds City Council are keen to continue the open dialogue.”

The college is now “considering its position”, the report adds.

The proposed route of the trolleybus would run 14km from Holt Park in the North to Headingley and the City Centre to Stourton.

A public inquiry on the project starts on April 29 and is likely to conclude in June.

A final decision is expected from the Secretary of State early next year. Construction could then begin by 2016/17 with the scheme operating by the spring of 2020.

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