Leeds’s final plea on trolleybus

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SENIOR Leeds councillors lobbying for a trolleybus scheme have made an impassioned plea to the Government to make a decision over its funding.

For over 20 years the council has been pressing for cash to build a modern transport system in the city.

Hopes of a supertram were dashed when the last Labour Government deemed the project too expensive.

And in recent years the council and Metro have been working on a £160m trolleybus scheme as a cheaper alternative.

A funding decision on that is still awaited and frustrated senior councillors want an answer.

Coun Keith Wakefield, council leader, said: “We don’t want to be strung out for an other year.”

His comment came as the council’s Executive Board approved the “best and final” bid to be submitted to the Government

Coun Wakefield said: “After 20 years lobbying this is a disappointing position to be in - Leeds is the biggest city in Europe without a modern transport system.

“We just need a definitive answer so that we know if we have to spend more money or look at other means of moving forward.”

Coun Andrew Carter, Conservative group leader. said: “We must not let ourselves get wrapped up in refining and altering schemes at the behest of civic servants to find we have got no further on.

“We need to push this opportunity because it will be our last chance.”

Coun Stewart Golton, Liberal Democrat group leader, said: “These figures add up. This system is needed to allow our economy to fly.”

In a statement after the board meeting, Coun Richard Lewis, executive councillor for development, said: “After the proposal was stalled last year as part of the government’s comprehensive spending review, we now have to submit our bid to hopefully get the scheme moving forward again.

“It is so important we get this bid to the government sooner rather than later to prevent costs going up even more.

“I think the people of Leeds have waited long enough to get this scheme off the ground so we will continue our work to press the government on the urgent need to deliver this scheme.”

PIC: Simon Hulme

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