MILLIONS OF POUNDS set to be invested in Leeds transport will make a “real difference” despite the scrapping of the city’s trolleybus scheme, a senior minister has claimed.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling admitted there was “disappointment” at the Government’s decision not to support trolleybus last year after it was strongly criticised by a planning inspector.
The Government agreed the city could keep the £173m earmarked for the project to spend on other transport improvements.
Speaking in Leeds last night, Mr Grayling said the money “will make a real difference to transport in this city”.
The Transport Secretary said the city would also reap benefits from plans for a major overhaul Leeds station to be a “hub” for the new HS2 high speed rail line which will begin services in 2033.
He said the connected South Bank development is expected to create more than 35,000 jobs and 4,000 homes in the centre of the city.
“That will make it one of the biggest urban regeneration projects in Europe” he said.
“And hopefully it gives businesses here the certainty they
need to plan for the future.”
Mr Grayling added: “Just as HS2 is a sign of the government’s commitment to national infrastructure, a spectacular new transport gateway here in Leeds will send a clear message to investors about the city’s future ambitions.”
Mr Grayling was speaking at the Leeds Chamber Annual Dinner, at the Royal Armouries, where he told business leaders Britain’s departure from the European Union made it an “exciting time for Yorkshire”.
He said if the country is to prosper it needs to have a more balanced economy rather than dependent on the growth in the South and improve opportunities for young people.
“If we’re going to prosper as a nation, we need to do something we last did during the Victorian era - move our economic centre of gravity Northwards.
“And empower businesses here by investing in modern transport connections,” he said.