City Square in Leeds could be permanently closed to general traffic as part of plans to create a “world-class gateway” to Yorkshire’s unofficial capital.
Leeds City Council bosses last night revealed that development work is already under way on a package of measures designed to make the landmark square a virtual traffic-free zone by 2021.
If it gets the green light, the scheme would be financed by the £1.6bn West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund, managed by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
Other longer-term plans being considered for inclusion in a 20-year transport vision for the city include:
* The closure of Neville Street to general traffic;
* Provision of a “major rail hub” ofering a solution to the connectivity challenges posed by the country’s HS2 high-speed train proposals;
* Development of additional park and ride facilities.
The council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, Coun Richard Lewis, said: “Historically, transport especially in the city centre has been heavily influenced by the 18th and 19th centuries when the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the main railway lines into the city opened.
“Those developments, followed by the ‘motorway city’ approach of the 1970s, have left us with the network we have today which is outdated and very restrictive.
“We are now keen to move away from that, getting traffic out of the city centre and making it a more attractive place to live, work and visit as well as addressing the need to reduce traffic pollution in Leeds.”
A report compiled for a meeting of the council’s executive board next week says that City Square would remain open to buses, taxis, pedal cycles and, if Leeds’s New Generation Transport scheme gets the go-ahead, trolleybuses.