Leeds council leader acknowledges “lessons to be learned” from city’s public transport failures

An artist's impression of how NGT New Generation Transport Leeds Trolleybus could have looked
An artist's impression of how NGT New Generation Transport Leeds Trolleybus could have looked
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Leeds City Council’s leader has acknowledged there are “lessons to be learned” after a nine-month probe into Leeds’s abandoned trolleybus and Supertram projects.

Coun Judith Blake was speaking after the council’s infrastructure and investment scrutiny board published the findings of its lengthy probe into the series of decisions - stretching back across three decades - which saw the two major transport schemes ultimately being scrapped.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of the watchdog panel later this month, Coun Blake said its work had been “vitally important in looking in detail at how the situation developed and most importantly the lessons to be learned”.

The ‘Transport for Leeds - Supertram, NGT and Beyond’ scrutiny inquiry draft report was published today.

The report concluded: “Given our findings and conclusion regarding the extent of consultation and engagement undertaken for NGT we will be paying particular attention to the scope and continuation of the ‘Leeds Conversation’ to ensure that adequate consultation is undertaken with communities at opportunities when fundamental concerns can be expressed and schemes can be reviewed and changed.

“Whilst finalising the inquiry into advancing bus service provision the scrutiny board stated its intention to maintain a watching brief over the bus element of the evolving Transport Strategy for Leeds.

“In light of the findings of this inquiry we feel it appropriate to expand this brief to maintain a watching brief on the investment and delivery of priorities specified in the whole Transport Strategy for Leeds paying particular regard to transport investment committed and the outcomes and impact being achieved.”

Leeds City Council leader Coun Judith Blake, said: “I’d like to thank everyone involved in this scrutiny inquiry which was vitally important in looking in detail at how the situation developed and most importantly the lessons to be learned.

“The key finding I take away from the report reinforces the need for continuous discussion and engagement with all key partners and especially the public so that the new transport strategy we have put forward reflects the views and ongoing needs of our communities so everyone in the city benefits.

“Starting the transport conversation began that process, generating a fantastic response which along with engaging the views of a panel of independent transport experts directly shaped the new strategy, and we are firmly committed to ensuring that two-way dialogue continues.

“Retaining the £173.5m of funding together with additional partner investment gives us an unprecedented £270m which we are looking to maximise in order to transform the transport network in Leeds.

“Alongside this exciting programme of deliverable improvements in the coming years our ambition remains to provide a modern rapid-transit system for the city and we are continuing to explore options to bring that about in the longer term.”

The draft report will now be discussed and formally considered by the scrutiny board at its meeting at Civic Hall from 10:30am on Wednesday September 27.

To see the full scrutiny inquiry draft report, go to http://bit.ly/2wUEZ2a (agenda item 7).

trolley-dashed: The NGT New Generation Transport scheme was scrapped last year

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