Morley Bottoms reopens to traffic as public backlash forces Leeds council u-turn

Morley Bottoms has reopened to traffic on a temporary basis as part of a new Leeds council trial.

By Alex Grant
Friday, 29th July 2022, 4:45 am

Local leaders previously faced criticism following the changes made to Morley Bottoms which saw the popular stretch become fully pedestrianised.

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Morley residents were previously invited to have their say on proposals to improve greenspaces and connectivity across the town as part of the Government's £24m Towns Fund.

Following feedback received as part of those discussions Leeds council has partially reopened the stretch on a trial basis.

Following feedback received as part of those discussions Leeds council has partially reopened the stretch on a trial basis.

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said:

“The Morley bottoms regeneration scheme was designed to reduce traffic through the junction and to enable improvements to pedestrian crossings and routes. This was delivered with an initial full closure to traffic during construction and the first months of operations.

“Following a consultation event at Morley Town Hall and other local feedback from residents of Morley, some of whom who expressed concern about traffic transferring elsewhere in the town, it has been agreed to trial opening part of the closure to traffic in a northbound direction from July 2022."

The change sees a one way system operate – allowing traffic onto Brunswick Street and Chapel Hill from Queen Street.

The Morley Bottoms project, which involved closing the lower end of Queen Street to general traffic, and increasing pedestrian crossings was aimed at reducing pollution in an area of high build-up although was carried with little to no discussion with the local community.

The area is now home to outdoor seating for the bars and restaurants although locals criticised the stretch as being wasted during colder parts of the year.

"I think most people would have been happy had they left the road open during the day before closing it at 6 or 7pm in the evening." retired member of the Morley Chamber of Trade, Christine Hirst said previously.

Council leaders hope this latest change, which sees a one way system operate – allowing traffic onto Brunswick Street and Chapel Hill from Queen Street, will avoid the previously seen build up of traffic on nearby Corporation Street.

"This enables the pedestrian improvements to be retained whilst allaying the concerns of residents regarding traffic on other roads." a council spokesperson added.

The permanent operation of the Morley Bottoms scheme will be reviewed again as part of upcoming town deal discussions.