Campaigners have welcomed the start of work on an “almost forgotten” piece of key infrastructure in east Leeds which it was claimed had been languishing in development limbo - and which campaigners say is vital to the success of a sprawling wider masterplan for the area.
The Manston Lane link road (MLLR) is a key part of Leeds City Council’s overall east Leeds and Thorpe Park vision, which will eventually bring a £100m orbital road, create thousands of new jobs and unlock land for up to 7,000 homes.
Locals have campaigned hard to get work moving on the link road.
And it has now been revealed that work will finally start in September with the building of a rail bridge. The full link road is expected to be completed by early 2018.
Cross Gates and Whinmoor councillor Peter Gruen said the road was an “almost forgotten piece of vital infrastructure”, adding: “This ‘missing’ road link has been the subject of numerous consultations, public meetings and detailed discussions with developers.
“The whole of Cross Gates has been eagerly awaiting progress towards the building of this link, which joins onto the East Leeds Orbital and connects the whole road system into Thorpe Park and beyond.
“I am very pleased to be able to share good news with the hard pressed residents of Cross Gates who have seen traffic levels in recent years rise to intolerable levels.
“We have now been advised by the developers that work on the MLLR will start in September 2016. The first element to be constructed will be the rail bridge. The full MLLR works are due to be completed by early 2018.”
“We have always promised that before there is more house building this road must be constructed”.
Ward colleague Coun Pauleen Grahame added “ At last we can say to our constituents that all our joint campaigning is beginning to pay off and we will see this road make a vital difference both in Cross Gates and as part of the East Leeds road network. Having a real time table is great news”.
Coun Janette Walker promised that progress would be carefully and regularly monitored, adding: “It’s great that we have seen this campaign through to this point, but we won’t be satisfied until all of the work is completed.”
The YEP reported earlier this year that a ‘get on and build it plea’ had been issued over the proposed new East Leeds orbital road (ELOR), which is central to the wider east Leeds masterplan.
This was after Leeds City Council revealed it was considering entering into a groundbreaking deal with insurance giant Legal & General to fund the dual carriageway, which is expected to cost more than £100m to build.
The agreement, which would be the first of its kind in the country, would see the investment repaid using cash paid by developers building on land unlocked by the new road
The council’s executive board heard that a planning application for the route could be submitted by summer this year. Construction could start in spring 2018 with completion late in 2021,
However commentators say that despite the ambitious targets, developers have so far been very reluctant to submit plans for land along the new orbital road.
Opposition Tory group leader Andrew Carter said it was important to kickstart developer interest in building homes to in turn speed up the arrival of the road.
“This has to be progressed and has to be progressed quickly.”