COUNCILLOR James Lewis’s response to my letter on Next Generation Transport (NGT) was an interesting read as it took no note of the very real concerns that many residents in Leeds have over this project.
It was, in my view, another example of burying your head in the sand and hoping for the best. At the very least he should admit that residents have concerns and very real questions about value for money and viability, particularly with the northern leg of the route. Are there enough customers to make the route viable given the student exodus from Headingley to the city centre in recent years?
Are these 10-minute journey time savings definitely deliverable as Coun Lewis suggests? What will the impact be on existing, and might I add, valued existing bus services?
This is a public debate and consultation but sadly I get the feeling, based on Coun Lewis’s letter, that the decision is already made and this scheme will happen no matter what feedback is given by local communities. It is all fine and well having ‘frank and open discussion’ as he puts it, but is he actually listening?
The central question is ‘do residents believe this scheme to be a good idea?’ If the answer is an overwhelming ‘no’ then surely this should be listened to, not least because people who oppose something are unlikely to use it.
Leeds does need solutions for congestion and improved transport links – NGT is one option on the table. It is just that many people, myself included, are not convinced it is the right solution for Leeds.
Coun Lewis and his colleagues need to be more open and transparent, put the facts before residents and let them make their own minds up as to whether NGT is a good idea or not.
Coun Barry Anderson, Adel & Wharfedale Ward