Letter: Urban heritage is not just about buildings

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Like many living in Headingley and in a conservation area, I find Kevin Grady’s support for the trolleybus scheme quite incomprehensible.

On its website the Leeds Civic Trust gives as its first principle to ‘stimulate interest in and care for the history and character of the city’, and we all appreciate the good work it has done in saving many an old listed building.

It seems, however, to have forgotten about the importance of the space in between. In its press release of June 27 (http://www.leedscivictrust.org.uk/uploads/leeds/mainsite/downloads/PDFs/Trolleybus Press Rel Leeds Civic Trust 27 June 2013), it talks about the ‘wider benefits’ to the city, but mentions in this context redeveloped areas south of the river.

Somewhat dismissive of the desire by residents to be reassured, it gives most space to reiterating claims by NGT, which many have seen to be ill-founded, especially that of ‘segregated running’ between Headingley and the city centre.

A dedicated lane for trolleybuses over which turning traffic and stopping buses have to stray, hardly implies true segregation.

I quite frequently use modern trams in France, and nowhere do they force such fast transit systems down roads of the width of Headingley Lane, while allowing them to be also used by ordinary traffic.

City centres are car-free, and on the wide avenues further out there is room for proper segregation.

The recent decision not to take the Avignon tram across the Rhône to Villeneuve is a case in point.

They seem more respectful of their urban heritage than some do here.

Christopher Todd, (Emeritus Professor of French, University of Leeds)