Back our campaign against Elland Road park and ride, says Beeston Forum

Local group Beeston Community Forum has voted to oppose and campaign against proposals to introduce a Park and Ride scheme at Elland Road.

The forum’s comments come as Leeds City Council continues with plans to develop park and ride schemes across the city – including land off Elland Road – as part of its strategy to reduce carbon emissions and tackle congestion in the city centre.

Secretary Robert Winfield writes on Beeston Forum’s website:

“Although we accept that park and ride is a good idea in principle, we are very strongly of the view that Elland Road is not a suitable location for a Park and Ride Scheme. We feel that the location is too close to the City Centre to be effective, and we also fear that the scheme would lead to an increase in traffic and pollution.

“If you would like to know more about our views about the Park and Ride Scheme, or get involved in our campaign, please e mail Robert Winfield.”

Committee member Bill Birch has also written the following article, labelling the Elland Road plans ‘shambolic’:

“At the executive board meeting of Leeds City Council held on 11th April 2012, they received a report on a proposed Park & Ride strategy for Leeds.

“As an interim traffic measure, the concept of a park and ride scheme forLeedshas merits. The idea of creating a number of car parks on the periphery of the city with a fast bus service along dedicated bus lanes is one that has been well developed by the City ofYork. However the proposed plan for Leeds is typically “half baked”.

“The planned routes along the A 64 [from Seacroft], the A639 [from Stourton] and the A 63 [along the lower Aire valley] have dedicated bus lanes and ample space using either existing or new car parks. In marked contrast the Bodington site proposes to use the most congested urban road into the City (A660) and if the planned and already authorised bus/tram route around Headingley is not built, then this route will be a complete waste of time and money.

“Perhaps the most shambolic proposal of all is the Elland Road Site. This breaks all the fundamental concepts of such a scheme.

  1. It is too close to the city centre to make the bus section effective [i.e it is more a Park & Walk scheme than a Park & Ride]. Indeed it is debateable whether any bus company could make such a short journey profitable without yet another huge subsidy from the hard pressed Rate payers.
  2. The inter change it proposes to us on the M621 leads into the Ingram Road distributor which is the main way into the city from the South West. This interchange is already over capacity at morning and evening rush hours and this proposals will only attract addition traffic not replace it.
  3. Beeston & Holbeck are already amongst the worst area for chronic respiratory disease, much of which is attributable to “standing rush hour traffic” on the M621 and old M1 motorways as they converge to form a dual carriageway into the city. This proposal can only make such health problems worse.
  4. Planners have already significantly reduced the number of car parking spaces at theElland Roadfootball stadium by sanctioning the creation of a Giant Police Headquarters on the former greyhound stadium site and allocating a wholly disproportional number of car parking spaces to it.

“It is quite clear that the Elland Road site has been chosen on the grounds of political expedience. They have blatantly ignored all the previous studies that they had previously commissioned by traffic experts since the idea was first contemplated in 1991.

“Indeed the “most comprehensive study undertaken by Halcrow in 2009, which considered an extended list of possibilities across Leeds” [their words not mine] did not include the Elland Road site in the final six sites that they [Halcrow] it considered as having the greatest potential for further development. In paragraph 4.4.2. of the Executive Board report they give the game away. “Elland Road- a quick win site”. Why – because the City Council own the site and to find another more suitable site would cost additional money.

“Planner double speak” tries to claim that the Elland Road scheme is thought to be “a modest scheme” as it will only use 500 – 1000 car parking spaces and cost £2 million to bring into operations. However, this ignores both the fact that the planners intend to restrict the current Elland Road car parking capacity to 2,700 ( thus effectively using over a third of the capacity for their “Park & Walk” folly) and intend to fund this by increasing an absolutely scandalous current Leeds City Council deficit of £1.6 billion that is growing at the rate of £1 million per month and current costs £4.3 million per month in interest charges.

“I would urge all residents of Beeston & Holbeck to say NO to the Elland Road Park & Ride proposal as once again, this scheme brings no benefits whatsoever to local residents in South Leeds.”

Click here to see a full account of the Forum’s discussion about the scheme at our meeting on 5th April.