Senior councillors in Leeds will debate the proposal to introduce the scheme at the executive board meeting to be held at Civic Hall next Wednesday.
Should they give approval, public consultation and the preparation of a planning application will be undertaken for the scheme which it is proposed would see the introduction of an express bus service running every 15 minutes to and from Boar Lane in Leeds city centre from winter 2014.
Under the proposals, drawn up by Leeds City Council and Metro, the service would run from the council-owned car parks to the west of Leeds United’s Elland Road Stadium home from Monday to Saturday, excluding Saturday matchdays.
Running initially for a five-year period, the service would provide parking space for up to 800 vehicles. It aims to ease congestion by reducing vehicle numbers entering the city centre.
But local community group Beeston Forum has already said it’s opposed to any development bringing additional traffic into the area.
Local residents have also expressed their independent concerns about the park and ride.
The cost of developing and creating the park and ride site at Elland Road is expected to be approximately £3million, including a formal parking area being put in place along with bus facilities, a shelter, lighting, signage, fences, CCTV and landscaping to improve the visual appeal of the area.
Surveys carried out sites across the city identified Elland Road as the best location to base a viable park and ride operation. Leeds United, Metro and West Yorkshire Police are supportive of the proposals, and initial consultation has taken place with local councillors and a local community group.
The proposal forms part of the wider ‘Elland Road masterplan’ first outlined in 2007 to develop the area around the football ground which will help the broader regeneration of Beeston and Holbeck.
Under this masterplan, the site is expected to see a new permanent ice rink being created adjacent to the proposed park and ride area. Pending planning permission the rink is scheduled to open in the autumn of 2014. The former greyhound stadium area of the site is also being redeveloped, as construction is underway on the new divisional headquarters for West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, with an estimated completion date of early-2014.
Should the executive board give its approval, the full public consultation will take place and more detailed proposals including a planning application will be brought forward.
Leeds City Council executive member for the economy and development Councillor Richard Lewis said:
“Real progress is now being made with the Elland Road masterplan, with the new police headquarters and the ice rink both likely to open next year. The park and ride scheme is the next major development which we hope will not only greatly cut traffic congestion in the city centre but will also help to regenerate the Beeston and Holbeck area. “Some concerns have been raised about the impact on the immediate area from the increase in traffic a park and ride scheme would bring. I welcome this debate as part of the wider public consultation exercise into this project and would encourage as many people as possible to come forward and tell us what they think of these plans.”
Funding for the scheme would come from the West Yorkshire Local Transport Plan budget with funding contributions secured from other developments.