The government has said it will give £173.5 million funding for a trolleybus scheme – and the big news for south Leeds is that one of the routes is due to cut right through south Leeds.
The Leeds New Generation Transport (NGT) trolleybus project, officially “put on ice” due to funding cuts back in 2010, would establish routes to the north of the city to Holt Park and south to Stourton, and a city centre link.
The Leeds trolleybus scheme is of significant economic, social and environmental benefit to a city which in the past decade has missed out on funding for a supertram network and has suffered a legacy of transport under-spending.
It is the first new trolleybus scheme in the country for about 40 years and will help to create 4,000 new jobs locally, according to Metro, West Yorkshire’s publicly-funded passenger transport authority.
But what does it mean to south Leeds?
The preferred route of Metro is for the South Route to start at a new park & ride site at Stourton, near the intersection for the M1/M621 (at junction 7 of the M621), and would travel into Leeds through Hunslet and Clarence Dock.
The route starts at the Park & Ride site, it then diverts from the A61 along a new ‘NGT-only’ link road next to the railway line, before passing outside Hunslet District Centre.
Key issues highlighted by transport chiefs for south Leeds include:
- It directly serves Hunslet District Centre;
- Will imporve the area outside the centre, but…
- … Dedicated link road would result in some loss of land from allotments, recreational areas and land along the railway boundary.
Here’s an image of what the area around the centre would look like:
Speaking about today’s news, Metro Chairman Cllr James Lewis said:
“This is great news for our region, by speeding up journeys into and around Leeds, improving local connectivity and preventing the growth of congestion, NGT will provide a £160m per annum boost to the local economy and the creation of 4,000 permanent jobs.
“Transport is a key driver of productivity and investment in local transport infrastructure is investment in the long-term economic future of the Leeds City Region. NGT will speed up our recovery from recession, boost our economy and enhance our ability to compete on the national and international stage.”
Having now gained ‘Programme Entry Approval’ Metro and Leeds City Council can now begin the formal process for obtaining the legal powers needed to operate a modern trolleybus network. These powers will be sought through a ‘Transport and Works Act Order’ this autumn, followed by a Public Inquiry in 2013, and construction could then begin in 2016 with the UK’s first new trolleybuses operating by 2018.
Work is expected to start in 2016, with the network operational by 2018.
Details of the planned NGT trolleybus network can be found at http://www.ngtmetro.com. The overall scheme costs £250 million. Local authorities will pay the shortfall in government funding.