“New Generation” Trolleybus is coming to South Leeds

Trolleybuses could be running from a Park & Ride facility in Stourton, through Hunslet to the city centre and beyond in five year’s time.

An artist's impression of the planned Leeds trolleybus in City Square
An artist’s impression of the planned Leeds trolleybus in City Square

Two consultation events were held in Hunslet last week by project organisers West Yorkshire Metro. Residents had the opportunity find out more about the scheme, details of the route and air their concerns. Organisers stressed that funding was now in place and that NGT (New Generation Transport) is not just a concept – it’s going to happen.

As with the HS2 rail link, the proposed route through South Leeds appears to be mostly uncontentious. A new Park and Ride facility will be built at Stourton next to Junction 7 of the M621 catering for 1500 cars. The route then uses part of the existing rail corridor (as does HS2) through Hunslet rejoining the road network at Balm Road. Trolleybuses will cross Church Street and run past the Penny Hill Centre (Morrisons) along Waterloo Road, which is currently pedestrianised, before joining Hunslet Road and running via the Royal Armouries on it’s way into town.

Not everyone is happy with the scheme. Some Hunslet residents are concerned about Trolleybuses coming past their houses and are worried for the safety of children playing in the street not hearing the electric vehicles.

Residents from North Leeds were also present lobbying against the scheme. They are concerned about the scheme’s impact through Headingley and Hyde Park and especially its encroachment onto Woodhouse Moor. They have challenged the scheme claiming that it is expensive, uses old technology and will have minimum reduction in journey times compared to the existing bus service.

Metro say the new service has many of the advantages of the proposed tram system that was scrapped when Government funding was withdrawn. For two thirds of the route (north and south) the trolleybuses will be segregated from other road users and this will lead to greater reliability and guaranteed journey times regardless of other traffic.

Metro also stress other benefits. NGT Trolleybuses are electric, so they will cause no pollution en route. The scheme is also expected to boost the Leeds economy by £160m a year and create 4,000 new jobs.

If the scheme is successful in taking 1,500 cars off the roads in South Leeds every morning, this should have a serious impact on traffic levels, rush hour congestion and air pollution.

Metro’s NGT website has more information about the project including 51 “frequently asked questions”.

Metro are still collecting views on the scheme. You can email your views to ngtinfo@wypte.gov.uk or write to NGT, Wellington House, Leeds, LS1 2DE.

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7 Replies to ““New Generation” Trolleybus is coming to South Leeds”

  1. To note in connection:
    Leeds City Council are looking for cyclists (maximum of 8) interested in commenting on the NGT Trolleybus southern route that will run from a new Park and Ride site at Stourton and affect Pepper Road, Penny Hill Centre, South Accommodation Road, Hunslet Road, Bridge End and Lower Briggate.
    If you cycle in this area and/or would be interested in having an input into designs there is a meeting at 5pm 14/2 at The Leonardo Building in Leeds City Centre. Contact Mark Robinson Tel: 0113 395 1470 at Transport Policy, Highways and Transportation, Leeds City Council.

  2. Please be objective. “It is not just a concept – it’s going to happen” assert our political overloads. Oh no it’s not – not if we, the taxpayers, ratepayers, voters and residents, stand up and say no.
    Join the fight. Get in touch with your local residents group, see the detailed plans and how they really affect you and the area you live in, understand the detrimental effect on your life, your lifestyle and your area.
    If the ugly poles, wires, traffic lights, barriers and street furniture goes in and some of the better buildings get demolished, will life for you really be better?
    After all, a bus on a stick is still a bus. There’s far more pressing things to spend £250million on.

    1. Thanks for your comment Dave. I think I was reasonably objective in reporting the consultation. South Leeds Life does not have a view on whether the Trollybus is a good or a bad thing. However we are very keen that the debate is aired, residents find out what is planned and can make their voice heard. The view that “… it’s going to happen” was clearly attributed to the organisers. I also reported the views of people who oppose the scheme.

  3. I can’t see where Jeremy’s original report wasn’t objective and I don’t have a view one way or another as to whether the proposal is a good idea as I don’t know enough. If people in south Leeds concerned about the proposals want to say what they see as the problems or give notice of any meetings to consider them South Leeds Life will be happy to publish them proving they are not defamatory!

    One thing we need to bear in mind is that central government funding may not be available for other alternatives which people might think are preferable so we may be left with this or nothing in terms of its funding contribution.

  4. Great to see your posts Jeremy/Steve. Gone are the days when local papers had the staff/resources/will to really look into local issues and Leeds Life looks to have done a good job to date of covering the trolleybus.
    What’s really needed is for local people to see the fine detail within the planned routes – the buildings and walls that will be demolished, the trees lost, the road restrictions (traffic lights, no turning, no entry etc), the effect of all the poles carrying overhead wires, the homes that will loose verges, parking, the nearby roads that will be clogged with extra traffic avoiding the trolley lanes, the extra time it will take to commute by car etc (not everyone works on the trolley route even if they live on it)
    Leeds Life has a real job to do here and as a super-local publication able to publish the plans at really local level, you are in a great position to bring the real effects to the notice of local people along the route.
    Once it goes in, there’s no going back and the weight of the Metro propaganda machine deserves balance and interrogation.

  5. I live on the Whitfield estate in Hunslet. I live yards away from the proposed route which will cut straight through our small community. The children that live at the bottom of the street will be cut off from the children at the top of the street and it will no longer be a safe place for our children to play. Everybody knows each other and we have often had coach trips to the coast together. I am so sad about this as I can not see this community lasting if the trolleybus is allowed to slice us in half. Also even though I live just yards from the route I have not had any leaflets regarding the trolleybus, it seems only the houses directly on the route have had the leaflets. It seems to me the people in charge have no idea what effect this will have on our community, I thought the government was all for the big society thing – communities helping each other, looking out for each other. Well the Whitfields do, but no one seems to be bothered.

  6. The route is to go down my street, Winrose Grove, after coming up to Belle Road to Belle Isle Circus.

    My street is very narrow, with chicanes to let single lanes of traffic through. My flat on Winrose Grove and about 100 others are for Sheltered housing residents. Because the street is so narrow, so unable to park cars properly, laybys have been made for car parking.

    Whats going to happen when building starts? Are residents still be able to get down Winrose Grove and park their cars, much needed when a lot of these people are disabled. Even when you have not got a car, taxis are dropping people off all day.

    I just cannot see it happen, that you will be able to get down this street once building starts with any kind of vehicle.

    Just as a final comment, car counting cameras have been put on Belle Isle Circus, (2 weeks ago) to count cars to see what disruption there will be to vehicles once the route is built.

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