Highways England have announced a consultation on improvements to the M621 motorway in South Leeds including the closure of the off slip road at Junction 2A (Cemetery Road, Holbeck).
The proposals aim to improve traffic flows and include giving greater priority to traffic moving westwards between Junction 3 and 2. Changes are also planned for the roundabout at Junction 2 (Elland Road) including ‘free flowing’ connections onto and off the Ingram Distributor, which links to the Armley Gyratory, and an extra lane on the roundabout.
The consultation period runs from 4 September to 15 October and includes events at Hillside and St Matthew’s Community Centre (see below).
A consultation brochure explaining the proposed changes has been produced and can be downloaded from the Highways England website. If the plans are approved work is likely to carried out between 2020-22.
Further plans have been approved to widen the slip road and roundabout at Junction 7 at Stourton – where a new Park & Ride facility is to be built. Subject to funding, this work will be carried out 2018/19.
The M621 consultation comes as Domestic Street remains closed to through traffic due to gas mains works and the formal submission of the Holbeck Neighbourhood Plan, which calls for better traffic management on Domestic Street.
The street closure led one reader to suggest a permanent closure, which has led to some interesting debate.
A spokesman for Leeds City Council said: “Domestic Street is an important local distributor road used by residents, for business access and also by regular bus services. There are controlled pedestrian crossings in place at the street’s main crossing points.
“Leeds City Council has no current plans to make any fundamental changes to the road layout. However, we are open to suggestions for any improvements that can benefit the local community.”
However Beeston & Holbeck ward member Cllr Adam Ogilvie commented:
“We received quite a lot of concern from Holbeck residents when they heard that Domestic Street was going to be temporarily closed off while improvement work is carried out. However, as Steve Peacock’s article says other people in the area have noticed how quiet it has been without the usual throughput of traffic each day.
“There have been a number of ideas around changing the way traffic moves around Holbeck as part of the Holbeck Neighbourhood Plan process led by local residents. Pollution and noise from vehicles is certainly a problem for Holbeck. Making the streets more friendly for people, especially children, families and older residents would be a good thing.
“At the same time though ensuring Holbeck is accessible for local people will remain important as will linking the area up to better bus services. There are discussions about closing City Square in the city centre to traffic and reconfiguring traffic flows in the south of the city, so it is perhaps timely to feed ideas for Domestic Street into that process.”
The Holbeck Neighbourhood Plan suggests a scheme which reduces Domestic Street to a single lane with a one way system. Traffic heading from Top Moor Side would use Domestic Street, whilst traffic heading from the viaduct to Holbeck Moor would use Pleasant Street and St Matthew’s Street.
As Cllr Ogilvie points out, these discussions feed into a wider debate about the road layout in South Leeds. The need for Leeds to meet clean air targets is a major pressure on the city to reduce car usage. Redevolpment of the ‘South Bank’ area, including the new HS2 (high speed rail) station offers opportunities to create a more pedestrian friendly environment.
Plans are already being drawn up to narrow streets such as Meadow Lane, between Leeds Bridge and Great Wilson Street.
M621 consultation events:
Hillside Enterprise Centre, Beeston Road, Leeds, LS11 8ND
Friday 8 September | 1-8pm
Saturday 9 September | 10am-4pm
St Matthew’s Community Centre, St Matthew’s Street, Holbeck, Leeds, LS11 9NR
Saturday 16 September | 10am-4pm
More information is available at:
Phone: 0300 123 5000