This page provides some links to websites and documents that relate to the proposed trolleybus route from Stourton to Holt Park being promoted jointly by Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (Metro).  In north Leeds the route will largely follows the line of the A660 – Headingley Lane / Otley Road and therefore passes through Far Headingley.

The scheme will be the subject of an application for a Transport & Works Act Order (TWAO) and the approximate revised timetable is now as follows.

·        October/November 2012 - consultation on proposals with residents, largely through a series of ‘drop-in’ sessions.  These have now been extended to July 2013.  The consultation in advance of the TWAO has been looking at the proposals on the table and this phase essentially tried to address objections so that the TWAO process and subsequent inquiry goes more smoothly.  The City Council and Metro met individual residents groups during the autumn consultation process in addition to more formal set piece events and leafleting/letters.

·        Freeze the design around mid-May.  Plans will be available ‘for some areas’ a couple of weeks after that.  Landscape drawings will be available at the end of June.

·        April 2013 – full City Council approval to seek formal authorisation to promote the TWAO.

·        September  2013 – application for a Transport & Works Act Order will result in local advertisements and notices and a 42 day period for members of the public and other interested parties to inspect the application and make representations to the Secretary of State.  All documents will be made available to view at Leeds City Council / Metro offices with a version accessible on-line.

·        Early 2014 - Public Inquiry - the decision to call for an inquiry is a decision for the Secretary of State, though it is inconceivable that there will not be one given that objections/comments are likely to flow from the TWAO.

·        Early 2015 -Transport & Works Act Order – Secretary of State’s conditional approval of the scheme.

·        Autumn 2016 - full approval

·        2014-2016 - detailed planning work and procurement and residual compulsory works orders (most of this is in place - for example, the shops that will be demolished as part of the scheme at Hyde Park Corner are already in the ownership of Metro.

·        2017 - 20 – construction work

·        2020 – start of service operation

Possible outcomes of the consultation process

The Government has in principle allocated funding for a trolley bus scheme from Stourton to Holt Park.  This funding is for a trolleybus scheme and not any other mode.  Any other mode would have to start as a new scheme proposal.  However, no government funding will be allocated until after the Public Inquiry and assuming that the outcome is acceptable to the Department for Transport.  It is possible that the inspector may insist on changes which render the scheme unacceptable to the DfT, in which case the money will be withdrawn.  The DfT is very unlikely to support anything which does not include a trolley bus as a mode of transport or variations from the proposed route.

The key consideration is the business case which includes value for money, related to journey times and anticipated levels modal shift.  The scheme can be changed both in terms of the scheme presented in the autumn for consultation and then the final scheme drawn up for the Transport & Works Order but the impact upon journey times and modal shift etc would then have to be looked at again.  This is what the DfT will look at before allocating the funding.

Potential amendments to the scheme

Setting aside the principle of the scheme, which some people object to, there are a number of issues / objections.  These include encroachment on Monument Moor / Woodhouse Moor, loss of / reduction in dedicated cycle lanes and tree loss - there are others.  These issues have been raised during consultation and they will be looked at to see if there are alternatives.  In particular the current proposals and how they impact upon cycling are a particular cause for concern, and it would seem that on this issue the City Council / Metro may be ready to look again at what is proposed, independent of what objections might come forward.

Summary

The overall picture is that a scheme for a trolley bus along the route will be submitted in the Transport & Works Act Order in September, but that the precise detail may change as a result of the consultation as long as the overall impact upon journey times and value for money etc. is not compromised (or compromised much).  The inquiry may lead to further changes in the scheme.  The final decision will be made by 2016 by the Department for Transport.


 Links that might be of interest are as follows.

The official NGT site - http://www.ngtmetro.com/ .  One section of this sets out responses to frequently asked questions (FAQs) at http://www.ngtmetro.com/FrequentlyAskedQuestions

A presentation by Dave Haskins, Project Director for the New Generation Transport Project is available at http://lutube.leeds.ac.uk/tratsh/videos/8482 .  It lasts nearly an hour but it contains a great deal of information including the time scale, franchising, and much else of interest.

The A660 Joint Council - http://a660.org/ , first established in the 1920s, has promoted improvements in transport and traffic flow on the A660 corridor while seeking to reduce traffic density and its impact on the special communities and environments through which it passes.  It has another website at http://newgenerationtransport.com/

The current NGT proposals for a cross-city trolley bus route with articulated vehicles running between Holt Park and Stourton with park and ride sites at Bodington and Stourton have prompted the re-establishment of the Joint Council as a forum for gathering and sharing information about NGT, its likely impact on the environment, traffic flow and the communities along the A660.

A City Council report dated 17 October 2012 on the latest stage of this project provides useful information.  The report sought authority to spend £1.2m from within the existing Capital Programme to progress the scheme to enable a Transport and Works Order to be submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport for powers to construct and operate the scheme.  The section 'Background Information' gives a summary of how the project has got this far. http://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/documents/s83894/ngt%20report%20041012.pdf .

 

Various  artists’ impressions can be seen on the NGTMetro website of what the trolleybuses might look like, and what the road might look like once the project is built.  These are speculative as many design elements haven’t been finalised, e.g. the posts holding up the electricity wires (the catenary), the surface treatment of different parts of the highway, the passenger stops.  In particular, the design of the trolleybuses is not known.  These will have to be bought through a public tendering process and much of the design will depend on which firm wins the bid.  It is very likely, however, that they will be single-decked and articulated, i.e. two-part.





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