Wednesday 13 March 2024

It Leads To Leeds : Trolleybus Troubles

Politics & Transport - Attempt 2

It certainly looked cool and the artists'impressions were impressive in the extreme. Having failed to gain Government approval for the tram network and having spent vast sums of money planning it and preparing the case, it was thrown out by the late Alistair Darling, then Minister of Roads and not so mich Minister of (Public) Transport.

Undeterred by the thwarted effort, the Council then sought to try trolleybuses.
Even more money was spent on consultants and showy publicly and the proposals were duly submitted to the Government.

And, astoundingly, the Government approved the scheme.

Three routes formed the initial proposal ...
... and there was much rejoicing in the marbled corridors of Leeds Town Hall.
In many ways, the initial scheme was modest.

North route - from a new park & ride site at Bodington (up to 800 spaces) to Leeds city centre;
South route - from a new park & ride site at Stourton (up to 2,200 spaces) to Leeds city centre; 
If the colouring means anything, you would assumer that these routes would operate cross city, thus mirroring one of the failed tram routes!

East route - from Leeds city centre to St James's Hospital. This route was later withdrawn from the proposals.
The North route was a good one to choose as it is very busy with buses and would benefit from he increase in speed that was proposed.
It was all looking great for a prompt start in the road widening and junction rebuilding that would be necessary to give the swish continental-style trolleybuses a slick route.

There was a snag! There would have to be a Public Enquiry.

Oh dear! There is many a slip betwixt trolleybus proposal cup and trolleybus delivery lip!

One problem was the list of buildings that would need to be demolished.

Several buildings were set to be demolished to accommodate the scheme, all of these lie on the Northern leg of the route. The buildings are as follows:

A parade of eight shops at Hyde Park Corner
A former stable block and lodge building at the former Leeds Girls High School
A terrace block within Headingley Business Park, between Headingley Lane and Victoria Road
The aybive two pictures are typical but may not be the actual parades to be demolished.

A residential brick built villa on Wood Lane, Headingley
The former First Church of Christ Scientist building on Alma Road, Headingley which is currently used as offices
Changing rooms and a groundsmans' cottage at the University of Leeds site in Weetwood

Add to this a considerable number of road layout changes; thus the protests were considerable.
Oddly, the campaign did not seem to be concerned about tunning lots of left hand drive trolleybuses along the A660! 

But, more seriously, the antagonism was vociferous.
The outcome of the Public Enquiry was not unexpected. Here is a summary of the progress of the the scheme.

A 'Major Scheme Business Case' was submitted to the Department for Transport in October 2009 In March 2010, the Government announced that the proposal had been awarded 'Programme Entry Approval'.

Funding was approved for the North Route to Bodington and an extension to Holt Park, the South Route to Stourton and a section of the city centre loop linking these two lines. The government did not approve funding for the East Route or a full city centre loop.

The DfT approved the Holt Park - Stourton route on 5 July 2012. The planned scheme was subject to a public Inquiry in 2014.

Following a negative report from the Public Inquiry, the proposed scheme was cancelled in May 2016.

So huge amounts of money were spent by Leeds City Council on the preparations, all to no avail.

Tomorrow we look at Attempt Three.

This comes with a secret weapon.
Who could resist that endearing smile - OR - that controversial parliamentary frock?

Saving The Planet Part 237
Told You So, 1 ... Solar Panels
Told You So, 2 ... Turbine Blades

Told You So, 3 ... Power Stations

 Next West Yorkshire blog : Thursday 14th March 

1 comment:

  1. Andrew Kleissner13 March 2024 at 13:48

    Hmmm ... presumably easier to decommission than nuclear power stations? I take your point (and nothing lasts for ever, and there are real issues of disposal), one would hope that the materials used have changed since the early installations.