Standing room only at the trolleybus public meeting

Councillor James Lewis and Councillor Richard Lewis

The meeting was chaired by the Reverend Joanne Pearson, assistant rector at St George’s Church, and priest in charge at St Augustine’s, Wrangthorn and the speakers were Councillor James Lewis, head of the West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority, and Councillor Richard Lewis, head of Development at Leeds City Council.

After an introduction by Tony Green, deputy chairman of the A660 Joint Council, there were short talks from the councillors, followed by questions from the audience.

The councillors responded to a large number of questions and the meeting was good humoured. Several members of the audience expressed exasperation with the proposals when Councillor Richard Lewis said “Trolley does something different. It makes me quite frustrated that people can’t pick up on this fact.”

Paul Marchant responded “If people don’t see this, maybe it’s your problem.”

There were calls from the audience, “Tell us the difference.”

The Reverend Joanne Pearson asked, “What is the difference?”

Richard Lewis said, “It doesn’t stop frequently. It has a third the number of stops.”

A member of the audience said, “Why not just have some other buses do that then?”

Someone else said, “You’re just saying that a bus that stops less, will get there faster.”

Richard Lewis responded, “James is clearer than I am about the technology that will be employed. I struggle to understand it. If bus companies want to stop less, they can do that.”

There was only one neutral question put to the councillors, and one that was supportive (from a Bradford trolleybus enthusiast). All the rest were highly sceptical.

The meeting was attended by over 100 people from right across Leeds, and there was standing room only.

Public meeting about the trolleybus scheme

Civic Hall meeting

Rome’s Trolleybus Scheme Wastes Millions

Veltroni

“Mayor Veltroni’s trolleybus scheme is a waste of millions” said the posters. The year was 2008, and the rival candidate for mayor Signor Alemanno had put up posters all over Rome promising to cancel the trolleybus project and replace it with an extension to the underground system. But in the end, the trolleybus scheme was accepted.

But Alemanno’s posters turned out to be right. Not only did the trolleybus serve no purpose, it proved extremely expensive. The enormous cost of the vehicles, built by the consortium Breda Menarini and Skoda was eye-watering. Under the terms of the contract, Rome Metro had agreed to pay a total amount of 40 million euros for 40 trolleybuses. That works out at the exorbitant cost of one million euros for each trolleybus (in Spain with this amount of money you can buy an underground train). In Latvia the same consortium contracted to provide 150 trolleybuses for just 53 million euros

All of this begs the questions: From whom does Leeds intend to buy trolleybuses? And at what price?

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References

1. Cinque Giorni
2. Roma Repubblica

Large turnout to Alderman Townsley’s second talk

Over sixty people attended this evening’s talk by transport consultant Don Townsley on why NGT would be bad for Leeds. This was Alderman Townsley’s second talk on this subject in the space of a month. The previous talk was also given at the Heart centre, and was attended by over a hundred people. Tonight’s talk was given for the benefit of those who were unable to attend February’s talk. Those present this evening included Councillor Richard Lewis, the head of Leeds City Council’s Highways Department, and Councillor James Lewis, the head of the board of Metro.

Revealed : Metro’s plan to tarmac even more of Woodhouse Moor

swiss built h Little Moor, with Woodhouse Cliff on the right, and the existing school access road on the left

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It’s bad enough that Metro and Leeds City Council want to run trolleybuses across Monument Moor. Now, thanks to the efforts of a vigilant local resident, we have learnt that they also plan to tarmac sections of Cinder Moor and Little Moor, and possibly also the gardens of numbers 5, 6 and 7 Woodhouse Cliff.

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Under their plan, Metro would :

  1. Widen Cliff Road all the way from its junction with Woodhouse Lane to Woodhouse Cliif. This would be done at the expense of Cinder Moor and Little Moor.
  2. Widen Woodhouse Cliff in order to carry traffic to and from City of Leeds School. This would be done at the expense of Little Moor, and possibly also the gardens of number 5, 6,and 7 Woodhouse Cliff.
  3. Instal traffic lights at the junctions of Cliff Road with Woodhouse Lane and Woodhouse Street.
  4. Close the existing road giving access to City of Leeds School from Woodhouse Street.

The reason Metro want to swallow up more of the Moor is because junction alterations required by the NGT trolleybus scheme at Hyde Park Corner will divert traffic along Cliff Road, which is currently too narrow to cope with the expected volume of traffic.

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swiss built h Little Moor, showing trees that would be cut down as part of the proposed road widening

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The first anyone outside of Metro and the Council knew about any of this was when a local resident witnessed two surveyors at work in the area. Subsequent enquiries revealed that they were employed by the Metconsultancy Group, carrying out work on behalf of Metro.

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This is just the latest Leeds City Council assault on Little Moor. The last one was in 1972 when they tried to build a hostel on the green space. Here is Audrey Marlow’s account of the battle to save Little Moor.

Whither the Trolleybus ? – back by popular demand

The first presentation of this talk was given on the 27th February to a packed audience – “full to standing”. By popular demand this is a further opportunity to learn the facts about NGT and form a balanced opinion without the sales pitch.

Alderman Townsley’s talk on NGT a big success

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There was standing room only this evening in the main hall at the Heart centre in Headingley. People from all along the A660 had turned out to hear transport consultant Don Townsley’s long awaited talk on why NGT would be bad for Leeds, and they were not disappointed.

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At the end of the evening, it was impossible to understand why any transport authority in 2013 would want to instal something which has so few benefits and is as inflexible as a trolleybus system.

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Alderman Townsley’s presentation was thorough, and persuasive. Some people I spoke to at the end of the meeting told me they had been dubious about NGT before the meeting, and now they are quite definitely against it.

Talk by Alderman Don Townsley on why NGT is bad for Leeds

Don Townsley Poster

Respected local estate agent warns that New Generation Transport may adversely affect property prices along the A660 – now and in the future

Property values in parts of Leeds 6 and Leeds 16 postcode areas may be adversely affected by the introduction of the proposed New Generation Transport (NGT) scheme, which will see trolleybuses running from Holt Park into the city centre and out to Stourton. The A660 Otley Road has been earmarked for the scheme, with a park-n-ride facility at Boddington, alongside the new housing scheme that is likely to emerge there when Leeds University dispose of their interest in the site, which is currently on the market for sale.

Changes in the Landscape for Property Owners

Sections of the A660 through West Park and Far Headingley are wide enough to take a trolleybus, although visually even properties in these areas may suffer, with overhead power cables criss-crossing the road, concrete or steel supports carrying the power lines and raised terminals with overhead coverage for passengers dotted along the route. This will have a detrimental impact on property values.

I am concerned that sections of Otley Road will not ‘get away’ so lightly. Proposals include making Hollin Road one-way and widening Otley Road (opposite Georgio’s and the New Inn), by taking up sections of the green verges on the south-west side of the road. Taking away sections of mature woodland around Alma Road and Shire Oak Road are proposed as the trolleybus route snakes behind the Arndale Centre, the Original Oak pub and St Columbus’ Church. The removal of woodland around these attractive and secluded streets will have a marked affect on the peace and tranquillity they currently enjoy. Headingley Hall and Headingley Castle would doubtless suffer in the same way. Properties in these areas may be more adversely affected as the presence of the scheme in characterful conservation areas will undermine the total concept of ‘conservation’.

The Impact on Property Prices

There will be two aspects to the impact on property values by the proposed scheme – the impact on property values whilst the construction works are being undertaken and the final value of property once the infrastructure is in place and residents are experiencing the day-to-day operation of the scheme. From my 30 years experience, once such schemes are up and running, property values are relatively untainted, as prospective buyers can see for themselves how the scheme will affect their day-to-day life, and if such a scheme reduces road noise from cars, reduces traffic flows, and accelerates the time it takes to get into Leeds, there may even be some positives to take from the scheme. The problem is the impact on value during the interim period of planning and construction, which can take years.

The old Supertram scheme never got off the ground but the mere threat that it could deterred buyers from offering on some properties along the A660, as far down as Hyde Park and as far north as Lawnswood. The A65 Kirkstall Road scheme that is now complete (and much better I might add!) resulted in many houses that were facing onto the scheme either being unsaleable for a period or only being sold at heavily discounted prices. As it happens, this all occurred during the recession and as many properties were struggling to sell, the affect wasn’t as noticeable as it would have been during a boom period – which we may face in the next 10 years (the market always works in cycles!). If anyone along these routes owns a property and is thinking of either selling or renting it in the near future our advice is to have the property valued well in advance; they need to know the realistic sale or rental value and the impact of the proposed scheme on the length of time it will take to sell or let the property.

The scheme may not go ahead. Government is providing £173.5m but Leeds will still have to raise an additional £76m in today’s money. With the likely rise in costs due to inflation, the usual over-runs on both time and unforeseen expenditure along the way, and the cost of debt servicing, Leeds probably needs to budget for nearer to £125m to £150m. Can this be found and if so, from where? During the interim period property sale and rental values will still be adversely affected.

Property owners and investors need to plan ahead.

Michael J Moore FNAEA, MARLA
Moores Estate Agents

The NGT Business Case assumes the frequency of the Number 6 and Number 1 bus services would be halved

Number 1 halved

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There was a consultation event this evening at Ralph Thoresby School in Holt Park about the proposed trolleybus scheme. The scheme involves running trolleybuses from the city centre to a terminus at the Holt Park District Centre. The Holt Park terminus does raise concerns for many about the possible future conflict between the uses of the car park for shoppers as opposed to commuters.

During the event, NGT project manager Andrew Wheeler gave a slideshow presentation which highlighted something many may have been unaware of, namely that section 6.6 of the March 2012 NGT Entry Business Case Submission states that for services 1 and 6

it has been assumed that the frequency would be halved between Holt Park and the city centre

whilst for the 95 it

is assumed to be entirely replaced by NGT.

Not the best news for the more isolated residents in Tinshill and Cookridge who do not own cars?