The return of the trolleybus

Trolleybuses were last seen on the streets of Leeds in 1928. But now, Leeds City Council and Metro want to bring them back. To do this, they need to persuade the government to approve the release of the £250 million funding already agreed by Regional Transport Board. Much of the the money would be used to build new roads and widen existing roads so as to create dedicated bus lanes for the new buses.

The trolleybuses would run along three routes; the East Route, the South Route, and the North Route.

The North Route would run from the city centre to a large park and ride car park to be built on the Bodington playing fields. A new bus lane would be built between Rampart Road and Clarendon Road adjacent to the inbound lane of the A660. This would involve either (a) the loss of the grass verge and York stone pavement, or if people prefer (b) the new road running over Monument Moor on the other side of the grass verge. Option (b) exists because of local sensitivity about losing the avenue of trees. There’s no plan to knock down any of the buildings opposite the university. If you’re wondering what the point is of having a massively wide road on one side of the Clarendon Road junction, when there’s a very narrow road on the other, it’s so that traffic queues can be stored on the Moor. This would be achieved by altering the timing of the lights.

The florist’s shop and the shops to either side of it at Hyde Park Corner would be demolished. NGT would then run up the existing highway as far as the Elinor Lupton Centre. A new road would be built over the field opposite the Elinor Lupton Centre. This would run between the telephone exchange and Headingley Hall, and then behind the Arndale Centre, coming out onto Shaw Lane.

There would be additional road widening at various points along Otley Road.

The entrance to Weetwood Lane beside the Three Horse Shoes would be blocked off and the area beside the pub pedestrianised.

From the Lawnswood roundabout to the Bodington park and ride, there would be a new bus lane located in the central reservation for the sole use of the trolley buses.

The stated aim of the scheme is to create an improved public transport system using dedicated bus lanes wherever possible. But if that’s the aim, then it could be achieved by creating dedicated bus lanes within the existing highway.

It’s worth noting that the scheme will affect Woodhouse Moor in an almost identical manner to the scheme proposed by Highways at the end of last year. At that time, we were told that the road widening was necessary to facilitate a pedestrian crossing on Clarendon Road. The only difference with the current scheme, is that if people object to losing the avenue of trees and Yorkstone pavement, the Highways Department are prepared to spare the trees and build the new bus lane on Monument Moor.

3 comments to The return of the trolleybus

  • Dan

    To be fair, Monument Moor is an unsightly mess that has no use other than as an overflow car park.

  • Helen Graham

    Whose fault is it that this part of the Moor is used as an overflow car park? It is still part of the Moor and should NOT be used for transport purposes. It was, I presume, bought by the Council of the day for recreation, and to improve the quality of the air city dwellers breathed, as was the rest of the Moor. Perhaps there should be gardens there which could be enjoyed by the residents of the Harrison Potter houses and all other houses in the vicinity – much nearer than the main part of the Moor. It has obviously been useful to the Council as a car park in the past, hence the lack of care. It is still part of our green space and as such should be valued and cared for. Well said, Dan, it should be improved but not turned into a tarmac wasteland!

  • Peter Jones

    Hello all. I was doing some research into the proposed Headingley By-pass during the 30’s and then the 70’s when i came across all of this. I remember reading about the trolleybuses when the ‘Super’-trams collapsed. (what a waste of money! I wish I could spend £100million pounds, turn around and say ‘It’s not viable’ and then not be held accountable for it!) Now I know this site is leaned closer to Hyde Park but I problem with all of this is the Headingley section. I see that they are planning to use to original route of the old by-pass. Having lived on Shire Oak Road for a number of years and now subsequently living at The Poplars, I know only too well the route they want to take. Just a thought, as the bypass plan collapsed, there has been new build on this land. Firstly, the office complex that cuts Shire Oak Street off, and they the new flats build between it and the hall. Plus, the expansion of Headingley Hall Care Home has taken up all of this land. And I right or am I just seeing it through the biased eyes of a disgruntled resident? *sigh*


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