New shopping centre owner has change of heart over trolleybus

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THE NEW owner of a shopping centre in Leeds has come out in opposition to the city’s trolleybus plans.

Schroder Real Estate Investment Trust bought the landmark Arndale Centre shopping centre in Otley Road, Headingley, for just over £16m in January.

At the time, Schroder said it saw the centre as a key site to benefit from the proposed £250m trolleybus scheme.

Now, though, one of the project’s co-promoters, West Yorkshire passenger transport authority Metro, has confirmed that the company has lodged an objection to the plans. A spokesman for Metro said the authority was “in negotiations” with Schroder but could provide no detail on the reasons for the firm’s apparent change of heart.

Schroder was unable to
provide a comment on the situation.

About 2,000 representations have been made ahead of the
public inquiry that will decide the fate of Leeds’s New Generation Transport (NGT) trolleybus project.

Headed up by Metro and Leeds City Council, the NGT scheme was given funding approval by the Department for Transport in 2012. However, Leeds still needs a Transport Works Act (TWA) Order for permission to build the system.

As is normal for a project of this size, the Government will make a decision on the award of the TWA Order based on the findings of a public inquiry. The NGT inquiry is due to get under way on April 29.

If it comes through the
inquiry process unscathed, the trolleybus network will link
Holt Park in the north of
the city with Stourton in the south.