'˜Time for Leeds to revist tram system' - Leeds business leader claims

Leeds should revisit once again plans for a mass transit service linking the city centre with the South Bank, a top business leader has claimed.

The Government promised money earmarked for the doomed trolleybus scheme could be used on other measures.

The new president of the Leeds Chamber of Commerce, Paula Dillon, said that a tram route between the city centre and Stourton would increase the viability of the South Bank development and help bring people from south Leeds into the heart of the city.

Leeds is the largest city in Western Europe with no mass transit system and previous attempts to create a local transport infrastructure, first with the Supertram system and then a Trolleybus scheme, have both ended in failure.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

However Ms Dillon said a smaller-scale route, solely concentrating on south Leeds would add further credibility to plans to expand the South Bank and that past disappointments to deliver a mass transit system should not deter Leeds from revisiting the plan.

She said: “I think there is a great deal of appetite and interest in the scheme, not just from business but from ordinary people who feel let down in the past. Why not have something really ambitious, rather than a few extra buses?

“It serves an area of the city that is not sufficiently connected to the city centre. If we can access Holbeck through to Stourton and give them something really top class that makes people feel good about coming in, why not?”

Ms Dillon added that as chamber boss she wanted to see more women involved in STEM professions and to improve the layout of Leeds city station.

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said: “As part of the Leeds Transport Strategy, delivering a rapid mass-transit system remains a key ambition for the city and the wider Leeds City Region.”

Paula Dillon, President of Leeds Chamber Commerce.
Paula Dillon, President of Leeds Chamber Commerce.