NEW plans for the Leeds trolleybus have been unveiled as the council prepares to ask the Government for the powers to press ahead with the £250m scheme.
The single biggest change to the project will see the creation of a public transport only “corridor” running from the Parkinson Steps at Leeds University into the city centre.
A dedicated stop will also be built to serve the Leeds Arena at the top of Cookridge Street.
Business leaders have backed the New Generation Transport scheme as Leeds City Council prepares to decide early next month whether to ask Ministers for the legal powers it needs to begin work.
Mark Goldstone, head of policy at the Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “As well as driving economic regeneration, good transport networks are vital if employers are to have access to the workforce they need to grow and expand.
“There are many areas where local firms have the skills and experience to play key roles in the delivery of the scheme and it’s vital that we make the most of these opportunities to maximise the benefits of NGT to the local economy.”
Supporters of the NGT scheme say it could help create up to 4,000 jobs and add £176m to the Leeds economy every year .
Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for development and the economy, said: “It will stimulate regeneration and development south of the city centre, improve access to the city’s universities, to its retail and leisure attractions and help improve journey times along key travel to work routes.
“This scheme is vital for the future of Leeds. It will boost the economy and will make the city a more attractive proposition for developers and investors.
“There’s also potential to extend the network into areas such as the Aire Valley Leeds enterprise zone, to the east of the city centre.”
Residents and businesses will be able to have their say on the latest proposals when they are discussed at a meeting of the council’s city plans panel on June 25.
The council will take a formal decision to press ahead in July and the Government is likely to call a public inquiry for spring 2014. Construction is due to begin in 2017 with the first NGT services expected to start in 2020.