Group says area has been ignored

A group which works for Wetherby’s future has raised concerns about the Leeds transport strategy.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 3:24 pm
Drive to improve Leeds transport

Better Wetherby Partnership has submitted a response to the consultation highlighting a number of concerns and pointing out the draft ignores the needs of outer suburbs and major settlements.

Roger Owen, Chairman of the voluntary group which has lead campaigns about major housing development, said: “A key factor in the success of the strategy

will be the provision of improved bus services.

“Yet, paradoxically, for a strategy with such an ambitious vision, the current draft includes no prospect of better public transport for Wetherby and the outer suburbs of Leeds.”

The draft Leeds Transport Strategy for Leeds is the subject of a public consultation, which ends on March 26.

Leeds City Council declared a climate emergency in March 2019 and the vision for Leeds to become a city where a car is not needed.

The ambition is towards Leeds becoming a net zero city by 2030 and the draft strategy set out how to achieve this.

But Mr Owen added: “It is important that in addition to providing efficient and regular bus services to Leeds and Harrogate, the current lack of bus services from

“Wetherby to York needs to be addressed to give people wider access for business, education, employment and hospitals and also to railway stations such as York and Cattal.”

The response from Better Wetherby also raises concerns that the town provides a major access from the M1 to Leeds city centre.

The group asks the local authority: “Is it recognised that Wetherby is adjacent to the A1(M) and the A58 Trunk Road connects to Leeds centre and the A659 connects the A1(M) to the Wharfedale and Bradford routings through the LONE area?

“This traffic continues despite any wishes in the Authority’s transport aspirations for traffic to exit the motorway elsewhere.

“Is it recognised that car use has remained high in this area? Associated pollution is a consequence now and in the future throughout the routes.

“The ideas to reduce this car use appear to be nonexistent, left on a shelf or the empty promises of new build developers.

“We ask where are the plans, past or present, the delivery bodies, the financial commitment, the incentives to promote Active Travel in the Wetherby and its surrounding areas?”

The group also raised the issue of the Wetherby area residents’ reliance on Leeds for work and more public services which increase the need for travel.

The statement added: “The residents of the Outer Areas of Leeds currently are and for some time in the future will be dependent on the Leeds City centre for places of employment, for education, for health care, for transport connection, for retail and wholesale trade, for services and for leisure.

“For these reasons constituents also travel from Leeds to the outer areas.

“If Leeds city centre is to be car free, what are the planned transport alternatives to accommodate these many thousands of travellers?

“Where are they addressed in the strategy document?

“The historic ways, cultural habits, daily needs of all these many thousands of people need to be addressed and cannot be wished away.

“There are 20,000-30,000 inhabitants in each of Leeds Outer areas, swelled by visitors and transients each day.”

Better Wetherby works to ensure that the physical character of Wetherby and District is protected and developed for the benefit of the community of current and future generations.

The group protested against plans for major housing on the outskirts of Wetherby at Swinnow Park, with arguments including that it would cause extra traffic into the town centre.