He compares the opponents of the trolleybus to the Taliban. But who is Peter Connolly ?

by Bill

Peter ConnollyIn a recent letter to the Yorkshire Evening Post, Peter Connolly compared those who oppose the trolleybus to the Taliban. He accuses us of spreading half-truths, while he accepts as Gospel truth everything that is said by NGT. Yet, transport experts, including a retired professor from the internationally-recognised University of Leeds Institute of Transport Studies, have pointed to fundamental flaws in the project, none of which seem to have been satisfactorily addressed. But who is Peter Connolly?

Born in Ireland on the 26th September 1948, and described by author Janet Douglas as “a small property developer and restaurant and bar owner” Peter Connolly began his career by buying up and refurbishing property along the River Aire. In 2000, he won Leeds Civic Trust’s Spirit Of Leeds Award “for bringing originality and style to property development in Leeds” It was his idea to bring one of the derelict barges on the Aire to Woodhouse Lane where it now functions as a bar called the Dry Dock.

He was a director of the Chamber of Commerce between 1996 and 2001, and is currently a member of the Chamber’s planning group, together with several others including representatives of Arup, a firm of consulting engineers in the news recently for providing Leeds City Council with a £4.2 million estimate to refurbish the West Park Centre. Arup also acted as consulting engineers for the Arena. Peter Connolly is the developer responsible for Arup’s offices.

A graduate of Common Purpose, here’s what he had to say about the experience:

“Because I went on the programme, I’m much more involved in the city. I joined the Chamber of Commerce, I’m Deputy Chair of the Local Affairs Committee, I’m on the Leeds Architectural Design Initiative. I’m much more conscious of what I and other people have to offer.”

In June 2012, his company Yorkshire Design Development purchased the former Yorkshire Chemical site on Black Bull Street, a stone’s throw from Allied London’s New Dock, the former Clarence Dock. In December 2012, the company received a £2 million loan from the Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growing Places Fund to prepare the site for development. Plans were recently unveiled for a new campus for Leeds College of Building on the site. These were presented to a Leeds City Council plans panel in June 2012.

Ben Rimmington, Leeds City Region LEP Director; Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council; Paul Ellison and Peter Connolly of Yorkshire Design Services examine plans for a data centre