Derby's £100m tram plan rejected as 'too expensive'

Nottingham tram Supporters of the Derby scheme say the Nottingham tram has been a success

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Plans for trams in Derby have been rejected as too expensive.

The seven-mile (11km) route would have gone from Mickleover and Mackworth to Pride Park, with a possible extension to the High Speed 2 rail hub at Toton.

But the city council said the estimated £100m - £140m price tag was unaffordable and it did not believe there was enough public demand.

Supporters said the road network was "near breaking point" and new housing would make the problem worse.

The scheme had received a boost earlier in the year when business group Marketing Derby said it was vital the city was better connected to the HS2 route.

Connecting Derby

David Gibson, who drew up the plans and is also the regional officer for the Light Rail Transit Association, said this, when added to plans for another 19,000 homes in the area, meant action was vital.

"The problems we have got on the inner ring road at the moment demonstrate just how near breaking point things are and imagine adding another 50,000 journeys to that.

"Then there is the connection to HS2 at Toton and to make Derby attractive we are going to need a good connection to the city," he said.

Mr Gibson admitted his £100m cost estimate was a lot of money but said the government had indicated it was looking to back infrastructure projects and the tram cost compared favourably with the £34m spent on the Connecting Derby road project.

Disputed cost

Councillor Mark Titley, who chaired the city council meeting, insisted they had been open minded, but a report had been clear in its conclusions.

"The costs and the logistics involved, both in terms of the capital outlay and the ongoing maintenance, don't make sense for a city the size of Derby."

Mr Titley also said they believed the average cost of a tram system - £20m a mile - meant the price tag for the Derby line would be nearer £140m.

He pointed to improvements in bus lanes and the road network: "We want Derby to keep moving but it must be affordable."

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