The Elm Tree, Staveley – our views on the planning application

We are asked to to comment by Chesterfield Borough Council on planning applications involving listed buildings and where building alterations may impact on conservation areas.

We’ve recently commented on plans to convert the Elm Tree public house, High Street, Staveley into domestic dwellings and to build houses on some of the surrounding land.

Our comments can be downloaded via the link below. They also include some historical background to the area.

How things used to be. The Elm Tree, High Street, Staveley is to the left in this Edwardian postcard. The building to the immediate left was replaced some years ago. Note the tree outside the public house – which presumably gave its name to the pub. (Collection the late Fred Wood).

11 November public meeting on the cycling and walking route scheme

Many thanks to everyone who attended the 11 November 2021 public meeting to discuss the Chesterfield east to west cycling and walking route. Below is a statement issued by the civic society on the event.

Also attached, to download, is the opening statement made by our chairman at the meeting. This summarises the civic society’s issues with scheme.

It was standing room only at the meeting held on 11 November 2021.

Chatsworth Road cycle route strongly opposed

Over 350 local residents packed into the hall at Brookfield School on Thursday November 11 to discuss the planned East–West Cycling and Walking Route between Brookside and the Royal Hospital.

The meeting, one of the largest of its kind in Chesterfield for some years, was organised by the Chesterfield and District Civic Society.

Chesterfield’s MP, Toby Perkins, opened the meeting by explaining his view of the county council’s proposals. He called on the council to pause both the eastern and western extensions of the existing Hipper Trail until there had been a fuller consultation with those affected. He pressed for further consideration of an alternative route for the western
extension, using the existing footpath between Somersall Lane and Greendale Avenue in Holymoorside, instead of Chatsworth Road.

Mr Perkins also reported on his recent exchange in Parliament with a Transport Department Minister, and announced that he had arranged to
meet Chris Heaton-Harris, the Minister responsible for cycle policy.
A number of speakers criticised the proposed cycle ‘super highway’, which would run alongside Chatsworth Road between Holymoor Road and Storrs Road. They believed that it would make the road more dangerous for cyclists and lead to worse congestion for motor traffic. Others urged the use of the Greendale Avenue instead.

Speakers in favour of the Chatsworth Road route argued that it would encourage more cycling, especially among young people, and would be safer than the present road layout.

Three of the landowners on the Greendale Avenue route spoke. They stressed that they had always been in favour of the footpath being upgraded to a bridle path which cyclists could use, but were frustrated by the failure, over many years, of the county council to meet their concerns over liability for injury by users.

The Civic Society chairman, Philip Riden, commented that he had recently written to the Department of Transport urging officials to
intervene to resolve this problem.

Strong feelings were expressed about the permanent closure of part of Crow Lane to motor traffic. Some speakers argued that its temporary closure had caused congestion on alternative routes; others felt that the road was now much safer for walkers and cyclists.

The meeting voted by a large majority in support of the Greendale Avenue route in reference to a cycle route on Chatsworth Road, and by a smaller majority in favour of closing Crow Lane. Another show of hands confirmed that no-one living on Chatsworth Road or nearby had received the circular which the county council claim to have delivered last March to 4,041 households on 117 streets affected by the scheme.

Mr Riden stated that the Civic Society had laid a complaint before the Local Government Ombudsman, arguing that the consultation was so badly flawed as to make it unsafe for the county council to proceed
with the scheme.

The meeting concluded with an assurance from Mr Perkins that he would convey the strong opposition expressed to the Chatsworth Road route to both the county council and the Department for Transport.

Our chairman Philip Riden (standing) with Chesterfield’s MP Toby Perkins, at the meeting.

Download the opening statement made our chairman at the meeting below.

Alternative cycle route should be given serious consideration

The Civic Society is trying to revive serious consideration of the Greendale Avenue – Somersall Lane cycle route. We do not believe that negotiations should have been broken off without more effort to bring them to a successful conclusion.

Download below our early November 2021 letters to Derbyshire County Council on this issue.

Cycle Route Complaint Published

This detailed and closely argued memorandum has been written by Mr Bryan Thompson, a retired chartered town planner and former chairman of the Civic Society.

It embodies a great deal of professional knowledge of the issues surrounding the proposed West-East Cycling Route (also known as a ‘Cycle Super Highway’).

He has yet to receive a response from the county council, to which it has been sent.

You can download the memorandum below.

New plaques on the horizon

Our latest three blue building plaques were on display at our October 2021 AGM.

These popular and increasingly familiar plaques, mainly around Chesterfield town centre, have been a feature of the Civic Society’s activities for many years. The plaque’s design, though, have had a recent make-over.

Our next plaques are destined for (L-R) the University of Derby building on Sheffield Road, the Pomegranate Theatre and the Winding Wheel.

We already have permission for the building’s owners to erect the plaques and are currently pursuing the necessary paperwork.

A few of the much older plaques are deteriorating and some of the information on them is not now correct. We are looking at ways to replace them.

If you’d like to sponsor a plaque contact us.

Public Meeting to Discuss Walking and Cycling Route

Chesterfield and District Civic Society have arranged a public meeting with Toby Perkins MP, to discuss the Chesterfield East-West Walking and Cycling Route, following Derbyshire County Council’s recent decision to proceed with the scheme.

The meeting will be held at Brookfield Community School Hall on Thursday 11 November 2021 from 7.30–9.00 p.m.

All local residents are invited to come along and express their views to their Member of Parliament about the route.

All County Council and Borough Council elected members representing divisions and wards on the route have been invited.

Say ‘no’ to traffic chaos on Chatsworth Road

Chesterfield and District Civic Society has submitted a petition to Derbyshire County Council, following the council’s decision to proceed with the East-West Cycling Route.

Our petition refers to the western extension, particularly along Chatsworth Road. We are concerned that the plans will make an extremely busy section of Chatsworth Road dangerous to all road users. We believe the county council should make renewed efforts to obtain an agreement with the landowners concerned to use the route between Greendale Avenue and Somersall Lane, currently a public footpath, as was originally intended. 

The on-line petition has yet to approved by the county council. Once live we’ll post a link here.

We would welcome as many people who agree with our stance, to sign the online petition.

There will also be paper copies that can be circulated. If anyone would like a paper version, message us via our new Facebook page or email us:

What the petition says

Chesterfield East-West Walking and Cycling Route

We the undersigned ask Derbyshire County Council to abandon, in its present form, the western extension of the existing Hipper Trail via Linden Avenue and Chatsworth Road, on the grounds that this will make an extremely busy section of Chatsworth Road dangerous to all road users. Instead DCC should make renewed efforts to obtain an agreement with the landowners concerned to use the route between Greendale Avenue and Somersall Lane, currently a public footpath, as originally intended. 

The petitioners support the creation of dedicated walking and cycling routes in Derbyshire, but oppose the use of Chatsworth Road and Linden Avenue as the route of the proposed western end of the Chesterfield East-West Walking and Cycling Route. Large numbers of residents consider that the use of this route will endanger all road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, and will not encourage either more walking or more cycling. The building of a reserved cycle track along Chatsworth Road will involve the removal of the reserved central area currently used by vehicles waiting to turn right. Traffic will, inevitably, be held up by vehicles waiting on the carriageways to turn.

The petitioners urge the County Council to reopen negotiations with the landowners to use the existing footpath between Greendale Avenue and Somersall Lane as a cycle path, if necessary seeking the advice of the Department for Transport to find a solution to any problems that have arisen. The petitioners understand that the landowners remain in favour, in principle, of the use of this route, which will be shorter, flatter and safer than a route via Chatsworth Road and Linden Avenue.

The decision to initiate a petition was taken following a discussion at our annual general meeting in October 2021.

Cycle super-highway approved by county council

Despite the Civic Society’s and some other concerned residents’ objections Derbyshire County Council approved the Chesterfield east to west cycling and walking route at its cabinet meeting on 14 October.

The controversial aspects of this proposal are centred around the closure to motor traffic of a road forming the proposed eastern extension (Crow Lane) and the building of a new two-lane high-speed cycle ‘super highway’ along a very busy main road (Chatsworth Road, A619) which forms the western extension.

We are publishing below the latest tranche of documents following the council’s decision to proceed with the scheme.

A new letter of complaint to the county council, with an accompanying memorandum giving precise details of the shortcomings of the county council ‘consultation’ exercise.

The accompanying memorandum

The Ombudsman’s initial response to our complaint, saying the county council must be given another twelve weeks to respond to a complaint from us.

Our Chairman’s reply to the above Ombudsman’s letter advising what action the Civic Society has taken since the county council approved the cycle and walking route.

The Civic Society Chairman’s attempt to correspond with County Councillor Athwal (Cabinet Member – Highways Assets and Transport). The Civic Society believes that Councillor Athwall has not directly answered questions posed in our Chairman’s email to him, relying on an officer(s) produced reply.

What are our next steps?

The Civic Society will continue to pursue this issue. We accept that there are those who are in favour of the cycling and walking route, but we are generally against it. This is not only for practical reasons, but also as we do not believe that the public consultation has been carried out properly. Consequently, public opposition to the proposals has not been correctly reflected to members of the council and has not formed a proper place in the decision making process.

What can those impacted do?

We have suggested to the organisers of the 711-signature petition opposing the closure of Crow Lane that they might like to make a separate complaint to the Ombudsman and the county council.

Individual objectors could also make their own complaint to the Ombudsman. Unlike seeking judicial review, this does not cost anything.

How much did the public ‘consultation’ cost?

Our Freedom of Information Act request concerning the cost of the consultation, has the county council claiming that they cannot estimate the cost of their own officers’ staff time, but payments to outside contractors total over £22,000, including £993 paid to the firm called Letterbox in London, who were supposed to have delivered 4,041 letters to households on 117 streets. We now know they did not do so and have evidence to support this.

More on the Chesterfield Cycle Super-Highway

Earlier in 2021 Derbyshire County Council announced a plan to extend an existing cycle route through Chesterfield at either end. The Civic Society has previously objected to aspects of the proposals. In this post we revisit these proposals as the council has presented a paper to their Cabinet of 14 October recommending that the proposals are accepted.

The controversial aspects of this proposal are centred around the closure to motor traffic of a road forming the proposed eastern extension (Crow Lane) and the building of a new two-lane high-speed cycle ‘super highway’ along a very busy main road (Chatsworth Road, A619) which forms the western extension.

The Derbyshire County Council Cabinet paper is available to download below.

The Civic Society are unhappy with many aspects of the scheme. Our objections and concerns over the proposal are contained in a paper we have sent to the Secretary of State for Transport. Download this paper below, together with the covering letter.

We have written to the Local Government Ombudsman, over the issue Download our letter below.

Our circular to Brookside residents can be downloaded below. This also outlines some of the objections we have.

We are making these papers available in the interests of open governance.

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