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.

3 responses to “11 November public meeting on the cycling and walking route scheme”

  1. Did you leave the meeting with a sense of optimism that anything would be done to help people in Chesterfield make more sustainable transport choices?

    • It’s difficult to say. The civic society is not opposed to sustainable transport choices (indeed we support them), but clearly this issue has been somewhat ‘pushed through’ by the county council. This is one of the reasons we object to it. The so-called consultation has been deeply flawed. Pushing through things like this tends not to help serious and well-thought out debate about improved cycling and walking provision and other forms of sustainable transport.

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