Those who live or travel through the area will already be aware, the county council has now begun work on the two-way high-speed cycle track along the north side of Chatsworth Road, between the junctions of Holymoor Road and Storrs Road. This comes at the end of a long campaign by the Civic Society and others to prevent this happening.
Despite convening a public meeting at which over 300 people expressed their opposition to the scheme, enlisting the support of Toby Perkins MP, securing extensive press coverage, writing numerous letters to the county council, the Department for Transport and the Local Government Ombudsman, the Civic Society (and many others) failed to stop the scheme.
There will now be a period of inconvenience caused to local residents during the construction. Once the cycle track is built, anyone entering or leaving private driveways on the north side of Chatsworth Road will be faced with the additional hazard of avoiding virtually silent pedal cycles travelling in both directions at a speed that could cause serious injury, if not death, to pedestrians. In addition, the movement of traffic on Chatsworth Road, especially heavy goods vehicles, will become more difficult than it is already, and crossing the road will become more dangerous for pedestrians. We have rehearsed all the arguments against the road in our members’ Newsletter and on this website many times. We must now wait to see what the consequences of this scheme prove to be in practice, but it seems unlikely that they will be beneficial to the vast majority of road and footway users, much less local residents.
This long saga has angered many people for different reasons. One of the more general points is that the scheme has gone ahead solely because the Government offered taxpayers’ money to local highway authorities who could come up quickly with some way of spending it on anything that could be described as contributing to their ‘Active Travel Programme’. In practice, this seems to have meant building new cycle tracks.
There was already a perfectly good ‘walking route’ along Chatsworth Road (i.e. the pavement), which continues into the town centre. We are certainly not anti-cyclist, but it is a fact, as we have repeatedly argued, that the vast majority of Chesterfield residents do not cycle, and are not going to start doing so because a cycle track is built along Chatsworth Road. We feel that the county council has spent at least £1.68m. of taxpayers’ money on a project that will benefit to a relatively small proportion of the population, whilst potentially making the route worst for the majority, but we will see. As the works develop we and local residents will be keeping an eye on things.