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.