Cyclist hits out at council for not maintaining cycle path in Chesterfield
A Chesterfield cyclist says a £3.1 million cycle path has been left to rot and it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured if it is not maintained.
Mark Jones says the two year old cycle path which runs from Queen's Park to the train station and the CASA hotel is overgrown to the point of unusability.
Mark, 58 is calling for action from Chesterfield Borough Council to clear brambles and overhanging branches from the route.
He said: "I cycle home from Derby a couple of times a week and I always use the cycle path. Over the summer it has started to get overgrown. I got on it heading towards the station footbridge then over the A61 .
"As I turned the corner I was hit in the face by a branch sticking out . If I hadn't have been wearing sunglasses I could have had an eye out.
He said the track is is three metres wide but in places you can only use a metre.
"On one ride I saw a girl pushing a push chair and the wheel had got caught up in brambles.
"I can ride down there and dodge everything but someone who doesn't use it very often could get hurt. There will be some big compensation claims if someone loses an eye.
"I think if it goes on for another summer nobody will be able to use it because it would be so over grown."
" It's a fantastic facility for those choosing to ride a bike but it has to be maintained properly."
A Derbyshire County Council spokesman said: “We are responsible for the maintenance of this cycle path, so are grateful for the advice that this route is overgrown. Now this has been brought to our attention we will ask our highways team to carry out an inspection.
"We have limited resources to keep cycle paths clear so groups such as Chesterfield Cycle Campaign also help on our behalf where they can.
"We will liaise with them to see if they are able to help in this case.
"Overgrown paths and cycle routes can be reported at derbyshire.gov.uk/doitnow
MP Toby Perkins said: “Since my telephone conversation with Mr Jones, my office has been in touch with the County and Borough Councillors in St Leonards to try and identify which local authority has responsibility for the maintenance of the cycle path at the Hornsbridge roundabout. The information I received suggested it is Derbyshire County Council’s responsibility and I have written to them to request urgent action is taken to clear the overgrown vegetation on the path.
"I also met with the Chair of the Chesterfield Cycle Campaign just a few days ago to discuss the maintenance of cycle paths in Chesterfield. As a town, we have been very good at attracting funding for creating paths, but then there is not always the funding put in place to ensure they are maintained.
" will be discussing with both the Borough and County Councils what can be put in place between the two authorities to ensure all cycle paths are safe and accessible.
"I am keen to get as many people cycling for leisure and for commuting to school or work and will be helping the Chesterfield Cycle Campaign to get the message out there for people to get on their bikes”
A Derbyshire County Council spokesman said: “We are responsible for the maintenance of this cycle path, so are grateful for the advice that this route is overgrown. Now this has been brought to our attention we will ask our highways team to carry out an inspection. We have limited resources to keep cycle paths clear so groups such as Chesterfield Cycle Campaign also help on our behalf where they can. We will liaise with them to see if they are able to help in this case. Overgrown paths and cycle routes can be reported at derbyshire.gov.uk/doitnow
Councillor Jill Mannion-Brunt, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Chesterfield Borough Council has now trimmed the vegetation along the cycle path, and we are engaging with Derbyshire County Council regarding the future maintenance of the area.
“Our normal practice is that we do not start to maintain hedges and other areas of vegetation until after the bird nesting period which is February to August based on Natural England definition. We also ordinarily leave some areas for natural growth to create nesting habitats for many species.”