Controversial Chesterfield cycle route debated in Parliament
Chesterfield’s controversial new east-to-west cycle route has been discussed in Parliament.
Town Labour MP Toby Perkins secured the debate in Westminster Hall after raising fresh concern about the consultation held into the hotly contested route.
Derbyshire County Council’s cycle and pedestrian route, which includes Chatsworth Road and Crow Lane, was rubber-stamped by County Hall last month but continues to divide opinion.
Mr Perkins told the debate alternative views and routes had been ‘wilfully ignored’ by County Hall and a plan which was ‘right for Chesterfield’ is needed.
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He said: “A consultation that fails to hear the views of the people most affected should not be considered legitimate.
"Residents living on the roads off of Chatsworth Road, where the proposed route will be, and many of the people in the Brimington Common area who are being affected by the ongoing closure of Crow Lane, are reporting to me that they have had no contact from the council and feel these proposals are being forced through whilst excluding residents affected.
“I am calling on Derbyshire County Council to pause their plans and to reengage with the residents in the affected areas so that there can be clarity about whether these proposals have public support and whether they are the best way to deliver the improvements to our cycling infrastructure that is needed.”
Transport minister Andrew Stephenson said he was happy to discuss the route with Mr Perkins further but told the debate ‘bold and ambitious’ policies were needed to promote active travel and improve cycling infrastructure.
He said all cycling lane plans would have ‘supporters and detractors’ and no active travel scheme could ever be ‘universally popular’.
A spokesperson for Derbyshire County Council said: “We believe that the consultation that we carried out was appropriate.
"During a three week period we did all we could to promote the consultation, we dropped information through the letterboxes of 4,000 homes on or close to the route, used our social media accounts and the local media to bring it to as many people’s attention as possible.
“The response we received was that 71 per cent were supportive of the route," she added.
Mr Perkins will address a public meeting about the route at Brookfield Community School Hall on Thursday, November 11 from 7.30pm.