"Missed opportunity" - Chesterfield's safe school cycle path scrapped in favour of 'poorer route' along Chatsworth Road

Chesterfield’s MP says he is ‘very disappointed’ after Derbyshire County Council pulled out of long-standing plans to create a safe school cycling route.

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 8:43 pm

Toby Perkins insists County Hall has chosen a ‘poorer route’ for its proposed east to west cycle path by taking it along Chatsworth Road – instead of a cross-country path from Somersall to Holymoorside which has been in the pipeline for many years.

The council says it has to ‘concentrate money’ on projects it can quickly bring to fruition.

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The proposal that would have provided safer cycling routes between Holymoorside and Chesterfield and hopefully convince many children to cycle to and from school.

Mr Perkins said: “Whilst I of course welcome any improvements in cycle infrastructure, which is needed to help reduce the congestion on our roads and encourage more people to take up the joy of cycling, I am very disappointed that the council is not proceeding with the Hipper Trail cycling route.

"This was a very exciting proposal that would provide safer cycling routes between Holymoorside and Chesterfield and hopefully convince many children at Walton Holymoorside Primary School, Brookfield School and St Mary’s School to cycle to and from school.

“Chatsworth Road will create a much poorer route and the council appear to be ignoring the views of local people.”

The cross-country route would have connected Somersall Lane with Greendale Avenue.

Labour MP Mr Perkins said he would be writing to Coun Barry Lewis, Conservative leader of the county council, and requesting ‘full details’ of the negotiations with landowners.

Campaigners have described the move as a ‘missed opportunity’ to create a safe cycling route for children – and provide a solution for school run issues.

A letter from the land owners to the county council, seen by the Derbyshire Times, said they had ‘never at any stage opposed the Greenway or cycle way’.

A spokesperson for Derbyshire County Council said: “Although we have been able to secure the necessary funding for this project and have made significant progress we have unfortunately been unable to reach an agreement with all concerned and have therefore decided to not proceed with this section of the route.

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins says he is 'very disappointed' by Derbyshire County Council's decision.

“We know that many local people will be disappointed, as are we, but we must concentrate our money and time on projects that we can complete in a reasonable timeframe.”

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