Chesterfield road closed 'without asking residents'
Chesterfield’s MP is concerned residents were not consulted about the closure of a road to traffic to create a cycle path.
Toby Perkins initially welcomed the closure of Crow Lane to create a green and sustainable commute between the town centre and Chesterfield Royal Hospital amid the coronavirus pandemic.
But the Labour MP says he was not aware the measure would be long term and has criticised Derbyhshire County Council for not consulting widely about the plans.
The council’s cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure, Councillor Simon Spencer said he was ‘perplexed’ by the MP’s ‘change of view’.
Mr Perkins said: “During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic there is a need to provide emergency measures to help people get to work as safely as possible.
“With people urged not to use public transport and the longstanding Royal Hospital parking problems, a short term closure of Crow Lane made sense. I also want us to do what we can to make Chesterfield cycle friendly.
“However, no long term decisions about issues as crucial as a road closure should take place without a full consultation, and so I am disappointed that the county council seem to have unilaterally made the decision to close the road for 18 months, without any public consultation and without even consulting me or the local councillors.
“I have now written to Derbyshire County Council to ask for clarity on what the long-term plans are, to challenge a closure of Crow Lane beyond June 22, and clarify how the impact of the temporary road closure is being assessed.”
Coun Mick Bagshaw, Chesterfield borough councillor for Hollingwood, has submitted a Freedom of Information request to the county council asking for committee reports on such an ‘undemocratic decision’.
Councillor Spencer said: “Last week Toby had his photo taken at Crow Hill, and he said he welcomed this step to improve cycling. This week he is against it.
“We have been asked by the Government to look at a range of measures to help get more people cycling and walking - closing Crow Hill is an important part of helping all those who work at and visit the Royal to either walk or cycle to get there.”