Supporters of the Chesterfield East West walking and cycling path hope it will encourage people to ditch their cars on shorter journeys and recently described it as a step towards a ‘more sustainable and healthier future’ for the town.
However, it’s detractors say it will create a ‘cycle superhighway’ along the north side of Chatsworth Road, between Holymoor Road and Storrs Road, and cause further chaos for those who live there.
The path will take cyclists and pedestrians from the A619 junction with Holymoor Road, along Chatsworth Road and the existing Hipper Valley Trail, through Queen’s Park, past the train station and to the hospital and beyond by using Crow Lane and Wetlands Lane.
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Derbyshire County is currently consulting the public on three specific parts of the route - including plans to make a longer section of Chatsworth Road 30mph and to create a dedicated cycle lane so that action can be taken to stop cars using it or parking on it.
In a letter to the authority as part of the consultation, Chesterfield Civic Society has shown support for the 30mph speed limit extension but has reiterated its ‘absolute and unqualified opposition’ to the dedicated two-way cycle way.
It read: “The removal of a strip of the carriageway to create the cycle track will make Chatsworth Road dangerously narrow for the volume of traffic, both private cars and goods vehicles, which it currently carries.
“The danger will be aggravated by the removal of a reserved area between the carriageways which is at present used by vehicles turning right off Chatsworth Road into side roads or private driveways, or exiting from them.
“The junction at the Storrs Road end of the route is already complex and difficult for pedestrians to negotiate. It will be made considerably more complex and dangerous if cycles are allowed to enter and exit from Linden Avenue using the light-controlled scheme shown on the plans for the road.
"The danger will be increased since much of the pedestrian traffic at this junction is made up of patients going to and from the medical centre adjoining the junction, and from there to the pharmacy on the opposite side of Chatsworth Road.”
The Civic Society also believes the two-way cycle track will be a ‘hazard to pedestrians and to vehicles entering and leaving private driveways on Chatsworth Road’.
“The proposed cycle track will run in front of the main entrance to a large secondary school, a 45-unit sheltered housing complex, and the medical centre,” it continued. “These are all additional hazards which make the route wholly unsuitable.”
Sue Maloney, development manager of the Stephenson Court retirement complex, based along the proposed route on Chatsworth Road, also marked her opposition on behalf of residents.
She said: “A great number of emergency service vehicles go past on blue lights and only just manage to get though the busy traffic because there is enough space for other vehicles to move to allow them through.
“Where will these vehicles go or how will the emergency vehicles get through? Will they be using the cycle track or the pavements at the risk of putting cyclist or schoolchildren in
“We have a stream of huge HGV’s going past daily they are intimidating to motorist let alone cyclist. On occasions there are wide vehicles requiring a police escort how will this happen?
“Traffic queues will be longer due to the time needed for a filter light to allow cyclist to cross over to go down Linden Avenue. Causing further delays and fumes. These fumes caused by slower and congested traffic queues will adversely affect cyclist, householders and pedestrians.
"Traffic going up towards Chatsworth wanting to turn right will have to contend with crossing two lanes, one of which will have cyclist traveling in both directions and hidden by larger vehicles in the middle.
“Buses going into Chesterfield will have to cross a two-way cycle lane to access the bus stop.”
She continued: “Has the fact been taken into consideration that this chaos will bring house prices down. I personally will now not be buying a house in Brampton.
“I am furious that all our points raised at Brookfield School which Toby Perkins MP attended have not been taken into account nor any of our objections been answered. If I, a person with no training can see how dangerous it is to so many people then why can’t you see that this scheme will be putting people at risks?
“When this does not work who will be picking up the costs to return it to its original state as so many other authorities have been forced to do?”
Chesterfield Cycle Campaign recently is, however, in favour of a reduction in the speed limit along a wider stretch of Chatsworth Road and a protected cycling path.
Group secretary Alastair Meikle recently told the Derbyshire Times how there is ‘no safe cycle provision’ along the road and said the new route would give both students and residents a ‘safe way to access Somersall, Walton and the town centre without having to mix with main road traffic’.
The Derbyshire County Council consultation into the three specific parts of the route is open until August 5. dMore information on the consultation is on the council’s website.
People can either have their say online at derbyshire.gov.uk/walkcycleroute, by emailing [email protected] or by writing to the council (FAO James Powell, Derbyshire County Council, County Hall, Matlock, Derbyshire DE4 3AG).
Anyone objecting to any of these three proposals is required under The Local Authorities' Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996 to give reasons for their objection. It is also helpful if alternatives for officers to consider are suggested.