Derbyshire County Council issues update on ambitious plans for cycle route across Chesterfield
Chesterfield civic leaders have stepped up their opposition to the route of a proposed £1.6m walking and cycling path linking the east and west of the town.
Derbyshire County Council says the project will improve walking and cycling access to workplaces, schools, Chesterfield College, the railway station and Chesterfield Royal Hospital.
County Hall announced its plans in March and held a three-week consultation asking for the public’s views.
The authority says officers ‘are working on a report which will set out the results of the consultation and next steps’ and hopes to provide further information this month.
Initial plans proposed a route from the A619 junction with Holymoor Road, along Chatsworth Road and the existing Hipper Valley Trail, through Queen’s Park, and to the hospital by using Crow Lane and Wetlands Lane.
Although many residents welcomed the scheme, it has faced criticism from Chesterfield Civic Society, which described the Chatsworth Road section of the project as a ‘cycle super highway’.
Society chairman Philip Riden has written to the county council’s new cabinet member for highways assets and transport, Councillor Kewal Singh Athwal, to express the ‘strong opposition’ to elements of the scheme.
He said the Chatsworth Rad section ‘will seriously disfigure the appearance of an attractive suburban road and cause a great deal of inconvenience’.
"The route also passes the front entrance of a large secondary school, a large block of sheltered housing, and a busy medical practice,” Mr Riden added.
"The proposed rebuilding of the junction with Storrs Road, next to the medical centre, would in the opinion of many local people make this junction even more hazardous than it is at present, because of the movement of pedestrians (many of them elderly or infirm) between the medical centre and the car-park and pharmacy used in connection with it.
"The eastern extension would involve the permanent closure to vehicular traffic of Crow Lane, which is at present closed temporarily under the Covid emergency provisions.
"In normal times Crow Lane, which is narrow and in places steeply graded, offers an alternative route between the Royal Hospital and the town centre, and from Brimington and Calow into Chesterfield.”
However, Alastair Meikle, secretary of the Chesterfield Cycle Campaign, said the proposed route, including Chatsworth Road, remained a ‘step change for cycle infrastructure in Chesterfield’.