On Friday after an alert from Keeper of the Peak, a few photos started emerging of some work that was being done on the far end of Rushup Edge/Chapel Gate. Sadly it appeared to be the standard Derbyshire County Council job of removing any character from the Byway for no apparent reason!
Peak District MTB’s Paul Richardson was up there with his camera like a shot, showing that rumours were indeed true. So Peak District MTB got mobilised and started to spread the word and make a plan.
As we are now pretty well drilled in the format of emailing and phoning DCC’s Right of Way Team the movement gained traction pretty quickly, including the excellent Picnic Protest organised by Esther Hobson, not to mention a rider survey and a lot of cage rattling by her too.
So where does that leave us right now?
This morning Peak Chief Jim Dixon tweeted that “the Peak Park have asked Derbyshire CC to pause on repairs to Chapel Gate. We’re visiting this week to agree improved works” this sounds a little promising at the very least.
It was also followed up pretty quickly by Peak Park’s Mike Rhodes, who (very helpfully by email) gave us the following statement….
We understand the concerns that mountain-bikers have about the recent works carried out by DCC to maintain the bridleways and byways in the National Park and we also understand that DCC has a duty to carry out maintenance to the route network.
As you suggest, the National Park Authority clearly has a role here in relation to its management of recreation in the Park, and it is also keen to ensure that repairs and maintenance are carried out in a way which recognises the sensitivities of the site, in accord with National Park conservation purposes.
We will therefore take every opportunity to engage with DCC on its plans for work on these tracks, and to ensure that their works take our values into account. We will also seek to ensure that all relevant interests and user groups are kept informed and understand actions on these sites. We have had some success in relation to Cut Gate, the Roych and more recently on Long Causeway and are keen to maintain this involvement.
Following the unexpected commencement of works at Rushup Edge, we have contacted DCC and asked them to arrange an urgent site visit to look in detail at what work they are planning there before work progresses any further, to ensure that they understand our requirements as outlined above.
Our CEO, Jim Dixon has written to Mike Ashworth, Head of DCC Environmental Services stressing the need for consultation on repairs of this nature. We await developments…
So it would seem that the Peak Park were a little surprised to hear that the work was being done! This would seem to be a bit in contrast with the statement that Derbyshire CC put out here. Which seems to bludgeon its way to a rather weakly informed conclusion
Singletrack Magazine have also being doing a great deal of probing too and have had some updates themselves too which you can read here
We are going to keep on pushing for developments and will be supporting Peak District MTB with al their work too.
Keep checking back here or at Peak District MTB for more info, we will stick it up when we get it. But for now if you want to keep the pressure up you can contact the relevant people directly here….
1) Call and ask for Peter White on 01629 533190 and express your concern as a user (walker, rider, mtb whatever) and ask for an urgent pause to discuss the work.
2) Call and simply say you wish to report a problem with Highways (That’ll put you through to him.
3) Email him: ETEPROW@derbyshire.gov.uk and request a meeting and put your concerns in writing.
4) Don’t call Rob Greatorex today, he’s on annual leave he says.
5) Come on a ride on Monday to show your support: see separate post above.
6) Tweet: @derbyshirecc @PeakDistrictMTB @Peakchief @Sheffieldstar
7) Post on DerbyshireCC, PeakDistrictMTB facebook page.
The above may achieve a pause in the work.
For a slightly more sustainable push:
1) Write to Peter J White Planning and Environment Shand House Dale Road South Matlock Derbyshire DE4 3RY and request a written reply.
2) I am going to book an appointment with Andrew Bingham High Peak MP. I’m not a constituent though: Would anyone like to come with me who lives there? 8th November (courtesy of Esther Hobson).