Ride Sheffield, Peak District Mountain Biking, Friends of the Peak District (FoPD), Keeper of the Peak and the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) met with Derbyshire County Council (DCC) today, Dec 2. That in itself should be cause for celebration and is primarily the result of mountain bikers making their feelings known via both old media and new.
DCC would not have agreed to this meeting if social media had not been used so effectively by the mountain biking community, and that’s a fact. They’ve had their fingers burnt and it’s now up to all of us to turn conflict into something constructive.
In effect, simply having a meeting with DCC is a big step forward. Did the meeting achieve everything we wanted? No, and we would have been naïve to assume that it would. However, DCC’s admission that they failed to consult effectively on this occasion with the Local Access Forum, the Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) and user groups is a step in the right direction. Furthermore, they have indicated they will endeavour to improve lines of communication in the future.
The user groups involved have undertaken to do all they can to find efficient ways of facilitating consultation but we have to be confident that consultation is more than simply a listening exercise and that it will bear fruit. In particular, we have to be able to reassure our members that future work will fit in with the Peak District landscape, is minimal, uses the right materials and retains the challenge that many users seek.
So, the million dollar question. What is to become of Rushup Edge? The plans that we have seen indicate that much of the bed-rock will remain exposed but, and it’s a big but, all the steps will be covered. This is not what the PDNPA asked for and falls short of what most mountain bikers would like to see. Is it a compromise worth making? What do you think? We will be starting a thread on the Ride Sheffield Facebook page where you can leave comments or email us on email@example.com .