It is a reflection of how seriously Derbyshire County Council (DCC) now take the objections to their planned maintenance on Rushup Edge/Chapelgate that they agreed to hold a site meeting with Ride Sheffield, Peak District MTB and the Friends of the Peak District/CPRE (FoPD). Unfortunately, that’s the end of the good news.
At the previous meeting at County Hall in Matlock, we had been shown a scheme of work which seemed to indicate that DCC had begun to listen to objections from mountain bikers the BMC and FoPD.
Seeing the situation on the ground and hearing first-hand from DCC Rights of Way officer Peter White what was planned was an altogether different kettle of fish however. It soon became apparent that only token flat areas of bedrock would remain and that all the steps would be flattened. Think Stanage Causeway and you’ll get the idea.
The reasons for this level of maintenance are many and various. The threat of a Section 56 order to maintain a right of way has until now been the major cause of concern to DCC but to that was added both the danger of liability should someone injure themselves and the need to create a path that is suitable for everyone including the disabled.
The assembled campaigners were left with the distinct impression that the consultation on which DCC has embarked will result in only minor alterations to their original plans. While we accept that DCC are under the cosh both in terms of financial restrictions and outdated rights of way legislation, the fact remains that the views of the second biggest user group in the Peak District is being all but ignored.