Following our short but intense campaign calling for a halt to Derbyshire County Council’s surfacing work on Pin Dale and properly qualified assessment of the materials used, Derbyshire County Council (DCC) have responded as follows:
“Before work started we consulted and agreed with the Peak Park, Natural England and Historic England that a specific locally-sourced limestone would be used on the site.
However, due to site conditions it was considered, with good intentions, that a recycled material would be better to form a good foundation, with a further layer of the locally-sourced limestone on top to complete the job.
Following the concerns raised about the recycled material not being appropriate we are now looking at removing it and replacing it fully with locally sourced limestone, as was the original intention.
We have halted work on site while we liaise with stakeholders about our proposal to remove the recycled material and will re-start work as soon as this plan has been agreed.”
We’d like to thank DCC for listening to our concerns and responding so promptly. Whilst we are glad to hear they are now looking at removing the material and liaising with stakeholders, we cautiously await further news on the outcome of their proposals. We would welcome the opportunity to work closely with them on future plans for such sites and invite them to come and talk to us. We also request that they share their intentions for all significant works on rural bridleways, BOATs, etc, going forward.
Given what has transpired, and not for the first time with DCC, we hope Peak District National Park Authority, Natural England, Historic England and Local Access Forum will redouble their efforts in scrutinising the plans of Derbyshire County Council, and others. And where necessary, holding them to account and intervening quickly where standards for protecting these unique and precious areas are not being upheld.
We still have grave concerns about what the work on Cave Dale will actually look like, given the limited detail that has been available through the LAF. The bridleway is very highly valued by mountain bikers, and other users, in its current unique, weathered and challenging state. So we caution against anything more than a (genuinely) minimalist light-touch approach.
Massive thanks to our members who are our eyes and ears on the ground and let us know about this, to those who took the time to express their concerns directly to DCC and many other organisations who’ve helped this gain the attention it needed and with the urgency it needed.
We hope it’s not too early to celebrate, but it seems those pesky hooligan mountain bikers have only gone and done it again – protecting the countryside they love.
Cometh the hour, cometh the mountain bikers? (Ok we’ll stop now…)