Proposed work on Cave Dale has been halted until further plans and consultation are done, thanks to Peak District MTB and our followers.
Following action taken on Pin Dale by Derbyshire County Council (DCC) and following a week of emails, late on Friday DCC agreed to pause activity. On Friday morning we pushed for more clarity on their plans for Cave Dale, launching a Change.org petition to gather further confirmation of our followers’ concerns. The petition now sits at over 800 supporters.
On Friday afternoon, DCC said:
“As I have mentioned in various emails I have paused our works to both Pin Dale and Cave Dale. We have removed the unapproved recycled material from Pin Dale and are in the process of firming up our proposals and seeking definitive approvals for them such that there is no ambiguity.
The same can be said for Cave Dale, I have asked that we prepare much more detailed plans for our proposals so they can be reviewed and taken through the approvals process. So at this point in time I cannot give you a date for that but these will be available in good time before any maintenance works are undertaken there.
I will take the time to look at the concerns on the link provided and take these into account along with the views of other user groups. Please be assured that it is not our intention to spoil the character of Cave Dale our works will be as sympathetic and minimalist as possible whilst being mindful of our role as Highway Authority to ensure that these routes are fit for purpose and safe to use for the majority of users that are entitled to use them.
I hope this goes someway towards allaying your immediate concerns, and that at this point in time no works will take place in Cave Dale without further communications. This is likely to be months away rather than weeks.”
Senior management, Highways Department, Derbyshire County Council to Peak District MTB, 28/1/2022
Separately, Singletrack World, to whom we’re very grateful for helping to publicise our campaign, reported on our petition that morning and also later received a similar statement from DCC:
“We have paused work in Cave Dale and all other similar work in the Peak Park, so we can prepare much more detailed plans for our proposals. The plans were previously discussed and approved by the Local Access Forum, but we will provide the group with more information so their views can be sought again.
We will look carefully at the concerns raised by Peak District MTB, and take these into account along with the views of user groups.
It is not our intention to spoil the character of Cave Dale, or any other part of the Peak District, our works will be as sympathetic and minimalist as possible whilst being mindful of our role to ensure that these routes are fit for purpose and safe to use for walkers, cyclists and those on horseback.
We will not be using the same recycled material that was put down originally in Pin Dale in any other rural location, this was done with all good intentions, but was never the plan for that area. This material is in the process of being removed.”
Derbyshire County Council to Singletrack World, 28/1/2022
From these two new statements, we summarise the known points:
- Planned work has been halted on Cave Dale and all other similar work in the Peak District National Park.
- Much more detailed plans will be submitted to the Peak District Local Access Forum (LAF).
- This will be done well in advance of work on the ground beginning. With the timescale likely being months.
There still remains then the following uncertain points, which have not been ruled out, but have also not been explicitly stated at this time:
- Whether the new much more detailed plans will be made publicly available by DCC (beyond their submission to the LAF)?
- Whether there will be additional consultation with outdoor users (beyond consulting the LAF, as previously) and what weight these may carry?
Peak District MTB welcomes this improvement in communications and hopes to engage in further positive dialogue with Derbyshire County Council going forward, with a view to building trust for the future. We welcome their willingness to work with us and other groups more openly.
So we rest assured that Cave Dale is safe for now and we tentatively await further communication from DCC in their own time. Whilst it looks like our petition has succeeded in much of its aim already, we hope it will continue to grow over the coming weeks. To reinforced the level of concern and interest in reaching broad based consensus on the extent and nature of these works and similar projects of the future.
If you haven’t already, please consider signing the petition, Cave Dale: what are the plans? (Change.org).
Background reading, the story so far:
23 November 2021 – Planned imminent maintenance works by DCC (Winter 2021/2022)
17 January 2022 – Alarming work on Pin Dale by Derbyshire County Council
19 January 2022 – Pin Dale : Derbyshire County Council responds, halts work
27 January 2022 – Pin Dale, DCC and the elusive plans for Cave Dale?
Also see: Rushup is open for 2020!