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PRESS RELEASE issued 12.11.2021

November 15, 2021 10:34 AM

Cllr Paul Niblock


A meeting organised by Chesterfield Civic Society was packed to full capacity last night with over 250 residents attending. Local County Cllr Paul Niblock was among those addressing the meeting. Paul was elected in May this year when the supposed County Council consultation was already underway. He told the meeting that whilst knocking on doors on Chatsworth Road and the adjoining side streets he found barely a single resident who knew anything about the proposals.

Paul adds "The consultation process for the Chatsworth Road section (of the cycle path) has been shown to have been woefully inadequate and yet the Council leaders still refuse to acknowledge this or take any responsibility. My real concern is that some residents still do not know what is being proposed literally on their doorsteps."

"The proposed two-way cycle track along Chatsworth Road would require removing the current median and pedestrian refuges. This means any right turners would hold up traffic making an already busy road even more congested leading to increased pollution from exhaust fumes."

"The mood of last night's meeting was clear. Many of those affected had been unaware of the scheme and now wanted their say before it is implemented. The Council must conduct a second consultation but a proper one this time."

West Ward Borough Councillor Howard Borrell, added "Over 250 people felt moved to turn out on a miserable night to voice their frustration at how the County Council has tried to bully through their ill-thought-through proposal. A huge majority of those present felt the consultation had been hugely flawed and a similar number supported safe cycling but favoured looking at ways to progress an alternative route using the existing footpath from Somersall Lane across the fields to Holymoorside. It really is time for DCC to stop treating Chesterfield residents with contempt and start listening to their views."

West Ward Cllr Shirley Niblock added " The consultation opened on the 8th March 2021 and closed on the 25th March 2021 so DCC only gave 3 weeks for the local residents to send in their views. The fact that people didn't received the letters telling them of the scheme showed that DCC had no interest in actually hearing from the people affected hence the large turnout last night of people who wanted their voices to be heard."

A show of hands at the meeting revealed local residents are overwhelmingly in favour of a drastic rethink of the Chatsworth Road proposals. One startling new piece of evidence was the in-person testimony of 3 landowners who confirmed that the County Council had negotiated with them for 21 years to provide an off-road cycle link from Holymoorside to Walton. The detailed plans were ready in every aspect except that Council refused to accept legal liability for any cyclists who might have an accident whilst using the off-road route.

The meeting voted almost unanimously in favour of the off-road link which would then join up with the already off-road Hipper cycle trail.