“Then put your little hand in mine…..”
Bill Murray could be forgiven for repeatedly smashing the alarm clock radio to pieces back in 1993*, as he found himself stuck in a loop waiting for some key thing to change in his day and for life to snap back to normal. And you could probably forgive the folks at Peak District MTB for the same when the plans for ‘maintenance’ to a number of bridleways in the park were sent over earlier this month.
Derbyshire County Council has earmarked a number of local trails for work – starting imminently. The trails on the list include some of the favourites in the mountain biking world; Cavedale is one prominent example.
And there are some things in there which make for quite alarming reading. “3m wide” path. The dreaded “aggregate”. “Kerbstones”. It’s been very short notice for people to respond to the plans and initial reaction on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere has been one of rolled eyes, resigned sighs and shaking heads. Are DCC just doing the same old same old?
But are these something different? Rushup Edge was a byway. Cavedale is a bridleway. Different rules apply. Whether DCC will think that way is unknown. Whether they will apply a dollop of common sense; likewise.
Also, Rushup brought one important change; a bloodied nose for ignoring a community and a revision to plans.
A lot has changed since Rushup-gate. Stronger relationships exist. Our influence is greater. But is it enough? These plans are close to the limits I feel. But details are very scant on what the actual plans and designs are. Peak District MTB are pushing to see them – they must exist because how can a contractor start work without them?
Peak District MTB do a brilliant job putting forward the MTB viewpoint in the Local Access Forum – the cross-user group which advises DCC on access. They have done the same here in site visits and countless emails. Join them, follow their social media. Share your thoughts with them.
So take a look at what we can see so far. Do we need to muster energy for another battle? Maybe Punxsutawny Phil can predict a brighter outlook this time around.
*if you haven’t seen Groundhog Day, it’s worth a watch. Available on all good streaming services or ITV4 at 11.00pm every Thursday
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