News - 12 August 2013

D2N2 Chief Executive’s delight as cycling in Peak District gets £7.5m funding boost

Tourism in the D2N2 area has been given a multi-million pound boost now a Derbyshire County Council-led project to enhance traffic-free cycle trails into the Peak District has been given the green light.

Pedal Peak is designed to put an estimated 3.5million people within reach of the Peak District National Park cycle network – either directly by bike in less than an hour or following a short train ride.

And plans moved a step closer today when the Department for Transport announced it would stump up £5M for the project.

It means people living in Greater Manchester, Sheffield, Stoke-on-Trent, Derby, Nottingham could soon have better cycle access into the Peak District National Park for a day out as well as people living in Derbyshire.

Four new trails are proposed as part of the project which also involves the Peak District National Park Authority, Staffordshire County Council, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council and Sheffield City Council. They are:

  • White Peak Loop – 11 miles
  • Little Don Link –  12 miles
  • Staffordshire Moorlands Link – 14 miles
  • Little John Route and Hope Valley Link – 3 miles

The plans have been welcomed by D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership Chief Executive David Ralph. He said: “This is great news for the area and we would welcome any funding boost for new infrastructure to improve our existing cycle routes and to create new ones. 

“This will help to provide better connectivity to the Peak District to so many cyclists in the surrounding areas to enable them to enjoy and explore a beautiful part of the country.”

Councillor Joan Dixon,  Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs, Economy and Transport, said: “This is fantastic news for Derbyshire.

“Boosting our local economy is at the top of our agenda so anything we can do to improve tourism and open up our county’s beautiful countryside to attract new visitors is most welcome.”

“We will consult fully with local people on each of the routes and we will need to gain planning permission before any work can start.”

Tony Favell, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: “This is wonderful and exciting news for the Peak District. It is great for family cycling and for walkers too.  It gives road cyclists alternative routes and eases traffic congestion. It will boost healthy living for people in the big cities of Sheffield, Derby, Nottingham and Stoke and at the same time benefit national park residents and rural businesses.

“There is a huge amount of work involved in opening up these four cycle-ways and there will be public consultation on the precise routes to be taken, but investing in traffic-free trails is a win, win situation for everyone and the environment.”

White Peak Loop  – would link the High Peak Trail and Monsal Trail with two new sections – one between Matlock and Bakewell and another between Buxton and Hurdlow. Visitors from Nottingham and Derby would be able to reach the loop by taking the train to Matlock. And its link to Buxton train station would mean it’s in easy reach of people living in the north of the county and Manchester.

Little Don Link – would run from Beeley Wood in Sheffield to Winscar Reservoir near Penistone, South Yorkshire, linking with the Trans Pennine Trail through Derbyshire and the Peak District National Park. The route would cross and run parallel to part of the route for the 2014 Tour de France and will help provide a permanent legacy from the event. Material from recycled tyres would be used to build the new cycle path which would follow the route of a disused railway line skirting Langsett and Underbank reservoirs.

Staffordshire Moorlands Link – a new trail would be built between The Roaches gritstone outcrop in the Peak District National Park and Stockton Brook, linking with an existing route into Stoke-on-Trent. The section between Stockton Brook and Cheddleton would follow the Caldon Brook towpath. Another section would be built between Cheddleton and Waterhouses, linking with the existing Manifold Trail into the National Park. The Moorlands Connect demand-responsive bus service operates in this area providing access to and from Stoke and Staffordshire Moorlands.

Little John Route and Hope Valley Link – Hope Valley Link would provide an off-road route between Bamford and Hathersage. It would bridge the gap between existing cycle routes into Sheffield and Manchester, connecting to the Little John Route between the two cities.

This is the second phase of the Pedal Peak project. Phase one to extend and enhance the Monsal Trail was carried out last year by the Peak District National Park Authority. The project involved opening up disused railway tunnels along the Midland Railway Line which closed in 1968.

Planning applications for the four routes are expected to be submitted over the next year and the routes are expected to be completed by 2016.

The £5m funding from the Department for Transport came was part of a Government announcement today to promote cycling in cities and national parks across England.

A total of £77 million will be divided between Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford and Norwich, while the New Forest, Peak District, South Downs and Dartmoor will each share a slice of £17 million funding for national parks. With local contributions, the total new funding for cycling is £148 million between now and 2015.

The announcement includes a commitment from the government to cut red tape that can stifle cycle-friendly road design and to encourage changes to the way roads are built or altered. Councils will be expected to up their game to deliver infrastructure that takes cycling into account from the design stage. 

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Following our success in the Olympics, the Paralympics and the Tour de France, British cycling is riding high – now we want to see cycling soar. Our athletes have shown they are among the best in the world and we want to build on that, taking our cycling success beyond the arena and onto the roads, starting a cycling revolution which will remove the barriers for a new generation of cyclists.” 

Also, a feasibility study into a cycle path broadly following the HS2 route will look into how existing footpaths or cycle tracks could be joined up or upgraded to create a single route between London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. This could give benefits to people living along the HS2 route, which will pass through the East Midlands, as well as encouraging tourism.

The study and its conclusions would be separate from ongoing work on HS2. This will give plans for cycle paths the flexibility to work to their own timetable. It will not be part of the HS2 Bill processes with no land-take or cost impacts.

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