Cycle network in plan to make Sheffield UK’s Outdoor City

A mountain biker at Parkwood Springs. Picture: Duncan Philpott
A mountain biker at Parkwood Springs. Picture: Duncan Philpott
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A continuous cycle network forms part of new plans to rebrand Sheffield as the UK’s first Outdoor City.

Draft proposals which go out to consultation on Monday say the network would be built to an ‘improved standard’ with the aim of getting 10 per cent of all journeys in the city to be made by bike.

There are also plans for 24 new walking and running routes. Talks with England Athletics to secure cash for an initial 13 are at an ‘advanced stage.’

The plan was revealed as part of the city’s European Outdoor Summit, an international conference, and second international economic commission.

Sheffield cyclist and race organiser Marc Etches, a commissioner, said: “The Sky Ride bike event in Sheffield this year had 6,000 people taking part – from toddlers to people in their 80s. There are cycle paths in Sheffield but they might be covered with glass. This needs to be something we do on an all or nothing basis.”

The aim of the Outdoor City is to promote Sheffield’s outdoor assets to draw in people to work, live and visit.

Andrew Denton, chief executive of The Outdoor Industries Association, said: “We’ve had people at the conference from Boulder in Colorado to Beijing and all across northern Europe – all of them have been really impressed by what is happening here. Sheffield is absolutely leading the way.”

Coun Leigh Bramall, deputy leader of Sheffield Council, said the cycle network would build on existing routes like one from Stocksbridge to the city centre and outdoor firms were interested in relocating to the city. He said: “Two companies came to me yesterday – that’s a long way from saying they are coming here but they do want a conversation. If we can crack this, us being known as a fantastic outdoor city and as a high tech city, it gives the city its soul back. It will also bring investment, jobs and opportunities so we can all benefit and become a more prosperous, successful city.”

However, residents have asked how the council can align the Outdoor City with its controversial tree felling.

Coun Bramall said: “I understand completely how people feel and it is a big issue for them. We have two million trees in Sheffield, even if every single highway tree was replaced that would be 18,000 and to date 2,000 trees have been replaced – that’s 0.1 per cent of Sheffield’s entire tree cover. I understand how people feel for their road, neighbourhood or street but it is not the same as the Outdoor City. We have planted over 50,000 trees in the last few years and we replace those felled. It is an important issue but not the same – the Outdoor City is a bigger picture as it is about the Peak District, 800 green spaces in the city and creating new facilities.”