Row over resurfacing 'Duke of Norfolk's cycle path' through Smithywood Business Park in Sheffield

An ‘unridable’ bike path on land controlled by the Duke of Norfolk has been surfaced after pressure from campaigners - but a row has broken out over whether it is finished.

Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 11:48 am

Part of the route through Smithywood Business Park in Chapeltown has been covered with sand and stones, with drainage channels cut either side.

But regular users say it is only part of the section that needs tackling - and it all should be asphalt.

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A ‘grotty slope’ remained with a ‘swimming pool’ at the bottom.

Cyclist and campaigner Dennis Patton said a ‘grotty slope’ remained, with a ‘swimming pool’ at the bottom.

And he contrasted it with the rest of the Blackburn Valley Cycleway, which is four miles long and links Meadowhall with Chapeltown.

He said: “I dont know if this surface finish will last. The recent rain has already caused erosion. If we get a lot of persistent rain, all of the good progress will just wash away.

“From Meadowhall to the bottom of the slope it is tarmac. It is supposed to be a ‘strategic green route’ for all. So it should meet the required standards."

But regular users say it is only part of the section that needs surfacing - and it all should be asphalt.

Edward William Fitzalan-Howard, is the 18th Duke of Norfolk, and lives in Arundel Castle in West Sussex. He is director of a company that co-owns Smithywood with St Paul’s Developments.

Estate agents Fowler Sandford is based in the Duke of Norfolk’s office on St James’ Street in Sheffield city centre.

Jeremy Robinson of Fowler Sandford said the path had been laid ‘to a recognised specification suitable for its intended use’.

Part of the route through Smithywood Business Park in Chapeltown has been surfaced with sand and stones and rolled, with drainage channels cut either side.

He added: “The use of a rolled/compacted natural material and a water-permeable surface is sympathetic to the immediate environment. It is not intended to lay a bitumen-coated roadstone surface.”

Planning obligations require ‘a new section of cycle lane with every new phase of the development’, according to Coun Douglas Johnson, executive member for climate change, environment and transport.

The state of the cycle path came to light in December when Mr Patton said it was ‘unridable’ due to mud, ruts and puddles.

At the time, Jeremy Robinson said it had been damaged by the builders of a warehouse on the business park and illegal off-road motorbikes and 4x4 vehicles and it had been ‘repaired and reinstated several times’.

He also pledged to have it repaired before the end of March this year.

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