Anger at ‘unnecessary’ resurfacing of footpath

Wigley Lane, Hassop, pictured before resurfacing
Wigley Lane, Hassop, pictured before resurfacing
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Mountain biking enthusiasts are angry over a decision to spend £60,000 covering a limestone footpath in the Peak District with road chippings – after just a single complaint about the surface.

Work has taken place on Wigley Lane, near Hassop, by Derbyshire County Council.

Wigley Lane, Hassop - after the resurfacing work

Wigley Lane, Hassop - after the resurfacing work

But mountain bike enthusiast John Coefield, aged 33, from Crookes, said the new surface is unnatural – and starting to wear away.

Mr Coefield, publishing manager at Nether Edge-based Vertebrate Publishing, said: “It was a rocky path popular with mountain bikers before the resurfacing.

“Now the limestone is buried beneath chippings from planed road surfaces, which is already starting to wear away.

“The Peak District National Park Authority has a budget deficit and the county council is making spending cuts yet they can pay out £60,000 to resurface a 700 metre stretch of footpath after just a single complaint about the surface. It’s ridiculous.”

He added: “As a cyclist, this trail is undoubtedly more dangerous, given the higher speeds of the average rider, and the potential for falls on the loose surface.

“At what point should we start regarding this level of maintenance – carried out without consultation, with little or no regard for the local area, and with no thought to potential safety issues – as vandalism?”

The controversy over Wigley Lane has been a hot topic on online mountain bikers’ forums, and follows similar controversy over work to resurface a section of Long Causeway, near Stanage Edge, also carried out by Derbyshire County Council.

Crushed gritstone has been installed at a cost of £250,000 – again after one complaint.

In a response to Mr Coefield, Derbyshire County Council said that ‘no specific consultation’ was carried out with users of Wigley Lane.

“The use of limestone was considered, however it was concluded, based on officer experience, that planings would be more durable,” the council added.

In the debate on the biking forum on UK Climbing’s website, one user wrote: “It seems some of the posters here are annoyed that it has ruined their fun. Bridleways are multi-use and I’m sure walkers prefer a smoother surface.”

But they added: “The issue is the non-native material, which is out of character.”

Another wrote: “If I was out with wife and kids in tow, I would think ‘nice path’.”

A Derbyshire County Council spokeswoman said: “We repaired Wigley Lane because of our concerns over its condition. The lane was difficult to walk on and in particular it was considered dangerous for horse riders.

“We have a statutory duty to make sure that our routes are passable for all users.”