Outrage over newly surfaced footpath next to the River Derwent which could 'become too dangerous to use'

There are concerns the works taking place will make the 'scenic' footpath in Alvaston too dangerous to use and fears for public safety.There are concerns the works taking place will make the 'scenic' footpath in Alvaston too dangerous to use and fears for public safety.
There are concerns the works taking place will make the 'scenic' footpath in Alvaston too dangerous to use and fears for public safety.
Outrage over newly surfaced footpath which could 'become too dangerous to use'

Community group members have been left outraged over new works to resurface a footpath next to the River Derwent in Derby – claiming the scenic route is being “destroyed” and will soon become “dangerous and unusable”.

The Alvaston Community Action team say work started to resurface a section of the footpath last month, but fear the new surface will lead to all kinds of problems.

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But Derby City Council says the £800,000 works – funded by the Government – being carried out will improve the footpath which will have “a more appealing surface” in the future.

The surfacing works are taking place on the existing National Cycle Network footpath along the riverside from Raynesway to Elvaston Castle. The works to resurface the footpath have puzzled the community group who claim there was no public consultation or awareness published prior to the council starting improvements.

The group made a complaint to the city council about the works at the start of July. They claim that the new surface will make the path dangerous in the winter months when frost and fallen leaves will make it treacherous for cyclists and walkers, potentially leading to serious injuries and falls.

There are more concerns with regards to public safety with the group claiming the new surface could even encourage speed racing potentially putting walkers and cyclists in danger. They have told the Local Democracy Reporting Service they want to see work stopped as soon as possible.

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Concerned David Gale says the works taking place will make the 'scenic' footpath in Alvaston too dangerous to use and fears for public safety. Concerned David Gale says the works taking place will make the 'scenic' footpath in Alvaston too dangerous to use and fears for public safety.
Concerned David Gale says the works taking place will make the 'scenic' footpath in Alvaston too dangerous to use and fears for public safety.

David Gale, a member of the Alvaston Community Action team, said: “The footpath is being turned from a 1.6 metre limestone gravel footpath to a 3.2 metre tarmacked road. In the winter months, this new road will be unusable to everybody because the frost and fallen leaves will make it extremely icy and slippery. In the summer months, dog walking will be prohibited when the tarmac heats up.

“The width of the new road means it will not only be a magnet for stolen motorcycles but possibly stolen cars as well and hotrodders who want to use it as a private race track. I think we are on a countdown to the first fatality.

“It’s a new road without planning permission and without public consultation. They are destroying a scenic footpath in open countryside and replacing it with a tarmacked road.”

The group say it is considering taking legal action against the council over what they say was a lack of public consultation over the works. The group say local councillors have not been made aware of the works and are now demanding answers from the council on how the project has been given the go-ahead.

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But Derby City Council has hit back at the claims, saying works to improve the footpath with tarmac have been recommended by an Equality Impact Assessment and improving the route has been asked for by users over a long period of time.

A spokesperson for the authority said: “The route along the riverside from the Raynesway industrial estate to the B5010 at Borrowash is part of the existing National Cycle Network route 6, providing key links to employment areas and the city centre.

“Improvements to the route are ones which the city council has long been asked to look at by users. The Equality Impact Assessment made specific reference for the need of a tarmac finish, which is beneficial for a wider range of users. A bound material will provide a more appealing surface than an unmade, loose, uneven one.

“Construction costs are expected to be £800k and are funded by the Department for Transport as part of Derby’s Transforming Cities Bid. The works are scheduled to complete in March 2024. The council has contacted Mr Gale directly with a detailed response to the points he has raised.”

Mr Gale said he would like to see the council’s statement proven by official documentation. He stressed the route is “not solely a cycle path” as it is used by walkers and horse riders too.

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