DERBYSHIRE: Landowners were not consulted over trail bid

Council chiefs who put together a £7.5 m funding bid for a new Dales cycling trail did so without consulting the landowners on whose property it would be built, the Mercury can reveal.

Chiefs at Derbyshire County Council and the Peak District National Park Authority submitted the Pedal Peaks funding bid to the Department for Transport on April 30, 2013.

But Peak Rail – who own and rent a substantial part of land that the new cycle trail is intended to be built on – were not even told of the bid until May 10, 2013.

Jackie Statham, of Peak Rail, said: “Peak Rail knew absolutely nothing about the bid until after it was submitted to the Department for Transport.

“We were not consulted.”

There are four sections of the Pedal Peaks trail that span the entire Peak District and more.

The part that affects Peak Rail is known as the White Peak Loop.

This section of the trail runs from Matlock to Rowsley – along land that Peak Rail rent from Derbyshire Dales District Council – and then North of Rowsley to the Haddon Estate – along land that Peak Rail own.

Jackie said: “Peak Rail are now in discussions with Derbyshire County Council.”

Rowsley Parish Council were not told about bid until after it was submitted either. A spokesperson said: “Both authorities had plenty of time to consult but they chose not to – let your readers decide.”

Peak Park Chief Executive Jim Dixon declined to comment on the Pedal Peaks bid.

Mike Ashworth, Deputy Strategic Director at Derbyshire County Council, who signed off the Pedal Peaks bid, also declined an interview with the Mercury.

However, a Derbyshire County Council spokesperson said that the time required to assemble the bid “did not permit all of the consultation with stakeholders which would ideally have taken place”.

The spokesperson said: “While we weren’t able to talk directly to all stakeholders we did try to take into account what we knew from previous discussions.”