Residents speak out over village hazard

OWNERS of motorised vehicles have been given the go-ahead to continue to use a medieval road in Stoney Middleton despite petitions by residents.

The residents wanted Jacobs Ladder, a steep, narrow, unmetalled track with cobbled stretches to be declassified from a Schedule D road.

They said it has been increasingly used by motorbikes and four-wheel drive vehicles for recreational and rally purposes in recent years.

But Trail Riders Fellowship, the national club for those who wish to ride legal motorcycles on legal carriageways, submitted a 371 signature petition in support of the existing status of the road.

A spokesman for the residents said: "We believe that such use is wholly inappropriate because it represents a hazard to walkers, horse riders and children who play in the preceding area.

"There are enough vehicles and traffic in the Peak Park already without permitting them to use tracks which are clearly unsuitable and thereby detracting further from the peace and quiet of the countryside."

He said the mud and debris collects in front of the entrance to the cemetery and silts up the local drainage system.

The decision to maintain the status of Jacobs Ladder was made by Derbyshire County Councils Local Area Committee meeting on Thursday June 12.

They backed the recommendation by officers from the councils Environment and Highways made on March 20.

It included a maintenance scheme for possible inclusion in the 2003/2004.

A county council spokesman said: "We have carefully listened to both sides of the argument in this case and decided to make no change to the road status."

Vehicles are allowed to use the right of way, within the guidelines of Derbyshire County Councils policy for the management of motorised vehicle use in the countryside.

The petitions were received by the Council in 2001 and a decision delayed until the issue could be raised within the context of a council policy, in order to ensure an objective and consistent decision.

By Moira Browne