The resurfacing work on the Rushup Edge bridleway

The resurfacing work on the Rushup Edge bridleway

Outdoor enthusiasts have won a battle to have their views heard over the controversial resurfacing of a Peak District bridleway.

Derbyshire County Council said it will hear the views of mountain bikers, walkers and other users on improvements to the Rushup Edge route overlooking Edale.

The council, which prompted widespread complaints about the surfacing work on the ancient route, admitted it had not ‘consulted on the fine detail’ of the alterations.

Mountain biking organisation Peak District MTB, one of the lead groups in opposing the way the trail had been surfaced, said the angry response, which led to the works being suspended by the council, had been unprecedented. The authority agreed to meet a group of users.

A spokesperson for the group said work began to resurface the byway on Rushup Edge in October, and within days hundreds of mountain bikers, walkers, climbers, conservationists, horse riders, runners and others had reacted furiously to the work which many saw as unnecessary and completely out of character for the area.

“The protest was soon joined by the Peak National Park Authority, the British Heart Foundation, Friends of the Peak, the British Mountaineering Council and the Rucksack Club.

“Local MPs Andrew Bingham and Patrick McLoughlin also expressed concern at Derbyshire County Council’s actions.”

Paul Richardson, chair of Peak District MTB, said: “The county council appeared to be surprised by the magnitude of the response.

“The weight of protest and the volume of noise raised around this issue are substantial. It was a significant factor in enabling us to arrange this meeting with Derbyshire County Council.

“Following our discussions, they have now confirmed that they will, in future, consult on a wide and thorough basis.

“We now await the council’s response to the substantial document we submitted to them, in the meantime, we will be working with other user groups in the meeting to propose how DCC may consult the most effective manner.”

A spokesperson for Derbyshire County Council said: “We felt we had a positive meeting with Peak MTB, Ride Sheffield, Friends of the Peak District, BMC [British Mountaineering Council] and Keeper of the Peak at the beginning of December about the work we started on Rushup Edge-Chapel Gate.

“At the meeting we explained why we had no choice but to improve the state of this footpath, and explained that we had consulted with the local access forum on our intention to undertake work.

“Unfortunately we overlooked the opportunity to consult on the fine detail with the national park and local access forum.

“While there is no statutory requirement to consult users groups on proposed work, we agreed that we would re-examine our consultation process and invited the groups to pass comment on our proposed work at Rushup Edge-Chapel Gate.”

Peak District MTB said it presented a survey of over 1,400 trail users to the council which showed an overwhelmingly negative response to the work from a wide range of users.

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