Cycle trail would 'greatly benefit tourist economy'

A MULTI-MILLION pound cycle trail project would boost the tourist economy in Buxton, a public meeting heard this week.

The Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) is planning on buiding cycle trails to Buxton and Matlock Stations, in a project which has received 2.5m from the Department of Transport.

The paths would connect with the existing High Peak, Tissington and Monsal Trails, enabling families and visitors to cycle or walk around the area in a safe, environmentally friendly way.

The authority is keen to attract visitors to the area — while cutting the number of cars and traffic across the park.

At a well-attended public meeting on Monday, Buxton Civic Association's spokesman said: "We believe that the project will greatly benefit the local tourist economy." He added: "It will provide some excellent leisure facilities for everyone.

The association is arranging route details and planning procedures on behalf of the PDNPA.

In Januray, it submitted a planning application for one stage of the route, from Diamond Hill, over Harpur Hill to Staker Hill and on to the back road to Earl Sterndale.

At the meeting, Cycling England Special Adviser John Grimshaw CBE said: "This would be a really good family cycle route." He added: "We want to make it possible for people to come to Buxton, then cycle or walk around. We want to create paths suitable for wheelchairs and elderly people."

Another public meeting is expected in May or June.

If planning permission is granted, it is hoped the entire project would be open by 2012, the year of the Olympics.