Cycleway could boost trade in the Peaks

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Council leaders hope a new cycle route will bring prosperity to the region if funding is approved by The Department of Transport.

The White Peak Loop cycle network would join together the Monsal Trail, Tissington Trail and High Peak Trail to form a 60–mile circuit linking the Peak District, Derwent Valley World Heritage Site and the major towns of Buxton and Matlock.

Derbyshire County Council has put forward the proposed scheme alongside five other transport schemes that have been designed to benefit transport links in the county.

Councillor Caitlin Bisknell, who represents Buxton on the county council, said: “The plans have been around for a long time to bring a cycleway to Buxton.

“I think it could be a real boost for the town and I think it’s good the county council is pushing for it.”

If approved, the £2.5million scheme would mean an increase in the number of visitors to the area, using the former railway tunnels for cycling, walking and horse riding.

The White Peak Loop would extend the current track north from the Monsal Trail to Buxton and south to Matlock and Cromford, linking into a network of trails which already exist.

Cllr Bisknell continued: “Anything that brings people into Buxton without resorting to four wheels has to be good, not just for visitors but also for the people that live here.

“It will also offer opportunities for bed and breakfasts to put people up, so I think there’s a lot going for it and it offers potential for business links.”

She said that the definite route was undecided at the moment and if the funding was approved there would be a consultation to discuss it.

“You have got to take into account existing roadways and buildings,” Cllr Bisknell added.

Cllr Joan Dixon, the county council’s cabinet member for jobs, economy and transport, said: “We want to build a strong economy in Derbyshire that creates jobs, attracts new businesses and provides a future for our young people.

“Good transport links are essential to building a strong economy.

“That’s why we’re working hard to put Derbyshire in the best possible position to bring more jobs, business and industry to areas of the county most in need.”

The council has also bid for £5million to build a new railway station at Gamesley. The Department of Transport will be reviewing this scheme at the same time as the cycleway.