New Mills residents call for action to address safety concerns on station access road in legal limbo
Residents of a private road in New Mills fear they may become cut off from emergency services due to the deteriorating surface of the publicly-owned access road, which is already proving hazardous to cars and cyclists.
Homeowners on Mousley Bottom can only reach their properties via Station Road but say a key stretch of the route is in a serious state of disrepair due to increased traffic to the neighbouring Torrs Riverside Park during lockdown.
Resident Ben Robinson, 46, said: “Station Road is essentially in two halves, the first stops at the station and was resurfaced 18 months ago, but beyond that the surface is absolutely horrendous. A lot of drivers come down here to turn around after dropping off at the station, and it’s always been patchy but navigable.
“With all the extra people who have been coming over the past year, you’ve got no chance if you’re walking or cycling along here now. It’s damaged my car, my wife’s car and a neighbour’s, and a cyclist had a particularly nasty fall after hitting a pothole here the other week.”
He added: “We are incredibly concerned that we could be cut off and lose the ability to walk in and out during winter. There is no lighting here, so it’s already difficult enough. In normal circumstances, I walk up to get the train to and from work every day, and I have to take a torch to watch for the hazards. There is genuine fear.”
Despite its heavy use by traffic, the situation is complicated by the legal status of the road and a solution may not be quick to arrive.
A spokesperson for Derbyshire County Council said: “Station Road is unusual as it is part classed as ‘highway’ and part as a ‘public right of way’. Several households have the right to access over the public right of way part of the road to get to their homes, but we don’t have to maintain this part to the same standards as we do for highways.
“We resurfaced the highway part of the road some time ago, and have said that we will go out and take a look at the public right of way section to see if we need to do anything to meet our obligations to keep it safe for pedestrians.”