Derby Council ignores wildlife protesters to approve cycle circuit plan that cuts through nature reserve

Objections by wildlife groups include the UK's weather 'not supporting cycling'

by Sarah Barth   February 2, 2014  

Pride Park Velodrome - next door to The Sanctuary reserve

Wildlife campaigners have expressed dismay that a cycle track around a nature reserve as part of Derby’s Pride Park cycling facility have been approved.

Although the final planning decision won’t be made until Thursday, it’s understood that planning officers have advised the City Council to approve the plans for a road circuit and a mountain biking area.

Nick Moyes, a spokesman from a coalition of 15 groups opposing the plans, told the Derby Telegraph: "I'm absolutely stunned. It goes against so many things – the council's local plan, the national planning policy guidance and Natural England.

"Initially, I was speechless. The officers have a duty to be independent of the council so I'm amazed they haven't seen through this paper-thin application.

Earlier this year we reported that TV presenter Chris Packham had joined wildlife groups in the ongoing protest, saying that losing or destroying the wildlife reserve “would mark a vile act of wanton vandalism” dubbing the reserve a “treasure”.

As well as opposition from groups including Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Derbyshire Ornithological Society, the local RSPB group and Derby Natural History Society, 826 letters of objection have been filed - but so have 639 in support.

Some of the objections include the claim that ‘UK weather does not support cycling’ and that demand for a track would be low.

The council has said that 8.8 hectares of other land would be opened up as a nature reserve to mitigate for that lost to the track.

But Chris Packham said: “It is an oasis of wildlife that is accessible to many and it cannot simply be removed and replaced.

“It is a treasure and short-sighted and short tendencies like this should not be allowed to destroy it.

“It is a natural reserve, a designated scrap of England which has been recognised as worthy of consent.

“That does not suddenly evaporate just because someone has a new idea.

“Its loss would mark a vile act of wanton vandalism and who would want that on their conscience?”

The report stated the council had "considered all that is practical" and that there is "no reason as to why the application cannot be supported".

11 user comments

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To be fair is it the right place to build a circuit?

mind you they don't do themselves any favours blaming the weather!

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1064 posts]
2nd February 2014 - 9:48

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Who is it who is pushing so hard for this development?

Wearing a slightly ironic tin-foil hat, I could suggest its a false-flag job intended to make people even more hostile to cyclists than they generally are!

On the face of it, sounds like a bad idea in any case. If its a nature reserve, then why not, er, reserve it for nature? The way these things usually work once a precedent has been set for development a lot more will follow.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [657 posts]
2nd February 2014 - 15:18

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There's wildlife in Derby?! Silly

posted by parksey [210 posts]
2nd February 2014 - 15:25

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With regards to Chwis Packham saying that the new land is no replacement as you cant just set up a nature reserve, isnt that just what they with this one? Wasnt this site a brownfield/wasteland site a few years ago?

posted by farrell [1394 posts]
2nd February 2014 - 19:13

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There are 1600 Local nature reserves in England. How many dedicated cycle circuits are there? No dedicated circuits at all in the East Midlands currently, so we need this facility. It'll be next to the velodrome and easily reached from the M1, so will be well used. The LNR is not a SSSI and there are no unique or rare species there.

posted by TrevA [1 posts]
2nd February 2014 - 23:25

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I'd rather it be kept as a nature reserve, I dont want to cycle in new areas built like this knowing it destroyed the sort of thing I like to preserve by cycling. Perhaps the whole cycling community should speak out if its so bad as it does us no favours of yet more hatred.

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posted by Dark_Wolf [23 posts]
3rd February 2014 - 0:28

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Only 18% of the area will be used, leaving 82% for the birds.
The CCCT has been reduced in size and shoved into the sides.
Further reading here:
Birds will adapt - in fact birds don't need to adapt as there's plenty of room for all.

posted by Morgy [2 posts]
3rd February 2014 - 10:05

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I don't think you understand the planning process - your headline is incorrect. It hasn't been approved, it has been recommended for approval. It will still have to go to committee and the decision to approve - or not - will be taken then. If 300 protesters turn up and sit there booing.....

posted by a_P [6 posts]
3rd February 2014 - 10:24

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If Chris Packham opposed it, it must be a good thing.


posted by Grizzerly [119 posts]
3rd February 2014 - 10:40

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Its a disgrace giving it planning permission, 826 letters of objection have been filed - but so have 639 in support ?

Going by that logic the tv helmet advert recently discussed here only had about 6 letters of objection and it was binned.

There are plenty of other places to build the track but obviously someone has taken a nice little backhander so this goes ahead. Angry

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2697 posts]
3rd February 2014 - 12:18

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But it doesn't have planning permission. It's been recommended for approval. They're not the same thing.
Why not wait till Thursday evening?
I am surprised at the article which just appears to be a cut'n'pasted press release from the objectors.

posted by a_P [6 posts]
3rd February 2014 - 13:39

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