On behalf of our friends and partners at the The Upper Don Trail Trust who need 2,500 signatures!
Help restore the funded, but now axed Upper Don Trail around Stocksbridge, which would have helped complete the route all the way to Sheffield.
Full statement from Upper Don Trail Trust:
STOCKSBRIDGE TOWN DEAL CONSULTATION NOW
"Please support this request to sign an e-petition from our sister river trust the Upper Don Trail about the proposed shelving of the ambitious Trails Project, restoration of the Little Don and other locally proposed projects around the town.
In 2021 Stocksbridge was granted £24m Levelling Up funding for ten projects spanning economy, health, environment and leisure aimed at reviving the whole town and its quality of life.
A ‘Town Deal’ Board was established to guide the programme and represent and consult the community.
The approved programme included the following:
‘Cycle and walking trails – building on Stocksbridge’s position as a gateway to the countryside, we will invest in improving and extending cycle and walking trails, including the Upper Don Trail and a new off-road loop around Underbank reservoir, attracting more visitors and leisure users, and supporting the move to active modes of travel. A new visitor hub and cycle hire facilities will encourage people to start and end their trip in Stocksbridge.’
The maps shows how the project would have substantially completed the trail around Stockbridge. Almost three years later the Board has just announced that the Trails Project and several others including a Hydrotherapy Pool and restoration of the Little Don River are to be shelved. £20m (or 84%) of the total is to be spent on just a new Library and Community Hub, replacing the existing one, with public spaces on Manchester Road. Apart from some improvements in Oxley Park and possibly a new Hopper bus route all the rest of the programme is therefore unfunded and on indefinite hold.
No cost benefit or factual justification for this drastic decision have been offered to the public beyond general reference to ‘inflation’ and no consultation on the decision has been offered, with the public or voluntary sector partners such as the Town Council, The Upper Don Trail Trust, Sustrans or Stocksbridge Welcomes Walkers contrary to Government guidance for the Levelling Up Funds.
Many local people have questioned the justification and worth of demolishing and rebuilding the existing library at the cost of so many other initiatives.
Our target is 2,500 signatures so please help and circulate as widely as possible.
We the undersigned therefore call on Sheffield City Council to step in as the Accountable Body for these funds and insist on full publication of the business cases for these decisions followed by fresh public consultation and a complete review of governance and transparency of the Board to comply with Government guidance and City Council policy."