The man who founded bike accessories firm Crud has uploaded footage of himself riding the Cinder Track and invited people to decide for themselves whether it requires extensive restoration. Pete Tomkins opposes Sustrans plans for the old railway line between Scarborough and Whitby, arguing that the work will fundamentally alter its character.
Tomkins says that the video was shot the morning after heavy rain when a number of local roads were closed due to flooding.
“The line was completely passable. What you see here is minor drainage issues, mostly cured with a bit of spade work.”
However, he adds that those of a nervous disposition should look away because, “some of these puddles are up to one inch deep.”
Sustrans unveiled draft plans for restoration of the Cinder Track last month. The council had been due to review them earlier this week but Yorkshire Coast Radio reports that it was felt that too much information was lacking. A task group is to be set up.
Tomkins is adamant that extensive work is unnecessary.
“I vehemently oppose the scheme. The track is absolutely beautiful as is. It has not seen any basic maintenance for years, but is perfectly rideable.”
He is particularly concerned by plans to increase the width of the path.
“Sustrans proposes a 3m wide hard surface with 1m drainage ditch plus a further metre either side for verges. In total, a 20ft wide, 20-mile long development to basically turn the track into a cyclists’ highway.
“This would involve habitat destruction on an epic scale. Sustrans cost the works at £7.2 million plus VAT.”
Nor is Tomkins alone. Over 4,300 people have signed the Help Save Our Cinder Track! online petition with several thousand more also signing a printed version.
Speaking about the draft plans when they were first unveiled, Rupert Douglas, Sustrans Network Development Manager for Yorkshire, said that the track would be ‘sympathetically restored’.
“We are very clear that a tarmac surface is not suitable and is not appropriate for the whole 21.5 miles, so we have provided information about alternative surface options for consideration at sensitive locations such as in the North York Moors National Park. There’ll need to be more consultation with local communities about these options in more detail as part of the planning process.”