Bikers unhappy after bike trail at Hemlock Stone ‘completely destroyed’ by council
Bikers say they will have to travel five miles to the next closest mountain bike trail – because the council has ‘completely destroyed’ their local homemade track after complaints from dog walkers.
But throughout the year, Broxtowe Borough Council has been digging up ramps and new tracks in order to “protect the natural habitat and wildlife”.
Teenager James Walker, of Russley Road, Bramcote, first started riding on the trail three years ago.
The 17-year-old said: “In March I got a text from one of the lads saying everything had been torn down without us being consulted. Everything was completely destroyed.
“We’ve tried talking with the council but they made things really difficult. They wanted us to attend lots of meetings and create PowerPoint presentations but it wasn’t possible because we have school.”
The student, who is studying double sport and biology at Bramcote Hills College, said some of the bikers started re-building the ramps – but last week diggers were spotted pulling them down again.
He said: “It’s quite disappointing because they do not like people hanging around on the streets and causing trouble but we just want to try and ride and they’re stopping us from doing so.
“There’s not a lot to do anymore because they keep taking it down and stopping us.”
The next closest track is in Pottery Way, Bulwell, which is more than five miles away and would take about 30 minutes to bike there.
Painter and decorator Arran Brown runs the Hemlock MTB Facebook group and has been using the track for 13 years.
The 25-year-old, of Stapleford, said: “It’s just gotten a bit stupid. It’s almost like a vendetta against us. It’s just a game of cat and mouse and it’s not something we want to be playing.
“It has kept me out of trouble. A lot of the people from my school have ended up with criminal records but biking gave me something to focus on.”
James’ dad Simon Walker said “hundreds of people” use the site.
The 46-year-old said: “People have been riding there for about 20 years and over time they have built ramps and it is used by people of all ages. Although it’s not officially a BMX track, it has sort of been accepted over the years.
Stapleford North ward Councillor Richard MacRae said he met with three of the bikers and a Broxtowe Borough Council officer at the park in March.
He added: “It’s one of the most popular places around for mountain bikers, it had just got a bit out of hand so we had to compromise and the ramps were demolished.
“I can see both sides of it and we have to have that balance. We have to be careful because we don’t want people getting hurt but we also don’t want to spoil any fun.”
Councillor MacRae added: “The officer then said he would write a report to go to the council in September and he told the lads they could do the same to get their side across.
“As far as I’m aware, that’s how it was left. The bikers did tell me they weren’t going to submit anything and that was disappointing because I want them to have their say.
“I’ll be going to the meeting in September and if the lads need me to help them put together a report I am happy to do so.”
A spokeswoman for Broxtowe Borough Council said: “As a designated Local Nature Reserve the council has a duty to protect the natural habitat and wildlife at the Hemlock Stone and Stapleford Hill and the bike ramps that were constructed were done so without formal permission and so were removed.
“We have been in touch with those involved over the past few months and asked them to provide us with a proposal so that we can consider if we can accommodate an area of the woodland specially designated for bikes.
“As yet, this information has not been forthcoming and more ramps have been built, which the council has removed. The council is keen to work to find a way forward and would urge any individuals to get in touch directly.”