A Westminster cycle hangar similar to those that were propsosed for Ilbert Street, in Queen’s Park
Published: 27 January, 2017
by ALINA POLIANSKAYA
PLANS for Westminster’s first on-street bike sheds could be rejected on “design grounds”.
Proposals put forward by Westminster Council to place cycle hangars in Ilbert Street, in Queen’s Park, have been recommended for refusal by their own planning officers.
The officers’ report suggested that the two covered steel storage units would “cause harm to the Queen’s Park Conservation Area” that would outweigh the benefits of the scheme.
But Dominic Fee, from the Westminster Cycling campaign, said: “The report makes it sound like they are these gigantic things that will dominate the street. But really they are tucked away with cars.
“The planning department’s report seems intent on playing down the benefits of the proposed bike hangar and exaggerating its harm, and in both these areas I think the report is not well researched.”
Currently in Westminster there are only bike hangars on estates, but not on the street. Mr Fee also criticised the council’s claim that cycle storage was not a big problem in the area as the report suggested the area is “mainly single family dwellings with rear gardens”.
Mr Fee added: “A third of the houses in Ilbert Street have upper-floor flats that do not have access to a garden. And nearby, in Third Avenue and Bruckner Street, there are blocks of flats.”
The plans have received no objections and a number of supporters, one of whom said: “I think this a great idea and will encourage cycling in the area. Finding secure, dry storage for bikes is a real problem in the area.”
A decision will be made by a planning committee at Westminster City Hall on Tuesday.
The planning application said: “This site has been identified as a suitable location to promote cycling by domestic users, who may otherwise be discouraged by the lack of facilities available to them.”
The planning officers’ report states: “The modest scale of the housing and the uncluttered streets combine to create a townscape of high quality and charm.
“The proposed bicycle storage structures introduce a bulky and incongruous feature into the townscape, which detracts from the setting of the houses.
“While the streets are lined by parked cars, these are of course transitory and have a very different impact on the character of the area.”