Brighton & Hove City Council reacted to the backlash from angry motorists and said it was ‘investigating’ after a bike shed was pictured set up in a car park.
The Norfolk Square bike shed is one of 60 installed in the city since July, each providing secure storage for six bikes in a space the size of which could otherwise house a single car.
However, the positioning of the shed – taking up two resident’s permit parking spaces – sparked outrage, with one resident calling it ‘pure incompetence or Brighton & Hove City Council’s continuing war on motorists’ before saying more later to the local newspaper that he “has no problem with sheds”, just the “madness” of one “which takes up two parking spaces”.
> ‘It’s absolute madness’: Brighton motorists claim bike shed ‘deliberately’ takes up two parking spaces
“It creates this hatred between residents and car owners. I think it should be removed and put inside the plaza and that way there would be no problem,” said Bill Young at Argus.
In response to a question from road.cc, Brighton & Hove City Council confirmed they were “investigating” and were “aware of the concerns” of residents.
The town hall, however, wanted to add that it was “delighted” with the general reception given to the new bicycle sheds and that “the inhabitants have wanted them for a long time”, which is apparent from the demand for available space.
“We started with 20 installations in July and saw 100% uptake in just a few weeks,” said Councilor Steve Davis, Co-Chair of the Environment, Transportation and Sustainability Committee.
“Since then, we have installed 40 more, and all but one of the total 360 spaces have now been occupied. This means that 359 residents now have a safe and secure place to store their bikes.
“There are also approximately 300 people on waiting lists for spaces. We are currently looking for more shed locations. We will have a total of 150 bicycle sheds installed by spring next year, i.e. 900 spaces for bicycles in total.
“We know that if we want more people to travel actively and sustainably, we need to provide them with the right infrastructure. Bike sheds offer people who live in homes with little or no storage space the opportunity to store their bikes safely.”
However, not everyone shared Cllr Davis’ enthusiasm for the project, another resident told the Argus – despite growing demand and a growing waiting list – the sheds are “useless” and “take up paid parking spaces in the streets”.
“That shed would only take up one space, but the thing is, they could have put it in a corner of the park. I think they’re used to take up parking spaces. I think people will still take their bikes inside, so who are they really for?” they asked.
Another response to the original Facebook post came from a motorist who says he pays ‘£235 a year, up from £195 last year’ for a parking permit and ‘often spends ten to 20 minutes trying to parking near my house. Please explain what I am paying for, and how are these overpriced boxes acceptable?
Brighton is divided into zones with parking permits in ‘high demand’ areas such as Norfolk Square, costing motorists between £110 and £385 a year depending on their vehicle’s emissions.
The council says on its website that some parking spaces ‘can be retrofitted to accommodate cycle sheds’ which are rented by residents for three, six or 12 months at a time at a cost of ‘around £1 a week per space for bicycles”.
The sheds are accessible by mobile app or lock and key and are, according to the council, “about the size of a parking space and can store six standard-size bicycles”.
Whether the Norfolk Square bike shed will remain in place remains to be seen, but we’ll let you know as soon as there’s more on this story…