Brighton & Hove City Council has hit back at angry motorists and said it is “investigating” after a bike shed was pictured installed in a car park.
The bike shed in Norfolk Square 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 accommodate a single car.
However, the placement of the hangar – which takes up two residence permit parking spaces – has been met with outrage, with one resident calling it “sheer incompetence or Brighton & Hove City Council’s ongoing war on motorists”, before saying more late to the local newspaper that he “has no problems with hangars”, just the “craziness” of one “taking up two parking spaces”.
> ‘It’s absolute madness’: Brighton motorists claim cycle shed ‘deliberately’ taking up two parking spaces
“It creates this hatred between residents and car owners. I think it should be removed and put on the market and that way there would be no problem,” Bill Young told the Argus.
In response to a query from road.cc, Brighton & Hove City Council confirmed it was “investigating” and was “aware of the concerns” of residents.
The council was careful to add, however, that it was “delighted” with the overall response to the new bike sheds and “residents have wanted them for a long time”, which is evident from the demand for available spaces.
“We started with the installation of 20 in July and saw a 100% take-up rate in just a few weeks,” explained Councilor Steve Davis, co-chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee.
“Since then we have installed 40 more and all but one of the total 360 spaces have now been operated. This means 359 residents now have a safe and secure place to store their bikes.
“There are also around 300 people on waiting lists for places. We are currently looking for more hangar locations. We will have a total of 150 bike sheds installed by next spring – that’s 900 bike spaces in total.
“We know that if we want to get 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 an opportunity to store their bikes safely and securely. “
However, not everyone shared Cllr Davis’ enthusiasm for the scheme, with another resident telling the Argus – despite strong demand and a growing waiting list – the sheds are “useless” and “taking up paid parking spaces on the streets” .
“This hangar 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 taking up parking spaces. I think people will always take their bikes inside, so that who are they really for?” they asked.
Another response to the original Facebook post came from a driver 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 park near my house Please explain what I am paying for, and how these overpriced boxes are acceptable?”
Brighton is divided into zones with parking permits in “high demand” areas such as Norfolk Square, which cost drivers between £110 and £385 a year, depending on their vehicle’s emissions.
The council states on its website that some car parks “can be repurposed to house cycle sheds”, which are rented by residents for three, six or 12 months at a time, at a cost of “around £1 per week on bicycle space’.
The sheds are accessed via a mobile app or with a key and are, the council tells residents, “about the size of a parking space and can store six standard-sized bikes”.
It remains to be seen whether the Norfolk Square bike shed will remain in place, but we’ll keep you posted as there’s more to this story…