This article was published in 2000, in Newsletter 29.
Type of development and number of secure cycle parking spaces required
We’re all familiar with the problem. You get on your bike, ride to somewhere in the city, and then have to spend ages hunting for somewhere sensible to leave your bike.
In theory, you should never have this problem when visiting places that were built recently, because for several years Cambridge City Council has operated a set of cycle parking standards that required virtually all new developments to provide a specified amount of cycle parking.
These aren’t just guidelines – they have been officially adopted by the City Council and incorporated into the Local Plan. This means that the council can refuse planning applications which don’t provide enough cycle parking. There’s a summary of what developers have to provide in the box.
It’s difficult to judge just what these figures mean in practice (what is the area of a typical shop?). But in general, these standards add up to a lot of cycle parking, with far greater numbers of spaces than we’re used to in Cambridge.
However, the standards are only any good if the planning department remembers to enforce them. Which means we must continue to monitor planning applications, submitting objections where the standards appear to be being ignored or subverted.
Two problems – location and quality
The main problem with the council’s standards is that they don’t say anything about where the cycle parking should be positioned. Some developers therefore place some of the cycle stands near the entrance and then hide the remainder away in some obscure location.
At the proposed supermarket redevelopment on the Beehive Centre, only 48 of the 261 cycle spaces will be near the supermarket – the others will be scattered around the rest of the site, far from where most of the demand will be. The standards should be changed to prevent them being subverted so blatantly.
The other problem we need to watch out for is inappropriate cycle parking. The standards require cycle parking to be ‘secure’. It ‘must make provision for immobilisation of cycles, for example by means of cycle racks to which the frame of the cycle can be locked, garage space or cycle stores’.
This suggests to us that developers must provide ‘Sheffield’ hoops, or something just as good. However, not every developer may interpret the standards this way, and we need to watch out for this.
These standards apply to Cambridge City only. However, South Cambridgeshire has very similar cycle parking standards, though they generally don’t cover houses and flats. They also don’t require any particular design of cycle parking. However they are quite good for such a rural area.
Cycle Parking Subgroup
If you’d like to help us campaign for better cycle parking, both at new developments and existing ones, join the Cycle Parking Subgroup. After a period of inactivity, this is being re-launched this month. If you’d like to join please contact Oliver Merrington on 01223 354600 or firstname.lastname@example.org