Cycle parking is standard

This article was published in 2000, in Newsletter 29.

Type of development and number of secure cycle parking spaces required

Hotels and Guest Houses: 1 per 2 employees working at the same time

C2 – Residential Institutions
Hostels (not student hostels): ‘On merit’
Residential care accommodation: 1 per 2 staff members
Hospitals: ‘Provision will be judged on the circumstances of each particular case’
Residential School, College or Training Centre (not student hostels): 1 per student

C3 – Residential
Dwellings with one bedroom: 1 per dwelling
Dwellings with two or more bedrooms: 2 per dwelling
Student Residential Accommodation: 1 per bedspace
Houses in Multiple Occupation: 1 per unit

A1 – Shops
Small shops with a sales area of 1400 m2 or less: 1 per 25 m2
Convenience superstores and retail warehouses: 1 per 25 m2 Gross Floor Area (GFA)

Financial and Professional Services: 1 per 25 m2 GFA

A3 – Food and drink
Public Houses: 1 per 1.5 m2 of bar area
Restaurants, dining rooms and cafes: 1 per 10 m2 of dining area
Hot food take away: ‘These will be treated on their own merits’

B1 – Business
Offices, research and development and light industrial: 1 per 30 m2 of GFA

B2 and B8
General Industrial and Storage and Distribution: 1 per 40 m2 of GFA

D1 – Non-residential institutions
Clinics and Surgeries: 2 for each consulting room
Educational Institutions (excluding residential): Spaces for 60% of pupils aged over 12 and for 30% of pupils aged 5-12 years
University faculty buildings: Spaces for 100% of students using the building at any one time, plus space for every 2 members of staff
Churches and places of assembly: 1 per 7.5 m2 of public floor space
Auditoria, museums, exhibition venues: On merit

D2 – Assembly and Leisure
Cinemas: 1 per 3 cinema seats
Sports/recreational facilities and swimming baths: 1 for every 25 m2 of net floor area and for every 15 seats provided for spectators

The codes (e.g. A1) are the official classifications that planners use to categorise each type of development. You’ll often see them quoted in planning applications.

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.

South Cambridgeshire

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

Nigel Deakin