This article was published in 2003, in Newsletter 49.
A massive development of leisure facilities (cinemas, bowling alleys, bars, restaurants, flats, shops, auction rooms and a hotel) is being built off Cherry Hinton Road, opposite platform one at Cambridge railway station. We reported in Newsletters 47 and 48 that the Council’s mandatory cycle parking standards were not being observed in this development.
We complained and submitted a formal objection to a planning application for the multi-storey car park at the development, saying that as much cycle parking as possible should be provided close to the entrances of each of the buildings in the development but that any shortfall should be housed on the ground floor of the car park. This location would be far from ideal but much better than insufficient cycle parking. Our objection has now been rejected. No cycle parking is to be provided in the multi-storey car park.
We now have a much clearer idea of how serious the shortfall is. The planning officer responsible reported at the planning committee meeting that the council’s standards require approximately 1100 cycle parking spaces for the development as a whole. The exact number cannot be specified until the uses of the various buildings are known in more detail. The officer reported that only about a third of this number of spaces are at present planned but that he intended to get the number up to about 50%.
Condition 44 of the planning permission granted for the development on 6 September 2000 requires that cycle parking is designed into the scheme and is available before the various buildings are brought into use. Full details of the numbers of parking spaces and the type of stands to be used have to be approved by the local planning authority in writing before work starts. But the local planning authority appears not to be enforcing this requirement. We find it difficult to believe that the planning authority could have agreed in writing to the extremely meagre cycle parking, well below the standards, located at Cheffins’ offices and auction rooms, or to the wheel-bending cycle stands in the adjacent flats. Work on all the other buildings is under way but there is still uncertainty about how much cycle parking is to be provided. Worse still, a Section 106 agreement – drawn up between the planning authority and the developer – provides for a professional assessment of cycle parking requirements to be made a year after completion of the development. This seems to us to violate the whole principle stressed by the planning authority that cycle parking should be designed into the scheme and should be available from the start. What’s more, the site is to be so crammed with buildings that it is hard to imagine that, a year after completion, there will be any suitable space available for additional cycle parking where it is needed (close to the entrances of each building) or, indeed, anywhere else.
Matters have now got even worse. A planning application has just been submitted to greatly increase the number and size of the auditoria at The Junction which is next to the Cattle Market development. First indications are that 66 cycle spaces will be needed to meet the standards for the redeveloped Junction. Unbelievably the architects for the scheme propose to remove all the existing cycle parking for members of the public and not to build any new on-site parking at all for them. Instead, cyclists going to The Junction are supposed to use the inadequate parking in the Cattle Market development. We have, of course, submitted an objection to the Junction’s planning application and will be pursuing this vigorously.
We find the whole situation bizarre. The cycle parking standards are mandatory. They specify the minimum number of spaces that must be provided. They ‘shall not be adjusted’ (paragraph 5.10.1 of the 1996 standards which apply to the Cattle Market development). Why does the City Council have mandatory cycle parking standards if it doesn’t enforce them?