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Objections raised to office bike parking scheme – because it will cause “bottlenecks and noise”

Southwark Council approves Long Lane scheme despite some residents’ opposition

Residents living close to a planned office development in south east London that will have more than 200 bike parking spaces are objecting to the project – because they claim it will result in the road it is located on becoming congested with cyclists, whom they believe will also cause noise pollution.

The 11-storey building which is planned for Long Lane, Bermondsey, in the Labour-controlled London Borough of Southwark, will occupy the site of a former warehouse that is scheduled for demolition, reports My London.

The development, being undertaken by a company called 74 Long Lane Limited, will create approximately 475 jobs, with the proposed building including 204 cycle parking spaces within its basement.

And that bike storage facility has apparently sent some local residents into tailspin with one, Terry Weston, apparently speaking on behalf of other people living nearby, objecting to the development at a Southwark Council meeting.

“There’s currently planning provision for about 204 cycle spaces in the basement, as well as facilities for riders to change and shower before starting work,” she said.

According to agenda papers for the meeting of the council’s Planning Committee on Tuesday evening, 164 of those spaces are long stay, the other 40 being short stay.

“Let me be conservative in my estimate about how many individual journeys by cyclists through Southall Place each weekday there might be, let us choose the figure of 164 cyclists coming into work in the morning and 164 returning in the evening,” Ms Weston continued.

“This is likely to produce bottlenecks with delays for cyclists and additional noise in what has been up to now a very quiet residential street, I refer to Southall Place.”

At this point, you may have identified the erroneous assumption that appears to underpin her argument – namely, that there is an expectation that the cyclists will turn up en masse in a peloton of a similar size to that seen in the Tour of Britain (although perhaps without the police outriders, TV and press photographer motos, plus race direction and team support vehicles, etc).

That’s also ignoring the point that, from what we’ve seen in London office developments with dedicated bike parking facilities in recent months, they are seldom anywhere near full – in large part due to the hybrid working model that has become more common since the COVID-19 pandemic began – nor the fact that arrivals and departures would be staggered throughout the day.

The views of the objectors to the development on replacing the bike parking spaces with ones for motor vehicles were not reported.

The council meeting also heard from architect Simon Hudspith of the firm Panter Hudspith Architects, who said that the reason the cycle parking is “on that side of the building is we’re obviously making Southall Place wider. There is a zone for cyclists to stop and start which is a traffic-free area of the scheme.

“People stop and get their lights out or put their helmet on, there’s a certain amount of activity that happens with cyclists as they come in and out of buildings. It seemed to make sense that that type of activity happened next to the café where we’ve got much broader public realm and there’s places for people to sit and get themselves ready.”

The planning application was approved by five votes to nil, with one councillor abstaining.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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