Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Business owners blast “totally crazy, ridiculous” plans to remove two car parking spaces – to make way for eight hire bikes

“We are not against cycling. We need them somewhere around here but not on our business parking spaces”

The thorny issue of bicycle storage facilities potentially taking up space traditionally reserved for motor vehicles has once again raised its head in Hove, where business owners have spoken out against what they describe as the council’s “ridiculous” plans to remove two car parking spaces in order to make way for hire bike racks.

The two parking spaces could be replaced by a rack, which would take up a 12 metre by two metre area and enable the storage of eight electric hire bikes, outside shops in Northease Drive, as part of Brighton and Hove City Council’s plans to expand its Beryl Bikes scheme across the city, the Argus reports.

The latest proposals also include plans for three other bike docking stations across Brighton and Hove, which the local authority hopes will “encourage city-wide access to residents” and to “provide more choice” for locals and visitors travelling around the seaside resort.

However, the scheme has been criticised by business owners on Northease Drive, who believe that the removal of two car parking spaces outside their shops will harm trade and restrict access for customers.

> Council "investigating" after driver outrage at cycle hangar "deliberately" blocking car parking spaces

“We have lots of newborns coming in, people need parking as they come from all over Sussex,” Lisa Newman, who runs a wellbeing business in the area, told the Argus.

“We have lots of people with mobility issues coming to see the osteopath. There are a lot of people who cannot just walk here, they can’t just jump on a bike.

“It feels totally crazy. We already have limited parking spaces already. To take two and a half away just seems ridiculous.”

She continued: “I’m a big cyclist, I really agree with it for the environment, for health. We are not against cycling. We need them somewhere around here but not on our business parking spaces.”

Meanwhile, one shop owner told the newspaper that he could potentially give up some private land to “save the parking spaces”, and that better alternatives for cycle storage were available “down the road”, while soft furnishings retailer Sarah Marsh said the placement of the bike racks would impact deliveries.

“We have sofas delivered, fabric delivered, lots of elderly customers coming in. Next door Neil has people coming and going constantly,” she said.

“We deliberately have our business out of the town for our customers to be able to park. People are bringing fabric. We always have heavy rolls of fabric delivered too.

“There’s been no dialogue with us. A chap came round putting the signs up last Thursday, that was the first we knew of it.”

> Hove woman persuades council not to locate “unattractive” cycle hangar outside her home 

However, the Labour-controlled council’s transport and sustainability committee chair, Trevor Muten, has responded to the complaints by pointing out that “our proposal for a new Beryl BTN Bike hub in Northease Drive is just that – a proposal”.

He continued: “That’s why we’re talking and listening to our local communities there and across the city and asking people for their comments. We’ll take all comments into account and look at all practical solutions and options before any final decision is made.

“Some Beryl hubs are in locations where the previous scheme had hubs. Others are new to encourage city-wide access to residents in all wards. Our bike hire scheme – which includes electric bikes – provides more choice for residents and visitors travelling around our city.

“We believe it will encourage more people to choose cycling as their active travel preference, as they consider their lower carbon transport options in response to the climate emergency. We want our Beryl BTN bike scheme to be a truly city-wide offer, and we want to give people who want to use it the best possible access to it.”

A spokesperson for Beryl Bikes said that the company works to ensure that its infrastructure “best serves the needs of the city and our users” and that introduction of their hire bikes could benefit those business owners complaining about the potential loss of car parking.

“We believe that by redesigning and rebalancing our streets to prioritise active travel, we can help to make them more desirable places to be,” the spokesperson said.

“Footfall, consumer spending, and economic activity can all be increased by making high streets and city centres more pleasant places to walk, cycle, or spend time in.”

> Residents “threatened with police” after “surrounding” contractors installing bike hangar

The disgruntlement in Northease Drive isn’t the first time in recent months that Brighton and Hove’s residents have spoken out against the displacement of a car parking space (or two) in favour of new cycle storage.

Since July 2022, around 150 new bike hangars have been installed across the city, offering secure storage for six bicycles in a space which could otherwise house a single car.

Despite proving hugely popular with residents and attracting a waiting list stretching into the hundreds, the units, however, have also drawn the ire of some locals who claim that they are an eyesore and take up too much space.

One particular hangar, in Norfolk Square, the placement of which straddled two residents permit car parking spaces, was met with such outrage last November that the council was forced to “investigate” its controversial positioning, before removing the unit entirely after it was crushed and damaged in January by a suspected “large vehicle”.

Cycle hangar in Norfolk Square, Brighton (credit - Laura King, Facebook)

> Large vehicle may have crashed into controversial bike hangar, council says

A local described the hangar’s installation as “madness” and as part of the “continuing war against motorists” apparently waged by Brighton and Hove City Council.

“It creates this hate between residents and car owners. I think it should be removed and put inside the square and that way there wouldn’t be a problem,” 72-year-old Bill Young said in November.

A woman from Hove also successfully persuaded the council not to put one of the new hangars outside her home because it was “unattractive” – prompting one councillor to observe that people opposed to them do not seem to have a problem with “Range Rovers that are half parked on the pavement.”

And in January, the local authority was accused of misleading the public after it claimed that a group of “unhappy” residents “surrounded” contractors tasked with installing another of the new hangars in Hove.

According to the council, staff from parking enforcement contractors NSL were in the process of implementing a parking suspension, in preparation for the installation of a second bike hangar on the city’s Cissbury Road, when they were “surrounded by a lot of unhappy residents”.

However, a Cissbury Road resident criticised the council’s account, branding it “misleading”, and claimed that he “had barely gotten a word out before I was threatened with the police”.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

Add new comment

21 comments

Avatar
OldRidgeback | 4 months ago
6 likes

"I'm a cyclist myself but...."

Avatar
rkemb | 4 months ago
10 likes

So these business owners are all benefitting from the assumed use of amenities on someone else's land, and are now complaining because those amenities are being changed?

Avatar
Steve K | 4 months ago
3 likes

If three people choose to use a hire bike rather than cycle, then they've gained a car parking space.

Avatar
KDee replied to Steve K | 4 months ago
1 like

What are they doing with a hire bike if they're not cycling? You mean "rather than drive"?

That still only works on the assumption that someone is bringing a hire bike from another hire stand.

Anyway, looking at Google maps, I don't see why the businesses have much issue. There's so much ugly bare concrete outside those places there's plenty of space for proper bike racks that as a big cyclist, I'm surprised Lisa hasn't already done this herself!

Edit: I just had another look as something was bothering me. Anyone notice the "Residents only" signs below the shop windows? Even though to access them you'd have to drive along the pavement if all the on-road parking spaces are in use. Makes me wonder if it's not the on-road spaces that are going, but the ones behind the pavement instead (which may not be legal anyway due to lack of dropped kerb).

Avatar
Steve K replied to KDee | 4 months ago
2 likes
KDee wrote:

What are they doing with a hire bike if they're not cycling? You mean "rather than drive"?

I did, yes, sorry.

Avatar
belugabob | 4 months ago
9 likes

Even before the conversion of the car parking spaces to bike parking spaces, the deliveries were just as likely to be thwarted if all of the spaces were occupied.
People simply don't think their excuses (a.k.a. thinly veiled irrationality) through, properly.
Surely, businesses requiring regular deliveries should have dedicated delivery areas...? (providing, of course, this doesn't inconvenience the customers, too much)

Avatar
BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP replied to belugabob | 4 months ago
3 likes

Exactly! We are talking about 2 spaces. So if a customer turns up and sees the spaces full what do they do - go home? No, they park elsewhere. 

Avatar
brooksby | 4 months ago
8 likes

Reading road.cc, one thing that comes up again and again is the person who really doesn't want cycle parking, cycle lanes, etc anywhere near them or near their home or their place of work, AND YET who refuses to come out and admit that they hate cycling or have an irrational hatred or fear of cyclists.

Its always, always "I don't want that infrastructure or those people anywhere near where I live or work or travel but they're fine Somewhere Else - I'm a cyclist myself, you know". It's not that they lack the courage of their convictions,  I think, more that deep down they understand that their opinions are unreasonable...

Avatar
BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP replied to brooksby | 4 months ago
2 likes

they just sound like those swivel eyed  'some of my best friends are (insert whichever minority)' but they still can't live around here / go to school here / shop here etc. 

Avatar
ktache | 4 months ago
11 likes

She said "our business parking spaces"

Obviously go to court, if you've paid so much/paying so much for them you have a great case for retaining them.

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to ktache | 4 months ago
3 likes

It's exactly this, isn't it?  The public-private tension.  "My parking space" (on the public highway).  "Our delivery spot" (public goods used for private profit).

I'm actually for more of this (public cycle infrastructure) BUT that's because it's an excellent investment.  Keeping hundreds of thousands of miles of road in repair so people can station their vehicles on it whenever / wherever they like or tear it up with lorries?  More questionable...

Avatar
Cugel replied to chrisonabike | 4 months ago
2 likes
chrisonatrike wrote:

It's exactly this, isn't it?  The public-private tension.  "My parking space" (on the public highway).  "Our delivery spot" (public goods used for private profit).

I'm actually for more of this (public cycle infrastructure) BUT that's because it's an excellent investment.  Keeping hundreds of thousands of miles of road in repair so people can station their vehicles on it whenever / wherever they like or tear it up with lorries?  More questionable...

Yes, the use of public facilities as "my" car parking or unloading space is yet another element of the drivist notion that they are special folk with rights and privileges (but no corresponding duities) far greater than the lower orders of not-in-a-car hoi-polloi.

Historically, it's another extrusion of the Bwitish class system but one now exported to much of the rest of the world, via various powerful cabals promoting the car for the usual reasons of making huge amounts of money and the dominance to keep doing so.

When every climber of the social-class greasy pole wants to have and employ symbols of superiority to those lower on the pole, the car provides a perfect badge of worth and status. Flashing the badge becomes ever so important; as does polishing it and thrusting it into the faces (and other parts) of those without one.

**********

But when I be dictator, it'll all be different! Although I will, of course, be a benevolent dictator, my dictats will certainly retrieve public spaces from all sorts of squatters but especially the squatting Toads in their parked cars. I'm afraid I'll also be wresting what should be public utilities from private hands ..... with no compensation other than a feeling that the greedy suckers have had an involuntary improvement to their characters.

Shareholders! Divest now or forever lose your means of parasitic milking of real value from those that actualluy make it, via your finance capitalism leeching organ! Best to give up leeching altogether lest Dictator Cugel sends you to a nature-restoration work gang in darkest Surrey, run by eagle-eyed Monbiots with nettle-whips and vacancy lists at the human hamster electricity generating wheels.

From shareholder wankpanzer pavement parking parasite to sifter of the illegal turds from the waterways, overnight! Justice, that will be.  Cugel-justice.

Well, I can "dream", as the saying goes.

Avatar
eburtthebike | 4 months ago
19 likes

She continued: “I’m a big cyclist, I really agree with it for the environment, for health. We are not against cycling. We need them somewhere around here but not on our business parking spaces.”

A favourite for the Not in my Backyard 2023 award is Lisa Newman, who runs a wellbeing business in the area, who not only doesn't want facilities for cyclists, but claims to be a cyclist herself.  Perhaps she might like to consider advising her customers to ride bikes, because that would probably do more for their wellbeing than anything she could.

Avatar
RicCycleCoach replied to eburtthebike | 4 months ago
4 likes

not that it's a 100% accurate way to ascertain... but no trace of a lisa newman in brighton who does any cycling and records to strava... just thought i'd check....

Avatar
brooksby replied to RicCycleCoach | 4 months ago
5 likes

What proportion of regular or frequent cyclists actually use Strava? Its popular among recreational cyclists using dropped handlebars and wearing Lycra, but less so among everyday hybrid-users so I'm not sure that's a good way of finding out if someone is a "real" cyclist...

Avatar
RicCycleCoach replied to brooksby | 4 months ago
5 likes

hence me saying it's not a definitive method. i just reckon she's talking sh!te though and has probably ridden a bike twice since being a child. happy to stand corrected though. 

Avatar
Cugel replied to brooksby | 4 months ago
0 likes
brooksby wrote:

What proportion of regular or frequent cyclists actually use Strava? Its popular among recreational cyclists using dropped handlebars and wearing Lycra, but less so among everyday hybrid-users so I'm not sure that's a good way of finding out if someone is a "real" cyclist...

Indeed - strava is for dafties who like looking at gizmo screens rather than the back of the car they're about to ride into, or the drystone wall lurking on the bend they really don't have the skill to go 'round fast enough to "steal" some other dafty's King o' the Summick-or-other record.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Cugel | 4 months ago
12 likes
Cugel wrote:

Indeed - strava is for dafties who like looking at gizmo screens rather than the back of the car they're about to ride into, or the drystone wall lurking on the bend they really don't have the skill to go 'round fast enough to "steal" some other dafty's King o' the Summick-or-other record.

Or maybe, just maybe, some people, like me, like it because they turn it on with their portable telephone when they go for a ride, shove it in their back pocket and don't think about it at all until they get home and turn it off because they find it fun and interesting to see what sort of speed they were doing and also like to keep a record of their rides and mileage?

Avatar
Cugel replied to Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
0 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:
Cugel wrote:

Indeed - strava is for dafties who like looking at gizmo screens rather than the back of the car they're about to ride into, or the drystone wall lurking on the bend they really don't have the skill to go 'round fast enough to "steal" some other dafty's King o' the Summick-or-other record.

Or maybe, just maybe, some people, like me, like it because they turn it on with their portable telephone when they go for a ride, shove it in their back pocket and don't think about it at all until they get home and turn it off because they find it fun and interesting to see what sort of speed they were doing and also like to keep a record of their rides and mileage?

Maybe.  1

But your opportunities for "fun"of this kind are wide & various. Get your gizmo to record not just how many miles you go but how many breaths you take, the number of heartbeats, your blood sugar levels across the ride and how many hairs fall out in the wind. Also, there is the number of potholes missed (and also the number hit). And how many cars went past, each way. And .....

Why limit such "fun" to cycling? Count how many grams you eat of what, for breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner and supper (and the snacks). Count how many people go past your front door each way and the same for the back door. Count the number of times the cat goes in and out. Count how many birds sit on what branches of which trees. Count ..... everything countable!

What "fun".   1 I suppose its better than avoiding stepping on the pavement joins & cracks as you go to the shop for nuts and some pilsner to wash 'em down with.

On the other hand - how less elated would you feel if you knew nothing of your bike rides but the remembrance of the wind in your hair, the sights you saw and the feelings of effort, control and navigation? None of them require a spy-on-me gizmo on your bars or in your back pocket; or any numbers at all. I do it all the time, bare of the gizmo and its mocking data reports.

Avatar
chrisonabike | 4 months ago
4 likes

Obviously "council" so it's always possible that the proposal is indeed not well thought through.  Perhaps there is a better place or maybe they've even chosen to put something where it causes more aggro e.g. for a grand scheme, or for the convenience of their pals?

And it could well be that communications were lacking - although people have an incredible ability not to see these until just before a change...

However - there's a good selection of potential bingo here.  These are all reasonable questions to ask - they're not trump cards though!

What about the kids ("we have newborns coming in"), we rely on car trade and people travel further than they'd cycle ("from all over Sussex"), what about the disabled (not everyone can walk or ride), war on the motorist / no space (we already have limited parking spaces), I'm a cyclist but... (basically "but not here..."),  you can't carry an x on a bike, we have deliveries ("we have sofas delivered, fabric delivered"), what about the elderly.

Also a nod to baked-in motor dependence: "We deliberately have our business out of the town for our customers to be able to park [and deliveries]".

I thought Beryl did a range of things including e-scooters, ebikes and e-cargo bikes.  Obviously they won't have thousands of 'em, but perhaps they have 2.5 cars' worth of them?

Avatar
Boopop | 4 months ago
14 likes

"Business owners uspet that space for potential customers is being replaced with space for eight potential customers" 🤦‍♂️

Latest Comments