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"It looks like discrimination": Disabled cyclists' campaign group calls relaxing of planning laws to allow bike storage units in front gardens "very worrying", if larger designs for adapted cycles are not allowed

The government has launched a consultation proposing a change that would enable homeowners in England with no back garden to install bike stores without the need for planning permission, and comes after several high-profile 'Shedgate' disputes...

A charity that campaigns to support cyclists with disabilities has expressed concern at the lack of consideration for adapted cycles and mobility aids in a government proposal to allow some home owners in England to install bike storage sheds without the need for planning permission.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities to the Town and Country Planning has opened a consultation on an array of amendments, including one that would allow homeowners in England with no back gardens to install bike and bin stores without the need for planning permission.

However, the proposed change would not be a free-for-all, the government stating that while it hoped to help the planning system stay "efficient, effective, and responsive", there would be limits to what is allowed, namely the proposal suggesting a modest development limited to a maximum two metres in width, one metre in depth, and 1.5m in height, in order to "minimise visual and amenity impacts".

Government consultation on bike sheds

Wheels for Wellbeing, "a disabled people's cycling organisation campaigning for equity in cycling, active travel and multimodal journeys, and mobility justice for all disabled people", called the limits "very worrying".

"With the proposed stores not being long enough or wide enough for adapted cycles or other mobility aids, it looks like discrimination against disabled people," the campaign group has said.

"The permitted shed should be large enough for the Cycle Design Vehicle, and large enough to take more than one cycle if one is as wide as the CDV. Government need to apply their own standards as a minimum when thinking about cycling."

The consultation is set to run until 9 April, with responses and views able to be given on the government department's website. Part of the reasoning behind the relaxing of planning rules for bike/bin shed storage is, the government says, due to "bin blight", "with wheelie bins dominating front gardens and impacting on the local amenity of residential streets".

> Are bike shed planning sagas set to become a thing of the past? Government proposes to relax planning laws to allow bike storage units in front gardens

"We are proposing to allow bin and bike stores in front gardens under this permitted development right. To increase the number of households who can benefit from the right, we are proposing that bin and bike stores can also be constructed in front gardens of homes in article 2(3) land (which includes conservation areas, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Broads, National Parks and World Heritage Sites)," the consultation states.

In the search for a more efficient planning system, the government will be hoping to avoid future high-profile bike shed disputes, often dubbed 'Shedgate', multiple of which have been reported on this website over the years.

Perhaps the most famous planning kerfuffle came in Leicester back in 2021 when a family was ordered to remove its homemade eco bike shed, because it was not in keeping with the Victorian character of the area.

Leicester bike shed (Kavi Pujara)

Ultimately, the mayor of the city stepped in, stating that planning officers had "got it wrong" and confirming that the shed would be allowed to stay in place.

In November, another homeowner, who installed a wooden bike shed outside his one-bedroom property in a Grade II listed former workhouse, was told he would not be able to keep his "very modest" bicycle storage facility after the council and a planning inspector objected to the structure, claiming it would "lead to a harmful cumulative change to the listed building", that despite the council officer originally believing the shed was located in the back garden as "they had walked past the bike storage without even noticing it".

Bike shed (Telford & Wrekin Council planning portal)

And while not relevant to the UK government's proposals, which will only be available to eligible homeowners in England, last month we spoke to a dismayed Irish cyclist who was accused of "unauthorised development" and threatened with a €13 million fine and two years in prison over a bike shed installed on her driveway.

Cyclist threatened with £11 million fine and two years in prison over bike shed, forcing her to give up cycling (Siobhán Kelly)

Siobhán Kelly, a resident of Clontarf, a coastal suburb north of Dublin, says she was "flabbergasted, upset, and scared" after receiving a letter from Dublin City Council accusing her of "unauthorised development" – an offence which carries a potential prison sentence and a mind-boggling fine.

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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13 comments

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Stephankernow | 1 month ago
1 like

This is absurd its doing no harm whatsoever.

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Deeferdonk | 1 month ago
2 likes

Buy a cheap van. Park it on your front garden and SORN it. Legal bike shed sorted.

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mattw replied to Deeferdonk | 1 month ago
3 likes

Yes, but that doesn't really address it.

It's about getting the system fixed as well.

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don simon fbpe replied to mattw | 1 month ago
2 likes

Ridiculing and demonstrating how stupid the system is is one way of forcing those changes.

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Andrewbanshee | 1 month ago
4 likes

Park a car no problem but put up a small, in height structure is a massive problem apparently.

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wycombewheeler | 1 month ago
5 likes

plan needs two things

1) remove the stipulation this is only for houses wiht no back gardens, houses without access to rear garden should also be allowed (mid terrace)

2) allowance for larger storage if required due to disability

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SecretSam | 1 month ago
2 likes

I thought that if it wasn't a permanent structure, you don't need Planning? You don't need planning for a shed, for example.

As for people protesting, who really cares about a view of the road????

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mark1a replied to SecretSam | 1 month ago
1 like

SecretSam wrote:

I thought that if it wasn't a permanent structure, you don't need Planning? You don't need planning for a shed, for example.

As for people protesting, who really cares about a view of the road????

Outbuildings such as sheds come under permitted development rules (in England - Wales & Scotland have their own legislation). Under these rules, outbuildings cannot be placed forward of the principal elevation of the main house, or be closer to the public highway than the main house. There are other rules too, but this is the one that needs to be changed for bike sheds to be allowed to the front.

 

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Tom_77 replied to SecretSam | 1 month ago
0 likes

SecretSam wrote:

I thought that if it wasn't a permanent structure, you don't need Planning?

Temporary structures are usually exempt if they will be in place for no more than 28 days.

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Sriracha | 1 month ago
1 like

Of course with EAPCs being legally equivalent with bicycles, owners of the next-gen 500W twist'n go double-decker super-cargo e-road-trains will be claiming rights to engine sheds (and turntables) on their front patch. Else discrimination, innit?

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levestane replied to Sriracha | 1 month ago
0 likes
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belugabob replied to Sriracha | 1 month ago
1 like
Sriracha wrote:

Of course with EAPCs being legally equivalent with bicycles, owners of the next-gen 500W twist'n go double-decker super-cargo e-road-trains will be claiming rights to engine sheds (and turntables) on their front patch. Else discrimination, innit?

You may jest, but there's a house in Biggin Hill, with a turntable on the driveway

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Secret_squirrel replied to belugabob | 1 month ago
0 likes

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