Gordon Mansions residents win battle against disturbance from cycle hire scheme

Fitzrovia residents made a deputation to Camden Council’s Development Control Committee to argue against the placing of cycle hire stations outside their homes.

By Linus Rees

Transport for London Cycle Station being re-stocked with cycles

TfL Cycle hire station in Scala Street. Never mind cycling on the pavement, this cycle hire re-stocking vehicle and trailer has to park on the pavement. Camden Council officers forget to take into account the re-stocking of the cycle station and a place for the vehicle and trailer to park.

A delegation of residents from Gordon Mansions, Torrington Place, Fitzrovia, won their battle against Transport for London (TfL) who wanted to place a cycle docking station on the street outside their homes. The residents had argued that the docking station in Huntley Street which can be used 24 hours a day and seven days a week would cause disturbance.

Councillors at the Development Control Committee on 5 August voted overwhelmingly in favour of residents who made a deputation to the committee. The residents led by Sandra Wheen stated they welcomed the Mayor of London’s cycle scheme as a positive contribution to transport in London. However, Ms Wheen argued that the placement of the docking stations just a few metres from residents’ homes would cause disturbance during night time, and that the relocating existing refuse and recycling facilities would be detrimental to their residential amenity.

Representatives from Transport for London argued that the docking stations had been designed to be nearly silent in operation and that having the stations next to homes was an advantage for residents. A minority of councillors supported the proposed location of the docking station saying that it would benefit residents and that they would get used to it.

Bloomsbury ward councillor Adam Harrison spoke in support of the residents citing complaints received about a docking station in Marchmont Street. Mr Harrison stated that people often used the bikes as places to sit late at night and rang the bells on the bicycles.

The Development Control Committee was also told that the docking stations would be re-stocked by vehicles with trailers 24 hours a day seven days a week. Those arguing against the placing of the docking in Huntley Street said that it was not the design of the cycles and the docking of the cycles which was a problem, but the noise nuisance caused by their maintenance and people using the cycles to sit on late at night.

One councillor asked why there were no cycle docking stations in Tottenham Court Road. This would have been a far better place to locate the stations for anyone wishing to use the facility. A proposal to situate a docking station at Byng Place was previously refused because it would have been near a listed building.

The proposed placement of the docking stations also meant that the refuse and recycling bins outside Gordon Mansions would have to be moved elsewhere. Residents had previously fought a battle to have the refuse and recycling facilities placed in an appropriate position.

TfL have given the task of selecting suitable sites for the cycle hire stations to local government. Transport officers from Camden Council then put forward proposals for the location of the stations on behalf of TfL.

View webcast 5 August Development Control Committee http://www.camden.ukcouncil.net/site/

7 Comments on Gordon Mansions residents win battle against disturbance from cycle hire scheme

  1. If my local councillors block a cycle hire point right outside my house then I will cycle around to every one of their houses on a boris bike at 3am every morning and ring the bell repeatedly while yelling “what on earth is wrong with you”. I wonder how many Gordon mansions residents are narked because they now have to walk further to a cycle hire point.

    • You are never very far from a cycle hire station in Fitzrovia. Whatever direction you are heading you’ll come across a hire point pretty soon. Enjoy the walk. I do. Or I ride one of my bicycles. I don’t have a bicycle bell and I don’t shout about it. Gordon Mansions residents are not anti-cycling and they have publicly stated this.

      Take a look at the picture which accompanies this story. The positioning of these docking stations has been badly planned because of ignorance of the council officials who appear to be clueless as to the operation of the cycle hire scheme.

      As an everyday cyclist I could see there would be problems with disturbance with the vehicles moving cycles around.

      It’s TfL’s scheme yet there are no cycle stations along Tottenham Court Road. This is a road that TfL control. Why is that? It’s because TfL are not as committed to cycling as they’d like people to think they are. They don’t want to take motor vehicle space out of Tottenham Court Road because they want to keep motor vehicles flowing and they don’t want cycles or cyclists in the way.

      Yet they are happy to ask the local government to cram these docking stations into narrow side streets where all they’ll bother is local residents, not motor traffic.

      Gordon Mansions residents were right to object and the councillors were right to support them.

      Linus Rees
      assistant editor, Fitzrovia News, and cyclist.

  2. Wow, good job on balanced reporting there: “Gordon Mansions residents were right to object and the councillors were right to support them.”

    Seriously, the things are damn near silent. I too live close to that proposed location and received the consultation documents. I was actually *excited* that I’d have a docking station on my door step. How convenient!

    How often the vocal, busybody minority spoil things for the rest of us.

    • “Wow, good job on balanced reporting there.” Actually that was a comment upon a comment. But as a community newspaper we do tend to stick up for residents in the face of corporate power.

      No-one was arguing that the docking stations make a noise in operation. The cycles are not the problem in themselves and the residents said they welcomed the scheme. But as you can see from the picture the of the vehicle in Scala Street the operational logistics of the scheme have not been thought through. The cycle stations need to be placed in the right places. Bloomsbury ward has the lowest level of car ownership in the London Borough of Camden. Three-quarters of the people in my residential block cycle.

      I read your blog post about your experience of the scheme. I’m glad you are enjoying using the cycles. I’ve been cycling around London for 14 years. I’m probably about twice your age. But this old man needs only one fixed gear to get him around London. Cycling gives you freedom. You don’t need a Sat-Nav. Come off it.

      Linus, assistant editor, Fitzrovia News

      • Hi, thanks for replying. Yes, I was probably being a little bit facetious with my first comment. I stand by the comment on lack of balance though.

        I’m merely seeking to point out that it isn’t victory for *all* of local residents, including those that live in Ridgemount Gardens, Gordon Mansions and the rest of Huntley Street.

        Thanks for reading my blogpost. You must be fitter than I, regardless of age. I know I don’t *need* a sat-nav – it’s tongue-in-cheek, but it would help me stop getting lost on a bike, as I recently did.

  3. There’s quite a discussion going on at http://www.borisbikes.co.uk/topic.php?id=119&replies=12 about the placing of docking stations.

    Linus

  4. Sorry, but this is classic NIMBYism. It’s hard to place them anywhere in this area that isn’t residential. These kind of attitudes are why the scheme cost SO much and why schemes like the cycle hire are so hard to get going in this country. Living in such a central London location does have it’s downsides and one of those is we all need to share the space and consider more than ourselves.

    “But as a community newspaper we do tend to stick up for residents in the face of corporate power.”
    Damn ‘corporates’ installing their subsidised bike schemes near my house. Outrageous!

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