By Linus Rees
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/