Clergy at one of London’s leading Roman Catholic churches, Brompton Oratory, are opposing plans by Transport for London (TfL) to place a docking station housing 28 bicycles for the city’s new Cycle Hire Scheme on the pavement outside.
Instead, in what is no doubt a well-meant but perhaps culturally insensitive suggestion, they have proposed that it be placed just down the road outside the Ismaili Centre, a community centre and meeting place for followers of the Ismaili branch of Islam, which is led by the billionaire racehorse owner and breeder, the Aga Khan.
According to the London Evening Standard, Reverend Julian Large claims that the bikes will cause disturbance to churchgoers as well as creating a safety hazard outside the church, which reportedly includes former Prime Minister Tony Blair among its congregation.
The newspaper reports that other local residents have also raised concerns about the amount of pavement space that will be lost to the bike hire station and the dangers to pedestrians of people cycling on the pavement.
Bike docking stations for the TfL scheme have met with resistance elsewhere in London, successfully in the case of one proposed for the Islington street in which Mayor of London Boris Johnson lives. However, the Evening Standard says that the one outside Brompton Oratory is due to be approved by the local planning committee.
London’s Cycle Hire Scheme will come into effect next summer and will allow 6,000 bikes to be hired from 400 docking stations across TfL’s Zone 1.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.