Cyclists in Kingston-upon-Thames have somewhere safe to put their bikes on Saturdays – at least until the end of October – thanks to a new anti-theft scheme.
A secure 140-space bike park at Kingston’s Guildhall – usually only open to council staff – will be available to any cyclist each Saturday until the end of next month.
The scheme was prompted by local cycling organisation Kingston Cycling Campaign (KCC), which asked for urgent action to address an increase in bicycle thefts in the borough – where 363 bikes were stolen between January and August 2009.
The Guildhall's cycle parking compound was completed earlier this year. It has a number of shelters in a controlled-entry yard, which is monitored by CCTV.
When the KCC realised the bike park wasn’t used at weekends, they approached the council and asked if it could be opened to everyone.
Jon Fray of the KCC told the Kingston Guardian, "We are pleased to see that this pound is being put to good use on Saturdays. We hope that cyclists will use it and that the facility can be made available on a more permanent basis next year on Saturdays and Sundays too."
Each Saturday the free compound will be open from 9am to 6pm. It will be staffed by Police Community Support Officers, who will provide security advice and discount vouchers for cycle locks.