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London church objects to Cycle Hire Scheme docking station

Stick it over the road next to the Ismaili Centre, say clergy

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.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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