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Westminster's bike hangar scheme blocked by... Westminster

A bizarre internal tussle between Westminster City Council departments has lead to council-proposed bike hangars being blocked to protect the 'conservation zone'...

Westminster City Council's planning department has recommended that plans to install Cyclehoop Bike Hangars, put forward by the council's transport department, be quashed.

The planning department claims that the Cyclehoop Hangars, pictured above, are inappropriate for the location - on Ilbert Street in Queens Park - because of their "size, location and appearance."

Cyclehoop's Bike Hangars are 2.5m by 2m shelters with secure bike parking facilities beneath a horizontally hinged lid. 

The planning department's rationale behind the rebuffing of the transport department's plan is that Queen's Park is one of 56 Conservation Areas in the borough of Westminster. Each of the 56 areas have been designated as such due to their "special architectural and historic interest," according to Westminster City Council's website.

A statement from the council read: "‘Because of their size, location and appearance the proposed covered bicycle storage structures would fail to maintain or improve (preserve or enhance) the character and appearance of the Queen’s Park Estate Conservation Area.

"This would not meet S25 and S28 of Westminster’s City Plan (November 2016) and DES 1, DES 7 and DES 9 of our Unitary Development Plan that we adopted in January 2007."

S25 and S28 are subsections of Westminster's City Plan that look to protect the area's heritage and design asthetics to preserve the borough's "high quality and historic environment."

>Read more: Westminster Council criticised for "mind boggling" road casualty figures

However, Queens Park councillor Paul Dimoldenberg was dumbfounded at the fact that the council had decided to block the installation of bike hangars over the area's conservation status.

"Providing bike hangars for local residents would be adding to local amenities and it is crazy that the Council’s Planners should use the Conservation Area status of Queen’s Park to refuse the Council’s own highways proposal," Cllr Dimoldenberg said.

"The Council now looks completely stupid with one part of the Council not knowing what another part is doing. It’s about time the Council tried some common sense.”

Westminster's Labour Group Leader, Cllr Adam Hug highlighted the borough of Westminster's failings in providing its residents with effective and secure bike parking facilities, claiming that the council isn't listening to cyclists and residents across the borough.

>Read more: Westminster Council "ignoring cycle safety concerns"

He said: "Westminster is far behind a number of other boroughs in providing on street secure cycle parking and Labour have been pushing the council to move ahead with this pilot and quickly roll-out hangars to areas where residents want them.

"The planning committee must listen to residents of Queen’s Park and cyclists across Westminster so that this cycle hangar trial can proceed."

A final decision on the Queens Park hangars is set to be made on Tuesday January 31 before the Committe.

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