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Hackney woman told to knock down bike shed - because it's too tall

Jemima Sharpa had shed built after council declined to put Cyclehoops on street - but only applied for planning permission afterwards

A woman in Hackney who had a bike shed built in her front garden for her family and her neighbours to use has been told to knock it down – because it was too tall.

According to the Hackney Gazette, Jemima Sharpe commissioned the shed, which can accommodate five bicycles, from a specialist company, and applied for retrospective planning permission.

But Hackney Council has told her that the shed, which is in a conservation area close to London Fields, is too tall at 1.9 metres and “did not make a positive contribution to the area.”

Ms Sharpe appealed the decision to the Planning Inspectorate, which upheld the council’s decision, and has unsuccessfully offered to reduce its height.

She told the newspaper: "I'm pretty mortified at the thought that anyone would be offended by it.

"When they built it I wasn't imagining it to be as tall as it is. I'd be really happy to lower it but not to destroy it.

"I hate having this hanging over my head, it's really stressful. If they come to take it down, I'm just not going to."

She and her neighbours decided to have the shed built after they asked the council to install Cyclehoops in the street but were told it was not a high priority area.

"It was at this point that both myself and my neighbour installed bike storage,” she added.

"I have offered on several occasions to lower the height, which seems the only sensible solution. But Hackney Council don't seem to care about my son and neighbours keeping their bikes on the road, and yet they claim to be interested in environmental targets. It's totally senseless."

The council said: "The bike shed's height, bulk and position did not make a positive contribution to the street and the retrospective application was rejected.

"The Planning Inspectorate has since dismissed the applicant's appeal against the Council's decision.

"The C=council supports sustainable transport, and offers a range of cycle storage, including lockers on estates, on-street bike parking and bike hangars,” it added.

“The council has just taken over running the borough's bike hangars, with plans to build hundreds of extra spaces in the next few years."

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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