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Rail operator faces threat of legal action over broken station cycle security promise

Cambridge City Council considers planning enforcement against Greater Anglia due to thefts at UK's biggest bike parking facility...

Cambridge City Council is reportedly threatening legal action against Greater Anglia regarding bike thefts at the Cycle Point next to the city’s railway station, the largest such facility in the UK.

The issue was raised last week at a meeting of the city council, reports Cambridge News, with Liberal Democrat councillor Anthony Martinelli highlighting crime statistics that reveal that despite 100 reported thefts of bikes in the past year in the area around the station, no prosecutions have followed.

He said: “This problem is increasing. The situation is an embarrassment to our cycling city.”

Opened in 2016, the Cycle Point has space for around 3,000 bikes but despite CCTV and pledges by Greater Anglia to increase security patrols, theft remains a problem.

Earlier this year, there was a spate of thefts of wheels and saddles from bikes left at the Cycle Point, and some of the bike racks have been criticised since they can easily be dismantled by determined thieves.

The Labour-controlled council’s executive member for transport and community safety, Labour’s Nicky Massey, said that the local authority was investigating “the possibility of planning enforcement against Cycle Point,” which like Cambridge station is operated by Greater Anglia.

The rail operator is owned by Abellio, the international subsidiary of Dutch state railway operator NS, and the bike park was heralded as being based on similar facilities in the Netherlands.

Katie Thornburrow, executive councillor for planning, said: “A condition for consent was that they have this management plan, but it was never sent off.

 “It was submitted to the planning department but there were concerns at the time regarding monitoring thefts and it was sent back to Greater Anglia, but an updated version never came to the council.”

In an amendment in a motion before the council, Labour says that officials are looking at "the potential breach of an S106 agreement" at the location.

Section 106 of the Town and Country Act 1990 provides that local authorities may place obligations on developers in association with an application for planning permission, such as requiring them to put infrastructure in place.

A spokesperson for Greater Anglia said: “We would like to reassure customers that we are doing all we can to keep cycles safe at Cambridge Cycle Point.

“We are working with Cambridgeshire Police to host a series of information events at the Cycle Point, where they will be offering theft prevention advice, registering cycles, and reminding customers how they can report any issues.

 “If Cambridge City Council contacts us directly we can discuss this issue and the work we are carrying out to increase security at Cycle Point.”

Simon joined road.cc 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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