Brighton & Hove City Council has responded to backlash from angered motorists and said it is "investigating" after a bike hangar was pictured installed in a car parking space.
The cycle hangar in Norfolk Square is one of 60 installed in the city since July, each offering secure storage for six bicycles in a space the size of which could otherwise house a single car.
However, the positioning of the hangar — taking up two resident permit car parking spaces — was met with outrage, one resident calling it "sheer incompetence or the continuing war by Brighton & Hove City Council against motorists" before later telling the local paper he "doesn't have a problem with the hangars", just the "madness" of one "that takes up two parking spaces".
"It creates this hate between residents and car owners. I think it should be removed and put inside the square and that way there wouldn’t be a problem," Bill Young told the Argus.
In response to a question from road.cc, Brighton & Hove City Council confirmed it is "investigating" and is "aware of concerns" from residents.
The council was keen to add, however, that it has been "delighted" by the overall response to the new cycle hangars and "residents have wanted them for a long time", something apparent from the demand for available spaces.
"We began with the installation of 20 in July and saw a 100 per cent take-up rate in just a few weeks," Councillor Steve Davis, co-chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee explained.
"Since then we have installed 40 more, and all but one of the total of 360 spaces have now been snapped up. This means that 359 residents now have somewhere safe and secure to store their cycles.
"There are also around 300 people on waiting lists for spaces. We are currently looking at more hangar locations. We will have a total of 150 cycle hangars installed by spring of next year – that's 900 cycle spaces in total.
"We know that if we're to get more people travelling actively and sustainably, we have to give them the right infrastructure. Cycle hangars provide people who live in homes with little or no storage space an opportunity to store their bikes safely and securely."
However, not everyone shared Cllr Davis' enthusiasm for the scheme, another resident telling the Argus — despite the roaring demand and growing waiting list — the hangars are "unnecessary" and "take up paid parking spaces on the streets".
"This hangar would only take up one space but the thing is they could have put it in a corner of the park. I think they are being used to take up car parking spaces. I think people will always take their bikes indoors, so who are these actually for?" they asked.
Another reply to the original Facebook post came from a motorist who says he pays "£235 a year, up from £195 last year" for a parking permit and "often spends ten to 20 minutes trying to park near my house. Please explain what I am paying for, and how these overpriced boxes are acceptable?"
Brighton is split into zones with car parking permits in 'high demand' areas such as Norfolk Square costing motorists between £110 and £385 a year depending on the emissions output of their vehicle.
The council states on its website that some car parking spaces "may be repurposed to accommodate cycle hangars" which are rented by residents for three, six or 12 months at a time at a cost of "around £1 a week per cycle space".
The hangars are accessed by a mobile app or lock and key and are, the council tells residents, "the size of approximately one parking space, and can store six standard sized bicycles".
It remains to be seen if the bike hangar at Norfolk Square will remain in place, but we will keep you updated when there is any more on this story...
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.