A controversial bike hangar, which incited a furious backlash from outraged motorists in November when it was installed in a car parking space, has been removed by Brighton and Hove City Council after it was crushed and damaged over the weekend by a suspected “large vehicle”.
The cycle hangar in Norfolk Square, one of 60 installed in the city since July 2022, appears to have been damaged while residents’ bikes were stored inside it (a photo of the damage, which seems to show a crack in the unit’s roof, causing the front of the hangar to pop out, can be found on the Argus’ website).
However, the council has said that no bikes were damaged or stolen following the “unfortunate incident”, believed to have caused by a motorist, and that a replacement hangar will be delivered “soon”.
The new cycle hangars, which offer secure storage for six bicycles, have proven a somewhat surprising and enduring source of contention in Brighton and Hove in recent months.
With 150 hangars expected to be rolled out across the city by the spring, and a waiting list stretching into the hundreds, they have proven hugely popular with many local residents looking for somewhere to securely store their bikes.
However, the units have also attracted the ire of some locals who claim that they are an eyesore and take up too much space, despite the hangars being able to fit in a space usually reserved for one car.
While opposition to the hangars appears to be spread across the city – earlier this month we reported that a group of unhappy residents surrounded contractors preparing to install one of the units in Hove – the hangar in Norfolk Square has undoubtedly generated the most outrage, both on social media and in the press.
In November, we reported that the positioning of that particular hangar, taking up two residents permit car parking spaces, was met with such outrage that the council was forced to “investigate” its controversial placement.
One resident described the hangar’s installation as “madness” and as part of the “continuing war against motorists” apparently waged by Brighton and Hove City Council.
“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,” 72-year-old Bill Young said in November.
Judging by Young’s comments, it’s perhaps no surprise then that opponents of the cycle hangar scheme aren’t too displeased by its destruction and temporary disappearance in Norfolk Square.
“It looked as if a heavy weight had been dropped on the top, forcing the up and over lid to buckle and open at the bottom,” Laura King, who has consistently campaigned against the hangars on social media, told the Argus.
“It's good to see this hangar gone from Norfolk Square today and two stolen residential parking spaces back.”
However, the council has insisted that a replacement hangar is on the way, though it’s not clear yet whether the forced removal of the original unit will prompt a rethink of its positioning in the square.
A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “This is a very unfortunate incident. Our contractor has now taken the damaged hangar away today and they will be delivering a replacement soon.
“At this stage it’s unclear what caused the damage, but our contractor believes a large vehicle may have crashed into it.
“We’re checking whether there is any CCTV footage that could help pinpoint the cause.
“Before removing the hangar our contractor got in touch with the residents whose bikes were in there. Our understanding is that no bikes were stolen or damaged.”
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.