Discount supermarket operator Lidl is facing a planning probe following a complained that the position of cycle parking in a new branch of the chain in the Forest of Dean is not in the same position as it was when plans were first submitted and will make it easier for thieves to steal bikes.
Local resident Richard Burton told Gloucestershire Live that instead of cycle parking being located close to the front entrance to the store on Newerne Street in Lydney, trolleys were positioned there instead, with the bike stands instead out of sight to the rear of the shop.
“The thing about cycling is that you need to know that when you go back to your bike it's still there,” he explained.
“The cycle parking on the plans is near the entrance and overlooked by everyone walking in and out, deterring bike thieves, but they’ve actually put them as far from the entrance as possible," Mr Burton contiinued, describing it as “a paradise for thieves.”
The provision of cycle parking was a condition of the German-owned business securing planning permission in late 2020 through demonstrating that it had a travel plan in place.
The travel plan had been required by Gloucestershire County Council, the local highways authority, which said in a comment to the planning application that the supermarket could help encourage people to travel to work or go shopping by cycling, or taking public transport.
However, it added that it would be “necessary to ensure that cycle stands and direct access routes are provided.”
The business said in its travel plan that there would be space for 12 bicycles, but Mr Burton said that the problem did not relate to how much cycle parking there is at the store, but rather where the facility is located.
“In this day and age, with petrol at record prices, the obesity crisis, road congestion getting worse, climate change and local pollution, we have to make alternatives to the private car as easy and practical as possible,” he said.
“Cycling isn’t for everyone, but a lot of people would cycle if they knew that they had somewhere safe to leave their bike and it wasn’t going to be stolen.
“Lidl got the car parking right, the disabled parking right, the electric car parking right, and the motorcycle parking right; the only one they got wrong is the greenest, healthiest, cheapest mode of transport,” he added.
A spokesperson for Forest of Dean District Council told Gloucestershire Live: “We have received a complaint regarding the cycle racks at the Lidl store in Lydney being erected in a different position to that shown in the approved scheme.
“As a result, the complaint and relevant details were forwarded on to the Planning Enforcement Team who are in the process of investigating. We are waiting for the results of that investigation.”
Last year, the Bicycle Association and the Cycle Rail Working Group published a new set of Standards for Public Cycle Parking, which they recommended be adopted immediately by purchasers of public cycle equipment.
The standards are contained in a 45-page document, including guidance on issues such as where cycle parking should be located, saying: “Cycle parking should be as close to the desired destination as possible – especially when catering for commuters and for shoppers.
“It is a waste of time and money putting in facilities which are inconvenient to use (e.g. at the far side of a car park). The location should also be easily seen and identifiable as cycle parking.
“The location should ideally be under passive surveillance (i.e. in a busy area or overlooked by occupied buildings) covered by CCTV and well lit. Sloping locations should be avoided if possible.”
It’s not the first time we’ve covered cycle parking at a branch of Lidl.
Just last month, we reported on our live blog how a customer of its store in Hornchurch, east London, welcomed the fact that the cycle parking there was located by the front door – but was less than impressed by the fact it was impossible to park a bike there, since the racks were filled with potted plants and bags of compost.
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.