This is an interesting case of someone putting in cycle storage in their front garden and now being told to remove it. What do you think? A positive solution to debunking cars from our front gardens or a carbuncle of a bike shed? Would they have done better with a commercial design (see Lifecycle’s guide to cycle parking), or a custom one from the Bike Shed Company.    Please give us your thoughts via our Facebook Group.

In defence of the bike shed’s creators, here’s an email sent by them to the council: 

From: calista rocket calistarocket@xxxxx

Subject: Bicycle Storage facilities

Date: 17 June 2015 10:16:57 BST

To: city.transport@xxxxx

It was suggested you might have an interest in our case concerning our cycle shed with the Bristol Planning Department. If you have the time I would appreciate your comments on the following. We recently commissioned a bike shelter for our front garden (Easton BS5), unfortunately completely unaware or the planning restriction on building ‘forward of the front elevation’ of the property.

Unfortunately despite our efforts to include our neighbours in the design process we seem to have upset 2 of of neighbours who feel that the shelter impacts on their view down the street and have made complaints to the planning department. We are sorry to have upset them but are feeling frustrated that they have been, and still are unwilling to engage in conversation about how best we can meet our needs for cycle storage whilst mitigating the impacts of it on other residents. I should say at this point that feedback on our shelter has been overwhelmingly positive from other residents and passers by.

The long and short is that a few weeks back the planning department asked us to remove the shelter within ten days. They have not invited us to apply for planning. We have not removed the shelter as the time-scale was impracticable and we feel we haven’t had the chance to have a discussion with them about the structure in question.

We have sent a reply to the planning department outlining our needs for cycle storage at the front of property (back injury, security, ease of use etc) and suggesting that the planning department may need to adapt its planning procedure for cycle storage if it is to encourage uptake of cycling in the city. We feel that cycle storage provision should not require planning but that perhaps the council could issue some guidelines that builders should comply with.

It seems to us that in the year of our green capital the council should not be shy to push forward changes where needed. Research shows that one of the biggest barriers to uptake of cycling is the inadequate provision of bicycle storage for cyclists. Surely if we are to improve pollution levels and the gridlock in the city we need to be implementing new policy. The Bristol Cycle Strategy which addresses the challenges and barriers that keep people off their bikes. claims ‘We won’t be afraid to try things out, pushing the boundaries of legislation and petitioning government for review and reform where needed’. There is clearly the case for a change in planning law to enable and support the creation of cycle storage facilities which facilitate the uptake of cycling and enable the council to achieve the targets they set out in The Bristol Cycle Strategy.

I’m really interested to hear what you think about this and how you think we can best work together collectively as a community  to take the bold steps necessary to facilitate the uptake of cycling in a sensitive way that has minimal impact to others.

I have attached a copy of the letter we have sent to the planning department, which contains more information. There is also a photo of our bike shelter so you can see what we have built. It is timber construction with front opening doors and a sedum living roof.

Thanks ever so much for taking the time to read this. We really look forward to receiving any comments or suggestions you might have.

Below: Our bicycle shed; flowering sedums on the rooftop garden; 2 of the frequent visitors to the rooftop garden- a bee and a ladybird