The Cyclist-Supporting Green Council That's Now Attacking City Cyclists
Have you heard the one about the cyclist-supporting Green Council that is now telling cyclists to remove their bike sheds by the end of the month?
Given the Greens' much-vaunted backing for cycling specifically and for sustainable transport policies in general, this latest example of their bureaucratic hypocrisy has all the makings of another Green farce for Brighton.
It seems a total of at least 21 small bike sheds in front of terraced houses in Loder Road, Bates Road, Herbert Road and Balfour Road in Withdean have been targeted by BHCC planning officers so far. An enforcement letter has been sent demanding the immediate removal of the bike sheds on the grounds that they require planning permission, something which, for good measure, the letter makes clear is unlikely to be given.
For those families affected it's causing great concern. For some, their bike storage has been in place for years, it is discreet and, in one case, mainly hidden by a bush. No neighbours have expressed concern. For those families with young children the shed is used to store all of the family bicycles. Keeping them at the back of the terraced property would mean dragging them through the house every time they wanted to use them. By storing them safely in front of the property the bikes are used far more, promoting a healthier life-style, encouraging the next generation onto cycles and reducing vehicle pollution in Brighton - all key aims of the current Green administration.
So why are BHCC's own planning officers now undermining those aims? All planning decisions are, by definition, a form of council/applicant compromise and should not only take account of the individual circumstances of each application but also, where appropriate, should be in line with, or at least reflect, the local authority's publicly mandated political direction. So, instead of penalising residents in this blatant, politically contradictory, way, BHCC could be taking the lead in promoting the green policies its current administration so vocally advocates by leaving the bike sheds alone.
The people of Brighton will have the opportunity to vote for the credible, pragmatic, common sense Conservative policies that the city so sorely needs next May, but for now, I and Withdean Councillors Ann and Ken Norman and ward candidate Nick Taylor will continue to directly help Brighton's residents where we can. We are therefore demanding that any current bike shed enforcement notices be indefinitely postponed while further talks take place to ensure the bike sheds stay. If you or anyone you know in the city is affected by this please do let me know
July 21st 2014