Users of cycle hangars in Lewisham face ‘shameful’ rental cost increase

By Grainne Cuffe, local democracy reporter

The cost of using a cycle hangar in Lewisham is set to increase by a third after Lewisham Council withdrew its subsidy.  

Cycle hangars are on street, secure cycle parking storage units for use by members of the public.

Cyclehoop, the company that provides Bikehangers in Lewisham, recently notified users of the hike.  

The same company released figures last year that suggested more than 35,000 Londoners were on waiting lists for cycle parking space. There are concerns the lack of space is a significant barrier to people cycling.  

Cyclehoop said the increase – £45 to £60 per year – was down to Lewisham Council withdrawing the subsidy it provides. 

It comes as a Freedom of Information request revealed that the council lost out on £1.8 million in income from parking charges between March 3 and June 1, 2020. 

The council made the decision to relax parking rules for all drivers, not just key workers, in the wake of the pandemic.  

Now Lewisham has been criticised for failing to charge drivers, while increasing costs for cyclists, particularly in light of the climate emergency.  

Parking is controlled on only 25 per cent of the borough’s streets.

A spokesperson for campaign group DeptfordFolk said: “Shocked with Lewisham Council’s commitment to sustainable travel going low thanks to the news that secure cycle hangers go up in price […]  

“Controlled parking in Lewisham remains at a London low. Lewisham’s green credentials dive. Shameful.” 

Local Matthew Sparkes, a trustee of the London Cycling Campaign, said the move is “totally misguided”.    

He said: “I don’t pay a penny to store my car on the street all day long, every day.  

“We need to be charging much more for cars and slashing the price of secure bike storage.” 

A message from Cyclehoop to those renting bike hangars laid the blame with the council. 

It stated: “We are writing to advise you that Lewisham Council have carried out a review of the annual subsidy that they currently provide toward the cost of your subscription.  

“The council have taken the decision to withdraw the current subsidy of £15 per year with effect from Monday, April 15, 2021. 

“As a direct result of the decision that has been taken by Lewisham Council, the annual cost of your subscription will increase from £45 per year to £60 per year.  

“The change will come into effect when your subscription next renews. If you are not sure when your subscription is due to renew, please feel free to contact us and we can confirm this for you.” 

Cllr Sophie McGeevor, cabinet member for environment and transport said the move was down to a lack of Government funding.   

She said: “Since declaring a climate emergency in 2019, Lewisham Council has developed a Climate Emergency Action plan that sets out the steps we are taking to make a lasting positive impact on the environment.  

“This has included measures to support sustainable transport, tackling fuel poverty, retro fitting community centres and homes, and increasing walking and cycling across the borough.  

“The council has committed to rolling out cycle storage across the borough and 112 cycle hangers are now installed.  

“We want to be able to do more of this work but lack of funding from Government has meant that we have been forced to withdraw the subsidy for these measures from April 2021. 

“There is a significant amount of work being done to develop a controlled parking programme for the borough, which will address commuter parking and air quality.  

“One of the main focusses within the extension of our parking programme includes providing more secure cycle storage and considering how we can make it more affordable, particularly to the least well off.  

“Every year requests for cycle hangars have outstripped supply, and this year the number of requests have been unprecedented, reflecting the growth in cycling in Lewisham and London as a whole.  

“The council sees this demand as very positive and will endeavour to match it in the months and years ahead.” 

 

 


 

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