Agenda item

Short stay cycle parking in the City of London

Report of the Interim Chief Planning Officer and Development Director.


The Committee received a report of the Interim Chief Planning Officer and Development Director setting out proposals to increase the number of short stay cycle parking spaces in the City of London to be funded by future developments which do not meet the London Plan standards.


A Member thanked Officers for collating this report and stated that she understood the tone of it but highlighted that the London Plan requirements were a minimum and the reality was that the City had met less than 50% of these. She felt that this ought to be readily acknowledged within the report. She added that she was grateful to see solutions broadly set out towards the end of the report and asked whether, bearing in mind that the long stay cycle provision was only marginally above the required standards and clearly did not address the City cultural offering and use outside of office hours, Members could have an update on the proposed solutions in 2-3 months’ time when people would be steadily returning to the City.


Another Member commented that she was a cyclist who used short stay cycle spaces and stated that she found this report quite depressing and was disappointed that this Committee had allowed this deficit to happen. She was pleased to see that there was now a proposal to ask developers to make a financial contribution to address this deficit but she stressed that it was vital that spaces were provided where they were needed and not like those recently installed in Golden Lane because there was space to accommodate these but where they were not really required. The Member questioned whether the Committee could be provided with a map indicating where spaces were and where they were most required. She added that she was also concerned that the report did not include things like the parking provisions for electric bikes or scooters and requested that any future report also make reference to this.


Another Member agreed that he did not feel that this report was very explicit in terms of taking tangible measures to address the problem. It spoke of developing a proposal to ask developers to make a financial contribution to meet the cost of any deficit but he felt that the real problem was that there was a lack of space outside of these developments to site these spaces and he was therefore unclear as to how this might be beneficial. He therefore also requested a further paper in the near future setting out tangible proposals for addressing this problem.


The Interim Chief Planning Officer and Development Director commented that he felt it would be reasonable for Officers to report back to the Committee in 3 months’ time on this matter. He added that the Committee would be considering schemes before this time that would exceed requirements in terms of short stay cycle parking requirements and wound also include some of the elements identified such as cycle hubs within developments. He therefore felt that this was an increasingly positive picture. In terms of widening the brief of the report as suggested, Officers undertook to look into this and report back. It was, however, underlined that this was an immense challenge as the authority were trying to provide generous pavements for pedestrian movement, areas for al fresco dining and retail elements which open on to the street and that all of these were real and unique challenges for the City when compared to other parts of London. He added that his personal view was that Officers had done well to achieve what they had but, nevertheless, the concerns of Members had been noted and these would be addressed in future schemes coming forward that would not only meet but exceed requirements as well as within a future update report.


A Member commented that the Committee were very well aware that there was a lack of space on the City’s streets and that this had always been the case. She felt that, for this reason, the City should have been enforcing requirements around cycle parking provision within the developments themselves to meet their own in-house demands. The Member also felt that the proposed financial contributions from developers were not an effective solution. She suggested that it might be useful to undertake a survey of City developments to ascertain how many of the cycle spaces within their units were actually utilised and whether or not these could be made available for use by the public. Finally, the Member sought assurances that any financial contributions that developers might be asked to make toward the funding of cycle spaces going forward would be ringfenced solely for this purpose.


Another Member agreed that Member focus and oversight was needed here and supported the request for a further report on this within the next 3 months. He added that, with people due to return to the City after the lifting of lockdown, this was a key time to address the matter as this would be when provision was most needed. Secondly, on the issue of proposed financial contributions from developers, the Member stated that it was spaces that were required and not funds. He also questioned how any financial contributions would be calculated and what the basis of this would be. The Interim Chief Planning Officer and Development Director reported that Officers were currently working up a proposed formula to present to the Committee for consideration and underlined that the proposed financial contributions were just one of a number of solutions.


Another Member stated that any future report to Committee should make a firm proposal on any financial contributions given that the implementation of this could be a lengthy process. He added that it was clear that the most likely potential solution would involve bringing back into use any subterranean spaces that were not currently in use and that there would be real costs associated with this. He therefore proposed that any future policy should make it more expensive to developers not to provide sufficient cycle space than to meet the requirements.


The Interim Chief Planning Officer and Development Director accepted the points made around the historical imbalance in particularly short-term cycle parking spaces. He did, however, highlight that three of the most significant schemes that had been considered by this Committee over the past year had all exceeded standards in terms of both short and long term cycle parking spaces and it was felt that this was evidence of an improving picture. He assured the Committee that the team would now liaise on a strategic level to provide a future report to the Committee. He confirmed that this could also include a map detailing where current cycle spaces were situated in the City.


The Chair commented that it was clear that the Committee wanted to take a hard line in terms of insisting that short stay cycle space standards were met and would be keen to ensure that any financial contributions decided upon going forward did not make it cheaper or easier for developers to avoid meeting these. He agreed with the Interim Chief Planning Officer that things were now on the right trajectory. He highlighted that there was actually a 104% compliance rate in terms of long stay cycle spaces as opposed to just 41% for short stay spaces and that the balance here needed to be addressed with the current pandemic serving to further highlight the importance of this.  


RESOLVED - That Members note the report and request a further report on the matter within the next 3 months.

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