A large new cycle park in Cambridge has been branded as 'utterly useless' by cyclists as it has to be accessed via steep, turning stairs and through sets of fire doors making it hard to get a bike into it.
The extensive cycle storage facility is situated in the basement of the new One Station Square building in Cambridge but can only be accessed by stairs. Its inclusion in the building was to encourage the building's occupants to travel by bike rather than car.
Cyclist and former city councillor Chris Howell said that he is "full of admiration for the cyclists that have managed to get their bikes down there".
Writing in his blog, Howell appraised the cycle park, saying: "A fit, able-bodied cyclist with a light bike and no panniers would struggle with these stairs - anyone else - I suspect the cycle park is utterly useless."
Howell points out that there is an access ramp, but this is only to be used by cars.
"Any cyclist daring to try using this faces the wrath of the building managers," said Howell.
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"Remember this is a brand new, high profile office building in the cycling capital of the UK - how has something so rubbish been built? Do we blame the developers who built it, or the Council that gave it planning permission?"
Several cyclists have given up using the facility, and now park their bikes elsewhere.
Cambridge News reports that the city's cycling and walking officer attempted to get developer Brookgate to alter its design during the planning application process, to provide easier access for cyclists. However, this was ignored.
"The developer did not accept this recommendation and planning officers concluded that refusal of planning permission for commercial development on these grounds could not be justified against planning policies in the 2006 Cambridge Local Plan,” said Sarah Dyer, Cambridge City Council development manager.
Station Square, situated outside the building and also created by Brookgate, had previously attracted criticism from cycling campaigners in the city for being too car-focused.
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