Regulations which ban home owners from putting up bike sheds without planning permission are set to be scrapped in a bid to encourage more people to cycle.
Cycle campaign group Spokes revealed they had been contacted by seven households across Edinburgh in the space of ten months who had been refused permission for bike-sheds in front gardens or told to remove existing structures. Under existing regulations, residents must apply for planning permission if they are erecting a bike shed in their front garden. Each application costs £192.
Sheds in back gardens do not necessarily need planning permission, but height restrictions of 4m overall apply outside of conservation areas.
Those installed in conservation areas are limited to a maximum size of 4 sqm.
The strict stance by Edinburgh City Council has come despite the authority’s ambitious target for 15 per cent of all commuter journeys in the city to be completed by bike by 2020.
And city planners have now agreed to look at relaxing the hardline position on sheds, while the council is also investigating a roll-out of on-street bike storage facilities for tenements across the Capital.
Green transport spokesman Councillor Nigel Bagshaw, who put the successful motion to the meeting, said he wanted standard dimensions under which bike sheds could be built freely by home owners.
He said: “We want to remove any possible restrictions that get in the way of people using their bicycles more often for work and pleasure.
“The planning officials don’t like the idea of any constructions being put up in front gardens in conservation areas. My feeling was that it’s more important that we encourage people to use their bicycles. This is all about providing clarity so householders know what they can do.”
Spokes board member Ian Maxwell said: “We’ve been contacted by people who have had enforcement action taken against them. Some of them have managed to get through it, others haven’t. One of the obstacles that people find to cycling is if it’s not easy for them to store a bike inside their house. There should be guidelines so that you can allow people to have certain types of secure storage in the front [garden] because otherwise you’re frustrating them.”
City planning convener Councillor Ian Perry said: “We actively support and encourage cycling in the city, but there are also concerns from members of the public about the visual impact of bike storage.
“We need to see how best we can achieve a balance between these and are happy to look into this.”
A trial to determine whether enclosed bike storage hubs could be built outside tenements across Edinburgh to encourage cycling is expected to take place in coming months.
Cllr Perry explained: “Officers are currently working on the detail of the proposals and this will be announced as soon as possible.”