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Cycle hire scheme launches in July but docking stations hit planning trouble

The Mayor and Transport for London have announced that the cycle hire scheme will launch on Friday 30 July. More than 40 docking stations are planned in SE1 but not all locations have found favour with residents.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson originally said that the scheme, which will eventually put 6,000 hire cycles at around 400 locations across zone 1, would be up and running in May 2010 but a 30 July launch has now been confirmed.

Planning permission has been granted for about 40 stations around SE1 and preparatory work has already been carried out at many of the locations.

However some of the proposed locations have failed to gain planning permission in the face of hostility from local residents.

Last week Bermondsey Community Council turned down an application for a docking station for up to 23 bicycles in Purbrook Street, just off Tower Bridge Road.

79 people signed a petition against the proposed docking station and the St Saviour's, Purbrook, Aylwin, Magdalen (SPAM) Tenants' & Residents' Association criticised the choice of location outside Magdalen Hall.

Last month Lambeth Council's planning applications committee refused an application for a docking station outside the London City Mission in Webber Street near The Old Vic.

The committee voted 3 to 1 that the application be refused on the grounds that the proposal will result in increased noise and disturbance to neighbouring residential properties, particularly at night time, and will also result in increased risk of public disorder.

Roadshow

Those keen to find out more about the scheme will be able to visit one of 45 planned cycle hire roadshows coming to central London from the end of May. The dates and locations of the roadshows will be published at www.tfl.gov.uk/cyclehire nearer the time.

Each roadshow will provide practical demonstrations, hints and tips – including how to register for the scheme, how much it will cost to use, and how to pick up and drop off hire bicycles from the docking stations. Existing or potential cyclists will also be given safety tips, details of cycle routes and will be encouraged to sign up for TfL-funded cycle training through their local borough council.

"In just four months London will glitter with the twinkling dynamo lights of thousands of shiny cycle hire bikes, allowing Londoners and visitors to zip around the streets unfettered from timetables, queues and crowds," says Boris Johnson.

"What we are creating is not just a cycle hire scheme, but a new form of public transport of the greenest and healthiest of kinds. It will become the cornerstone of the cycling revolution in the Capital and will, I'm sure, convert legions of people to the pleasures of pedal power."

The scheme is expected to generate up to 40,000 extra cycle journeys a day in central London.

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