Jeremy Mortimer (on behalf of Cycle Winchester) spoke during public participation as summarised briefly below.
Mr Mortimer stated that Cycle Winchester welcomed the opportunity to work with the council. He also welcomed that increasing the amount of cycle parking in convenient and secure locations had been identified as an objective in Appendix 1 of Cycle Parking in the City. He believed that convenient locations would generally be more secure as they were in areas of “natural surveillance”.
In addition, Mr Mortimer expressed concern regarding parking locations in Middle Brook Street which he suggested would need to align with any pedestrianised area as part of the Central Winchester Regeneration and Winchester Movement and Access Strategy.
In conclusion, Mr Mortimer suggested that police data on bike thefts be considered when selecting locations for cycle racks, with Winchester Railway Station currently listed as having the highest record number of bike thefts over recent months.
The Transport Planner gave a presentation which set out the reasons for producing a cycle parking plan, how it would support policies such as the Parking and Access Strategy, the Winchester Movement Strategy and the Carbon Neutrality Action Plan and highlighted cycle parking locations, identified additional capacity and gaps and priority locations, outlining the partnership working that was taking place.
The Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency introduced the report. In summary, it was highlighted that the council were listening to the views of others and was looking at the cycle provision and facilities on offer at other local authorities. It was recognised that bike security was increasingly an issue due to high value bicycles (standard and electronic bikes) which were an attractive target for criminals.
At the invitation of the Chairperson, Chief Inspector Jon Turton of Hampshire Constabulary addressed the Forum regarding bike security and cycle theft. He reported that instances of theft had increased steadily throughout the pandemic, with 182 bicycles reported as stolen from the town centre since August 2021. He made reference to work that had been carried out on education of bike security, marking, overt patrols and the positioning of cameras at specific locations such as the leisure centre. He indicated that the focus on the preventative measures was key to tackling bike crime, together with informed plans of where best to locate secure bike parking going forward.
In response to the points raised during Mr Tait’s deputation above, Chief Inspector Jon Turton outlined a number of measures that were taking place to prevent homelessness, including any associated anti-social behaviour and the displacement of these groups within the town centre. He reported that these were often vulnerable individuals with complex mental health issues and/or substance dependencies that needed professional specialised support and help to review at their lifestyle and that a significant number of positive interventions were in place to assist with these issues, in addition to the use of the criminal justice system, where it was deemed necessary.
Members asked a range of comments and questions which were responded to by the Cabinet Member, Chief Inspector Jon Turton, the Head of Programme and the Transport Planner. These included cross checking of proposed pedestrian and cyclist road crossings, relative funding provision and costs, footfall in car parks, long term bike storage facilities for residents, disabled bike parking locations, sensor lighting at secured cycle parking facilities and engagement on the variety and use of bike locks.
In conclusion, the forum supported the cycle parking plan and welcomed the offer from Cycle Winchester to provide further input to the ongoing development of the plan. The Chairperson encouraged the Winchester Town Forum (City Centre) Informal Group to continue dialogue with representatives of Cycle Winchester going forward.
1. That the report be received and the comments of the forum on the development of the cycle parking plan, be noted.