A Guardian colleague of mine lives in a flat in Heatherley Court, N16. He uses a bicycle to get to work and keeps it in a shed. He owns his flat, a former Council property, but the freehold is held by Hackney Homes. This means that they are responsible for maintaining the drains - one of the services they are required to perform in return for a charge of £1,200 a year. To the dismay of my colleague, Hackney Homes says that servicing the drains requires demolishing his shed and those belonging to other Heatherley Court residents. This is scheduled to happen next month. My colleague says:
There has been no consultation with the residents...there is nowhere else the bikes can be stored. We have been told that bikes cannot be locked to the stair handrail as this is a health and safety hazard, and when I did it out of necessity once before the bike was stolen. It seems mad that Hackney Homes thinks removing bike storage is a good idea when the council and government are pushing cycling, not to mention Boris Johnson.
It certainly does seem odd. My colleague says he's been told that an outdoor bicycle storage facility might be provided in 2011, but wonders what's he supposed to do in the meantime. He can't see how the sheds would impair the servicing of the drains. He isn't very pleased that "repeated emails" to the person at Hackney Homes he's been told is responsible have received no reply. He is less than impressed with a letter that he and fellow residents have been sent informing them that any property found in the sheds would demolition day arrives will simply be scrapped.
I wonder what Hackney Homes has to say about all this. My email link can be found on the right hand margin of this page.