London Fields woman in battle with council after being told to tear down pricey bike shed in garden

Jemima's son Joseph stores his bike in the shed. Picture: Jemima Sharpe

Jemima's son Joseph stores his bike in the shed. Picture: Jemima Sharpe - Credit: Archant

A woman has been ordered to tear down a pricey bike shed she had built in her front garden – or face prosecution.

Jemima Sharpe recently commissioned the structure outside her Navarino Road home so her son Joseph and the upstairs neighbours could store their bikes.

Erected by a bespoke firm who also landscaped her garden and built a bin store, the shed stores five bikes, has a green roof and Jemima has planted a hedge that will eventually screen it from the street.

But she only applied for planning permission retrospectively, and being in a conservation area, Hackney Council planners decided the 1.9metre-tall shed "did not make a positive contribution" to the area.

Jemima appealed, but the independent Planning Inspectorate agreed with the town hall. She's offered to lower it, as even she thinks it's "a bit tall", but is getting nowhere.

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"I'm pretty mortified at the thought that anyone would be offended by it," she told the Gazette. "When they built it I wasn't imagining it to be as tall as it is. I'd be really happy to lower it but not to destroy it.

"I hate having this hanging over my head, it's really stressful. If they come to take it down I'm just not going to."

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To rub salt in the wounds, Jemima says her neighbours had spent months asking for a bike hoop in the street but had been told by the council's MoveGreener department the road was low priority because it has large front gardens in which to store bikes.

She added: "It was at this point that both myself and my neighbour installed bike storage. They have also been told to remove their structure.

"I have offered on several occasions to lower the height, which seems the only sensible solution. But Hackney Council don't seem to care about my son and neighbours keeping their bikes on the road, and yet they claim to be interested in environmental targets. It's totally senseless."

A Hackney Council spokesperson said: "The bike shed's height, bulk and position did not make a positive contribution to the street and the retrospective application was rejected.

"The Planning Inspectorate has since dismissed the applicant's appeal against the Council's decision.

"The Council supports sustainable transport, and offers a range of cycle storage, including lockers on estates, on-street bike parking and bike hangars. The Council has just taken over running the borough's bike hangars, with plans to build hundreds of extra spaces in the next few years."

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