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Stratford not big enough for its own 'Boris Bike' hire scheme

Stratford is just not big enough to sustain its own ‘Boris Bike’ hire scheme according to the district council after confirming the idea had been shelved.

The prospect of launching a hire scheme was put forward by the council in 2017, with a docked scheme and bikes that could be picked up and dropped off at various points around the town in exchange for a fee, the preferred option.

There appears to have been little progress since than, despite widespread support for increased cycle use in the town.

However, the authority has not completely closed the door on the idea – Stratford may have to join an existing bike hire scheme because setting up its own is not considered feasible.

Confirming Stratford’s own bike hire scheme is no longer being considered, a spokesperson for Stratford District Council said this week: “We were part of the Next bike scheme for the West Midlands but this fell through and we also looked at a scheme with Warwick, which hasn’t come to fruition.

“We do not currently have any plans to introduce a cycle hire scheme as Stratford doesn’t seem to be large enough to work on its own. Although, it is still on our agenda for consideration and we are still talking with Pashley.”

Stephen Norrie, from Stratford Climate Action, said: “Our view is that the priority at the moment should be improving cycle infrastructure in Stratford and that any possible bike hire scheme could come in at a later date.

“What we don’t want is to launch a hire scheme and it fails because the cycle infrastructure in Stratford isn’t good enough. I would say the cycle access across Stratford is quite poor at present and I wouldn’t want to seem my children cycling on some of our bigger trunk roads.”

Bob Bearman, from the Stratford Cycle Forum, said: “We do support the idea of bike hire in Stratford, but we believe the priority should be developing and improving the town’s network of cycle routes. There are already some smaller cycle hire businesses, so visitors are catered for to some extent, but we want to encourage residents to get their own bikes out of their garages.

“I would probably agree with the assessment that Stratford isn’t large enough for its own full-scale cycle hire scheme, as exist in larger urban areas.”

Green councillor John Riley said: “I would have supported such a bike hire scheme, but I think it’s true that the town just isn’t big enough for its own.

“They tend to be in large urban areas, Liverpool has one that is really popular, but it’s a mile across the city centre.

“I think a hire scheme in Stratford would be good for visitors, because generally they probably won’t be bringing their own bikes, but I wouldn’t have thought that this by itself would be enough to sustain such a scheme here.

“Also it’s worth pointing out that anything run by the district council would be in competition to existing businesses who hire bikes."

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