A CITY shopping centre will soon be providing free and secure storage for bikes to encourage more people to cycle into the city centre.

Crowngate Shopping centre will be launcing the popup bike storage this April along with the equipment needed for maintenance and repairs whilst cyclists are out and about.

Worcester City Council donated a grant of £2,500 on top of a £1,000 donation from West Mercia Police, to transform an empty unit close to the Angel Place entrance of the centre.

Ground hoops have been installed for secure lock-up of bikes, including dedicated CCTV coverage, power points for charging e-bicycles, alongside a space for inflating tyres and tightening seats and handlebars.

The new scheme is being delivered in partnership with West Mercia Police, whose records show that 350 bicycle thefts were recorded in South Worcestershire last year, with the majority in the city of Worcester.

This represents an increase of 83.2% compared to 2019.

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “With more and more people out cycling during COVID-19, for exercise or to avoid public transport on the way to work, it is vital that we protect our bikes from thieves and keep our communities safe.
“Bicycle theft is one of the few crimes to have seen an increase during the pandemic and it can have a significant impact on victims both financially and psychologically, as a bike could be an essential part of a person’s livelihood.
“As Commissioner, I remain committed to working with partners and investing in crime prevention measures to tackle this type of crime. I am proud to financially support ‘We Don’t Buy Crime’, as well as a new safe and secure bicycle storage facility in Crowngate Shopping Centre.”

Centre manager for Crowngate Shopping Centre, Michael Lloyd, added: “The arrival of the cycle storage is a fantastic way to encourage alternative methods of transport into the city, as well as satisfying the demand for secure cycle parking within Worcester.

“This is a creative use of a void retail unit, should it become tenanted then we would pick up the cycle storage and relocate it into another empty unit. Bike Worcester have been instrumental in helping us to ensure that we have the right location and level of security, we welcome them as partners on this venture.

"We’re hoping to offer other services to the cycling community in the coming months, including marking, advice and repair shops. We’re committed to supporting our local stakeholders and the environment in any way we can.

“Sponsored by Evotech and judged by Worcester Cycles, we’re launching a competition for children up to the age of 16 to win £1000 to spend on bicycles for their whole family. We want you to ‘Design a Bike of the Future’, drawing up what your dream future bike would look like, details soon to follow. Good luck, we can’t wait to see your designs.”