National Bike to Work Day: How can commercial landlords adapt their properties to meet the demands of cyclists? - Boodle Hatfield

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18 May 2023

National Bike to Work Day: How can commercial landlords adapt their properties to meet the demands of cyclists?

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2 min read

Friday 19 May marks 'National Bike to Work Day' an annual calendar event started in 1956 by the League of American Bicyclists to promote the health benefits of cycling to work.

Over the last five years, we have seen the Cycleways (formerly known as Cycle Superhighways and Quietways) across London develop and grow and the number of people cycling to work has increased exponentially. Transport for London (TFL) are aiming to continue expanding the Capital's cycle network - connecting different areas across the city - so that it reaches a third of Londoners by 2025.

Office cycle parking is now a "must-have" rather than a "nice-to-have" and this was enshrined in the 2021 London Plan. Landlords holding older office stock, with minimal or no bike parking, must now consider how to adapt their property to include cycle parking, in order to compete for good quality tenants. In doing so, the following factors should also be considered:

  • Whether changing rooms and showering facilities would also be required?
  • Whether the space identified for conversion to cycle parking is demised to a building tenant or whether a tenant has any rights over the space?
  • How employees are to access this cycle parking? Are there safe routes from the outside or through the building?
  • Will the buildings insurance policy cover any incidents that arise in providing cycle parking?
  • Is any planning permission / listed buildings consent required for the conversion works?
  • If the landlord itself has a lease of the office building, are any consents of the reversioner required?

For other property investors, the boom in cycling to work presents an opportunity. Londoners are not just cycling to work, but are cycling to see friends, to play sports, to shop and to go to dinner. Plumplot reported that bicycle theft crime makes up 1.7% of all crimes reported in the region and the total number of "bicycle theft crime" is 18.1k in the last 12 months. Londoners require secure cycle storage (outside of their homes and workplaces) and companies such as Spokesafe are capitalising on this opportunity. Building owners who consider implementing such arrangements themselves or leasing space to a cycle hub organisation will need to consider the above points, in addition to thinking about the impact of such an arrangement on existing tenants in terms of access, nuisance and health & safety.

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