London's new homes are putting bikes ahead of cars

London's love affair with cycling means developers are now including bike stores rather than parking bays with new homes
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Cycling to work is here to stay — and so is bike theft. This is why secure bike storage is in growing demand from young professionals renting or buying at affordable housing schemes.

With thousands more riders coming on to the roads following the success of Team GB's cycling superstars at the Olympics — and encouraged by a cycling-obsessed Mayor Boris Johnson — London's private developers and housing associations are reducing underground parking spaces in favour of secure bike storage facilities. The move chimes with local authority planners' preference for car-free developments, part of the new green housing agenda.

Harper Square
£95,373 for a 35 per cent share of a flat at Harper Square, Southwark, which comes with bike racks and a Boris bike docking station. Call 0207 089 1315

Cycling in London had doubled in a decade even before the Bradley Wiggins effect brought more riders on to the roads seeking greater fitness and an alternative to commuting by car or train.

A report by competitive cycling's governing body British Cycling, with the London School of Economics, shows that cycling is worth £2.9 billion to the national economy, as cyclists spend an average £230 each on their bikes. The Cycle to Work scheme has resulted in more than 400,000 people taking advantage of a tax incentive to buy a bike.

The Boris bike effect

There are other housing market ripples caused by cycling, too. Estate agents report rental hotspots around the numerous Boris bike docking stations on the edge of travel Zone 1 — locations such as Angel, Aldgate, Elephant & Castle and King's Cross.

Bell Green
£174,000: two-bedroom shared ownership flats at Pomarii, Circle's "garage-lite" new scheme of homes with shops and a restaurant in Bell Green, south-east London. Call 0845 304 1002
More than eight million Boris bikes were hired during the last year, while the creation of cycle superhighways, including routes from Wandsworth to Westminster, Lewisham to Victoria and Merton to the City, have encouraged cycling to work.

Canalside developments are popular for similar reasons, as cyclists can ride safely and quickly along towpaths, bypassing busy and potentially hazardous roads.

Green cycle routes are opening up too, particularly in east London and the Lee Valley, as part of the Olympic infrastructure legacy.

London's new bike-friendly homes

Circle housing association has launched a development of 71 flats with bike storage at Bell Green, Sydenham, south-east London. Called Pomarii, it is on the site of an old gasworks, next to a Sainsbury superstore and features low-energy technology to reduce utility bills.

As well as shared-ownership apartments, there is a rent-to-buy option, whereby rents are set at 80 per cent of market value, allowing tenants to save for a deposit and buy the property in the future. Rents start at £640 a month for a one-bedroom flat. Shared-ownership prices cost from £36,750 for a quarter share of a one-bedroom flat. Call 0845 304 1002 or email

Harper Square, a Family Mosaic development in Southwark, includes secure covered bike racks and has a Boris bike docking station outside. This scheme borders the delightful Trinity Church Square conservation area. Apartments are grouped around landscaped courtyards. Prices start at £95,373 for a 35 per cent share (full market value £272,500).

Randall Apartments in Hither Green has bike storage and L&Q housing association is offering a free furniture pack worth up £5,000. Prices from £82,250 for a 35 per cent share (full price £235,000). Call 0844 406 9800 or email

Cowdrey Mews in Catford and City Mills, Haggerston, are two more of the association's bike-friendly schemes. Prices from £92,750 for a 35 per cent share.

Biking beyond the capital

Thames Valley housing association promotes bike-friendly developments outside London. As well as bike storage, it includes cycle paths where possible. One such scheme is The Serpentine, a contemporary take on the classic Victorian terrace — an unusually bold scheme for the commuter town of Aylesbury.

Rather than houses lined up like soldiers, the building follows an S-shape form that divides the site into two clear zones: a street side, which incorporates a child-friendly, traffic-free play area; and a garden side with private green spaces for each of the 94-homes.

The project responds to the Government's Design for Manufacture challenge to create high-quality, energy-efficient homes for an exceptionally low construction cost — £60,000 a home — and a minimum space requirement of 76.5 square metres.

Two-bedroom apartments and two-bedroom townhouses are available on a shared-ownership basis. Prices from £50,000 for a 40 per cent share. Call 020 8607 0550 or email

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