SIR: I refer to the article in the Chronicle of Thursday January 17 regarding the removal of cycle racks at St. Maurice’ Covert. Councillor Brook of Winchester City Council has called the opposition by cyclists “unreasonable”.

I should like to clarify certain points in her statement. The original design for the refurbishment had undercover cycle parking close the wall by Debenhams and the junction with Market Lane. Although this would have meant a reduction of about 10 cycle racks, cycling representatives would have accepted that location in the interests of a wider refurbishment of the Covert. However, without any consultation with cyclists, the new design had no cycle racks.

There have been no coherent alternative proposals from the city council; rather we have witnessed councillors and officers disagreeing with each other over where an alternative might go. In addition, there has been a distinct failure to commit to funding an alternative.

The alternative location mentioned by Councillor Brook was not in Colebrook Street but in the Colebrook Street car park. This is not an overlooked location and would be shunned by many cyclists, particular in the evenings. It was rejected primarily on the grounds of security rather than its location.

As Councillor Brook herself acknowledges, even a potential location at the junction of Silver Hill/Middle Brook Street is uncertain because of the presence of trees.

Cycle campaigners are not suggesting that cycle racks are placed against a historic building. We are suggesting that five undercover cycle stands are placed against the wall of Debenhams close to Market Lane, as per the original proposal. We fail to see how this can be classed as a historic location.

The response by Winchester City Council has been very disappointing and so local cyclists had no alternative than to raise the profile of this issue publicly.

Sue Coles

Winchester CTC, part of Cycling UK and Cycle Winchester,

Ruffield Close,