A NEW secure cycle park for York city centre has been given the go-ahead after more than a decade of waiting.

As well as encouraging more people to use bikes instead of cars, the park near Lendal Bridge could also act as a home for the city’s cycling paramedics.

The unit, which will be built on the site of a former electricity sub-station next to the Norwich Union building in Wellington Row, will cost £270,000, with the bill being footed by City of York Council and Cycling England.

It follows York’s successful bid for Cycling City status earlier this year, which will see almost £3.7 million of Government money ploughed into local bike projects.

Work on the new unit, which will be leased to Bike Rescue – a non-profit York-based organisation that recycles old and unwanted bikes – is expected to start within weeks and be completed by next April.

Andy Scaife, who runs Bike Rescue with Bernie Cullen, said: “The building is just an empty shell at the moment, but this scheme will turn it into a two-storey site, with the lower floor acting as a showroom for our recycled bikes.

“It will sell cycling essentials for commuters, such as lights, locks and waterproofs and there will be secure parking, covered by CCTV, for 100 bikes, with users paying £1 a day to keep them there, as well as lockers and showers.

“Customers can also loan buggies if they have brought children into the city centre on bike seats and we are also looking at designs for trolleys which shoppers will be able to borrow.

“The first floor will act as our workshop where we will also be running bike maintenance classes, and our aim is to allow people to repair their bikes themselves at the unit – a lot of people know how to fix problems with their bikes, but don’t have anywhere to do it.

“It’s intended as a ‘modal point’ where shoppers, commuters, tourists or workers can change their mode of transport, and it will remove one obstacle to people using bikes – the threat of theft.”

The park will be open from 7am to 7pm each day, and Andy says Yorkshire Ambulance Service has been approached about paramedics, who use bikes to get around the city through their Life Cycle scheme, using it once it is operational next year.

“As their ambulance station is moving away from Hungate, we are offering them space to keep their bikes and equipment 24 hours a day,” he said.

“We plan to have a site meeting with senior managers to give them a clearer idea of what the unit will be, because we’re very keen to extend its functions.

“It will be a real boost for York as a Cycling City. This building has been disused since 1983. It’s time it was put to good use as a community facility and some life was breathed into a neglected corner of the city centre.”

A spokeswoman for Yorkshire Ambulance Service confirmed it had been approached about the scheme, but could not comment further at present as it was one of several cycling-base options presented to it.