Swipe card system aims to stop bike thefts at Havant station

SECURITY PLANS Cycle parking at Havant railway station. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (122540-545)
SECURITY PLANS Cycle parking at Havant railway station. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (122540-545)

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SWIPE cards will be introduced at a railway station to stop thieves preying on a cycle storage area.

Havant train station has become a hotspot for bike thefts since a new cycle shelter opened a couple of years ago.

This year 11 bicycles have been stolen and 17 were snatched last year.

Security is poor as the shelter is open to the public off the street.

Havant will now get a share of a £465,000 grant to improve the facilities.

Six stations in the south east region are getting the funding, which is coming from the government and South West Trains.

The current shelter at Havant will become a secure compound with swipe card access.

Passengers will have to request the cards at the ticket office.

John Holland, chairman of Portsmouth Cycle Forum, welcomed the move, particularly for commuters.

He said: ‘Havant has had a particular problem.

‘A new cycle storage facility was put in two or three years ago, but it has not got a good reputation.

‘It’s got free access to the public.

‘I would never leave my bike in there – they dismantle it and take it away.

‘I know the guys at the station keep an eye on it and do their best, but the design is poor.’

South West Train officials said the swipe cards would cost £25 for lifetime membership, although this price is currently under review and may be reduced.

There will still be some free facilities to store bicycles on the station platform.

Mr Holland added that the swipe cards were not useful for cyclists who do not use trains regularly.

But Ann Buckley, county councillor for Leigh Park and Bedhampton, said it would encourage cyclists to use the station.

She said: ‘Havant station cycle store has been a crime hotspot, residents have had bikes stolen and are reluctant to use the facility.

‘This funding is a good investment.

‘Longer term I would also like to see cycle hire at Havant station which would be a boost to tourism linking with trains and taking people to Hayling Island, Staunton Country Park and other destinations using our cycle tracks.’

The work is set to take place before next April.

CCTV will be added, as well as better lighting and signage.

Georgina Chahed, a spokeswoman for South West Trains, said: ‘The area that is currently for bicycles will be turned into a secure compound.

‘It will have swipe card access and only people with cards will be able to get into the compound. We have some other stations where this is working successfully.’