Portsmouth ‘Boris bike’ scheme could launch in Spring with refurbished church as home for project

THE city’s first ‘Boris bike’ scheme could be hosted in a refurbished church building.

Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 3:27 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:32 pm
Fran Carabott (left) and Charlie Adie with some of the bikes stored in St Margarets Church, Highland Road, which is being repaired and refurbished after receiving 350,000

St Margaret’s Church in Highland Road, Eastney closed in 2015 because it was unsafe.

Its roof leaked, its windows needed repairing, and there was a danger of plaster falling from the ceiling.

The church has now been allocated £350,000 in funding from the national Church of England to help repair and refurbish the building. 

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With the vision being for the refurbished St Margaret’s Community Church to be at the heart of the community and the building being used as a base for entrepreneurs and social enterprises. 

Bicycle Recycling - one of the social enterprises – has already created a workshop within the church building and is planning to use it as the operational base for a project to provide 150 loan ‘Boris bikes’ across the city. 

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‘Boris Bike’ scheme for Portsmouth to move forward

Charlie Adie, managing director, said: ‘We would start off with 15 drop-off points for bikes in the south-west of Portsmouth, including key places like The Hard, the Seafront, Commercial Road and Albert Road.

‘We’d have 150 bikes available for people to pick up, make their journey, and leave at the next drop-off point.

‘We’ve already created a workshop at the side of the main building, with six workbenches, and we’re offering opportunities to young people to learn about bicycle maintenance.’ 

Bicycle Recycling accepts donations of unwanted bikes and recycles them for sale in its shops in Portsmouth and Gosport, or sends them to Africa.

It also provides employment opportunities for young people who can learn retail and repair skills.

The bikes loan scheme would be a partnership between Bicycle Recycling, Portsmouth City Council, St Margaret’s Community Church and the firm NextBike, who run similar schemes in Cardiff and Exeter, and it could be launched this Spring. 

Previous attempts to launch ‘Boris bike’ schemes in Portsmouth have failed to get off the ground. 

Including the University of Portsmouth's bid to launch a bike-sharing scheme in the city. 

They raised £44,137 for the project but it was scrapped after the city council decided to launch their own scheme.