A woman in Dublin has been ordered to remove a storage facility for her mother’s wheelchair and Zimmer frame.
350 bike bunkers could be installed in Clontarf but in the meantime local resident Siobhán decided to buy one for her front garden.
The family needed the space to store their bikes but, more importantly, they needed somewhere for Siobhán’s mother’s accessibility equipment when she visits.
“My mother is an 86-year-old lady and she has the mobility of an 86-year-old lady,” Siobhán told Lunchtime Live.
“So, she uses a Zimmer frame to walk and a wheelchair - if we want to take her for a stroll, she goes in a wheelchair.”
Siobhán did some research and thought there would be no problem having one installed in her front garden.
“Obviously, these units are everywhere,” she said.
“They’re in every second house - indeed, on my own road there’s 20 of them.
“Some of them are bigger than mine.”
Siobhán’s is a little bit higher than most the average and, out of an abundance of caution, she emailed Dublin City Council seeking permission.
“I just need that little bit more height, so while the wall of the unit is only 1.5 metres in height, it has an apex to give me a little bit more headspace, literally, for my head of two metres,” she said.
“Just out of concern about that, I wanted to make sure in advance that all was okay, so I wrote to Dublin City Council, I wrote to them [by] email [and] I detailed everything about the unit I was looking at.”
In their reply, the council did not tell her the storage was not allowed and she went ahead and had it installed.
“They obviously got an observation from somebody who didn’t like the look of my particular unit,” she said.
“So, they issued me with a notice of inspection.
“To which I replied [that] I’d sent them quite a lengthy letter and I explained all the reasons why we had the unit and that I’d been in touch with them for installing it.
“They didn’t reply to my letter and then the next thing I knew I got an enforcement notice from them to say that it has to go.”
Officials at both a local and national level want to encourage more people to travel by bike and Siobhán thinks this is an example of a “lack of joined up thinking”.
“It seems there’s a large gap in planning in Dublin City Council,” she said.
“They’re putting cycle paths in but without a thought to where the bikes would go.”
She plans to appeal the decision and is clear there are very good reasons why she should be allowed a storage unit.
“I need it for my mother,” she said.
“It’s not even just about the bikes, it’s about her wellbeing and her quality of life.”
Dublin City Council has been contacted for comment.
Main image: Storage unit.