A SHOPPER is lobbying Oxford City Council to provide more bike stands near the entrance of the Westgate Centre after discovering that many at the back are not being used.

Roger Panaman has written to officers at the city and county councils to point out that racks provided close to the Oxpens Road side of the £440m centre are often empty.

After counting about 200 empty stands during a visit on Monday, Mr Panaman is calling for more to be provided for cyclists trying to park near the Bonn Square entrance.

He said: “I have repeatedly asked them (council officers) to set up more stands where there is an overwhelming need for them - outside the main entrance of Westgate - in Bonn Square and around the corner in St Ebbe’s Street.

“However, they refuse to take any action. So I was amazed one morning when I cycled around the whole of the outside of the Westgate Centre to discover about two hundred empty bicycle stands.

“Obviously, few cyclists go near these stands, so the stands remain virtually unused.”

Mr Panaman, 71, from Kidlington, a former biologist, who took pictures on Monday to illustrate where racks are not being used, added the dearth of stands where they were urgently needed at Westgate was forcing some cyclists to lock their bikes against whatever street furniture they could find.

He said: “This has repercussions for pedestrians because the bicycles clutter the streets and annoy walkers by getting in their way.”

In June, Simon Hunt of Oxford cycling campaign group Cyclox welcomed 12 new metal racks after they were installed near the Art Cafe, opposite the new centre’s Bonn Square entrance.

But Mr Hunt, chairman of Cyclox, said the centre’s ‘cycle hub’ - a separate, secure bike parking centre - was under-used and urged centre owners Land Securities to make it free.

Before the revamped centre opened in October 2017 cyclists were promised 1,060 spaces, including 760 public realm spaces, 186 hub spaces and 118 residents’ spaces. But 88 spaces were lost in Bonn Square when building work took place.

At a city council meeting on Tuesday, Sara Fuge, the development manager of Westgate, conceded installing bike racks had ‘taken a long time’ but said 95 per cent of them were now in place.

Mr Panaman said the city and county councils replied when he lobbied for more racks near the shopping centre entrance.

He said the city council responded that the bike stands were appropriately located, while the county council said it could ‘take a while’ for cyclists to become aware of where all the stands were located.

Cyclox spokesman Simon Hunt said: “It would have been better to provide more racks in the Bonn Square area as that is where cyclists want them.”