“Small and discreet” bicycle storage in front gardens should have planning exemption, says Greens

A proposed planning exemption for “small and discreet” bike sheds is needed so people don’t need to get “bogged down in bureaucracy or held back by red tape” and there’s flexible on the path to a sustainable society, the Green Party’s spokesperson for planning has said.

The proposed law change follows from a case earlier this month where An Bord Pleanála went against its inspector and rejected permission for a bicycle bunker in the Clontarf front garden (pictured above using Google Street View image).

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Unlike some previous cases where much taller larger sheds were placed in front gardens, the unit in the most recent case was a similar size and shape to the BikeBunkers installed on streets by Dublin City Council and some other councils.

However despite the small scale of the locker unit, before the case went to An Bord Pleanála, Dublin City Council planners also said bicycle locker in the front garden is “significant visual clutter”.

The new legal proposal is via a Private Member’s bill rather than Government legislation despite the Programme for Government commits to mandating local authorities “adopts a high quality cycling policy”.

A statement issued by the Green Party’s press office outlines how Steven Matthews, the Green Party spokesperson for planning and local government, has drafted a proposed exemption which would remove the requirement for bike storage units to receive planning permission within certain limits.

Matthews said the exemption would cover structures solely intended for the storage of bicycles or e-scooters with an approximate floor area of 4 metres squared and an approximate height of 1.2 metres, “as long as they are appropriately screened or finished in keeping with the character of the house or street”

Deputy Matthews said: “To tackle the climate crisis, we need to do everything we can to encourage people to switch to green transport such as cycling. Cycling is a fantastic way to cut carbon and improve your health, so we should not put unnecessary barriers in people’s way.”

He added: “If someone wants to install a small and discreet bike shed, they should not get bogged down in bureaucracy or held back by red tape. We need to be flexible and work with people to achieve a sustainable society.”


  1. That is our bike storage unit featured above. It was a costly, hard fought and ultimately lost planning battle for us. Sadly reason did not prevail. I hope that if such a planning exemption is introduced that it will include protected buildings as ours is a protected house. DCC has installed bike bunkers in front of its own historical buildings with little or no screening. Also there is a large covered bike shelter in the grounds of The Custom House! Please note, as per our planning application, we always intended to fully landscape in a manner that would hide the neat unit.

    • Hi Vanessa, thanks for your comment and sorry to hear the outcome of your case — it does seem unjust given the inspector’s reasoning was dismissed nearly out of hand.

  2. It’s a real no brainer but I’d be wary of including anything like “as long as they are appropriately screened or finished in keeping with the character of the house or street”. Even with a list of example I’m sure there’d be challenges all over the place

  3. I am outraged by such nonsense bullying of decent honest respectable responsible people like Vanessa and any others in this situation.
    I know loads of people who have their bikes in front garden sheds. And it is right, proper and no one else’s business but theirs. The location is for common sense logical reasons, ie access to the darn bicycle. Its no ones business what people have in their front gardens (unless it was something offensive – like obnoxious politicians billboards- that we see in some gardens before electrons). This is a bizarre new-low in snobbery and it stinks.


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