BICYCLE storage units may be installed at three schools in Darlington under plans to encourage cycling.

Planning permission is being sought for units at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College, Holy Family RC and St Teresa’s RC primary schools.

The plans by Darlington Borough Council form part of a drive to promote the town as one of England’s Cycling Demonstration Towns.

A shelter for 80 bicycles is planned for the sixth form college in Vane Terrace, on the Abbey Road side of the building.

The planning brief states: “Darlington is the only highway authority in England to have received funding as both a sustainable travel demonstration and a cycling demonstration town.

“Since 2004, schools, colleges and businesses in Darlington have worked hard to encourage pupils, students and staff to be more creative about their travel choices.

“This has included encouraging cycling through various measures, including the provision of secure cycle parking facilities at schools, colleges and business sites.

“The benefits can be seen in the increased levels of cycling in Darlington over that period. For example, between 2004 and 2008, cycling increased by 120 per cent, while cycling as the usual mode of travel to school increased from 0.9 per cent to 6.1 per cent.”

Units are designed to last 15 years and are built in galvanized steel and perspex.

The college store would be 16m long, 5m deep and 2m high.

The plan adds: “By providing this new cycling facility at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form, more students and staff will be able to cycle to college with the knowledge that their bikes will be protected in a secure place.”

It says that an increase in the number of people cycling will benefit the college and residents by reducing traffic and parked cars.

Holy Family, Prior Street, and St Teresa’s, Harris Street, would each have 40-bicycle storage units.