A bike shop that describes itself as the “Soul of Well Street” has been ordered to close after receiving more than 80 antisocial behaviour complaints in one year.
Residents reported that groups were gathering outside the Cycle Pitstop on Well Street, shouting at passers by and using road space to mend bikes. There were also complaints of loud music, drug use, sales of stolen bikes and quad bike racing.
On Monday, a Closure Order forbidding anyone from entering the shop for three months was served to owner Jusus Telesford at Stratford Magistrates Court.
But a petition set up in response to the order has been signed by more than 220 people in four days.
Lydia Hartshorn, who created the petition, said the shop, which teaches cycle repair skills to children and gives out bikes, had an “enormously positive impact” on the area and was “one of the most sociable places” on the street.
“When they are at the Pitstop they are doing positive things and being at the workshop keeps them away from the gangs. I think the existence of the shop has a very positive impact on many young people’s lives,” she added.
Thomas Galbally, who signed the petition, said: “I walk past this shop when walking from Clapton to Bow, and there’s always a great buzz in and around the bike shop.
“It’s important to keep people who do good things keeping on doing the good things they do. Anything that brings kids together in a positive way and helps to maintain focus is a good thing for an area, surely?”
When Cycle Pitstop’s owner received the court summons, he wrote on Facebook: “When the group of young people come to fix their bikes at the shop the system calls it antisocial.
“We provide a good service for everyone, especially for the kids. We will keep doing so with or without the shop being open.”
Hackney Council said officers tried to engage with the shop before issuing the order, but were ignored. They are now working with the owner so it can open when the closure notice expires in October.
A council spokesperson said: “Following over 80 complaints by local neighbours about noise and antisocial behaviour, we took the decision to pursue a Closure Order.
“This has been granted for a period of three months and we hope that it will improve life for nearby residents who should not have to put up with this sort of behaviour.
“Throughout the three month closure period we will be working to assess the impact of the order and review its effectiveness. Support will be offered to reduce the likelihood of continuing antisocial behaviour when the closure order comes to an end.”