A RECYCLING expert hopes to create a bike hire scheme using only abandoned bikes.

Chris Blomeley, from Repair, Reuse, Recycle in Colchester, presented an idea to councillors on the policy and public initiatives panel.

The panel was looking at ways to improve sustainable transport in the town.

Project co-ordinator Chris suggested setting up a bike hire scheme to attract tourists.

He said: “The start will be to engage up to ten young people, they will go once a week for training in Cambridge on a month-long programme

and will be working with me in electronics and engineering.

“They will then be fundraising for a minibus and a trailer which will hold about 25 bikes.

“I have got 40 bikes that have been donated which will be repaired and sold to raise funds.”

He wants to create a cycle route along the River Colne, from Castle Park to Brightlingsea.

He said: “There will be stops at Wivenhoe and Alresford. People will get a bike from Firstsite in Colchester and it will be inexpensive to hire.

“There will then be the minibus available if they want a lift back afterwards.”

He wants to have the project running by the summer.

Chris initially wanted to use the former Queen Street bus depot as a base for the project.

He said: “The bus garage can be used in its current form, it is not derelict or dangerous in there.

“We and other projects can move in. I mentioned the idea about 18 months ago before the depot was set alight and the squatters moved in.

“A lot of projects could move in and pay rent to the council.”

Councillor Sue Lissimore (Con) supported the idea but said security needed to be taken into consideration as there is a track record of bike thefts in the town.

She said: “We have a big issue in the town of bikes being stolen which needs to be addressed.

“We need to be on top of our game to make sure if people come into town with their bikes, they can go home with them. I believe it does put people off coming into town on bikes.”

Repair Reuse Recycle, a community interest company, is based in Queen Street. Its aim is to help people repair and reuse household electrical items. Last year it restored 75 abandoned bikes.