Council that fined girl, 5, for running lemonade stand slaps bike shop owners with penalty for offering a free pump

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The same east London council that fined a girl of five for selling lemonade slapped the owners of a bike shop with a penalty for putting an air pump in the street for cyclists to use for free.

Sarah Breese, 30, and 34-year-old Timothy James said Tower Hamlets council officers ordered them to remove the pump which they set up on the pavement outside their store, Isambard’s Cycles, in Shoreditch.

The couple said they were initially fined £100 by the council for leaving a bench with the pump attached to it outside the shop in Brick Lane.

They removed the bench and left the pump there but they said on Sunday a council enforcement officer threatened them with another fine and told them they would need a licence for it to remain there.

Ms Breese told the Standard: “The council’s attitude to small business is that of a feudal lord to a tenant farmer. This fine is the tip of the iceberg but totally in keeping with their broader approach. 


The bike pump that was set up outside Isambard’s Cycles in Brick Lane

“We’re a community bike shop. We keep bikes on the road affordably for thousands of local residents. We try to price people into cycling.

“It’s increasingly difficult for us to survive with the council behaving in this way though.

She added: “Yesterday, the same enforcement officer who fined us the first time was taking pictures of our shop and when we asked what he was doing he said we needed to obtain a licence to be able to have the pump there, otherwise we would be fined. 

“We’re still not sure what the issue with the bench is either – the pavement is wide, it’s a corner shop and that road is very quiet. The bench gives us no commercial gain.”

The couple, who are engaged and set up the shop in 2013, have received an outpouring of support from the cycling community after posting about the fine on Twitter. 

It comes after Tower Hamlets Council fined a five-year-old girl and her father Andre Spicer £150 for selling lemonade to revellers heading to Lovebox festival near their home in Mile End.

The couple posted on their Twitter account: “@TowerHamletsNow are fining us for having this free pump outside for cyclists to use. As of next week it will no longer be available.”

In response, Stuart Bunyan wrote: “Shouldn’t you be out catching kids running lemonade stands, @TowerHamletsNow?”

Neil Garratt tweeted: “Slow handclap for Tower Hamlets Council.”

Sarah Blaikie wrote: “Fining independent @isambardscycles in its attempt to get more of the borough on bikes? Imprudent move @TowerHamletsNow.”

Dick Puddlecote tweeted: “Today’s reminder that the state is never your friend.”

The Standard has contacted Tower Hamlets Council for comment.

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