Friends of Regent’s Canal - Minutes of Meeting
|Date and Time:
|Wednesday 2nd March 2011, 7pm to 9pm
|London Canal Museum, 12-13 New Wharf Road, London N1 9RT
|Chair and Islington Boat Club.
|Dr Andrew Hudson-Smith
||UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
||Art Lights London
||Resident, Noel Road
||Art Lights London
||London Borough of Hackney
||London Borough of Islington
||London Borough of Camden
||Thornhill Bridge Community Gardeners
||Angel Canal Festival and St Pancras Cruising Club
||Greenspace, London Borough of Islington
||Islington Cyclists Action Group
||London Narrow Boat Association
||London Assembly Member
|Councillor Martin Klute
||London Borough of Islington
Caroline Pidgeon AM
Councillor Paul Convery
Councillor Greg Foxsmith
3. Organisational Changes
3.1 Ian Shacklock (chair) reminded the meeting that Sandra Hoisz is no longer
available to provide secretarial support and mentioned that he has started
discussions with the Camden Volunteer Centre to find a candidate to take
minutes at future meetings. Gillian Comins kindly offered to take notes on this
3.2 Ian announced that he had created a website
(http://friendsofregentscanal.org) in order to disseminate information to the
public and a new email account (email@example.com) in order to
collect queries and feedback from the public.
3.3 Ian stressed that people without Internet access should not feel excluded
and offered to provide hardcopy information to people in this category should
the need arise.
ACTION 1. Ian Shacklock to register Friends of Regent's Canal with the Camden
4. Minutes of Last Meeting and Matters Arising
4.1 At the meeting on 29th September 2010, Richard Rutter (British Waterways)
had confirmed that two replacement trees would be planted near the Danbury
Street ramp. Del Brenner had asked whether they would be mature or semi-mature
and Jon Guest (British Waterways) had agreed to check. At the meeting on 1st
December 2010, Sandra Hoisz agreed to contact Jon Guest for an update on this.
Richard Rutter replied on 24th February 2011, suggesting that the Friends of
Regent's Canal could donate some native species of trees.
4.2 On 1st December 2010, Rob Inglis agreed to invite the Arts Officers to a
future meeting. Rob had discussed this with Ian Shacklock and agreed to defer
this invitation until the June meeting, in view of the busy agenda for 2nd
4.3 On 1st December 2010, Anna Strongman (Argent) agreed to forward the King's
Cross Canal Masterplan to the Friends of Regent's Canal. Anna replied on 1st
March, stating that the Masterplan had been published and that she was going to
ask her marketing colleague to put it on the website. She has also supplied a
link to Latham's website
4.4 Del Brenner asked for clarification of the anniversary of the canal, which
was mentioned in Section 3.6 of the minutes. Ian Shacklock replied that 2012 is
the anniversary of the formation of the Regent's Canal Company, not the
anniversary of the opening of the canal. [But 1812 was a significant date
because it marked the beginning of the construction phase].
4.5 On 1st December 2010, Anna Strongman agreed to put the King's Cross Central
curator in touch with the Friends of Regent's Canal. On 1st March she supplied the
e-mail address for the curator and she confirmed that the curator is happy to
give a presentation at our next meeting.
4.6 On 1st December 2010, Sandra Hoisz agreed to contact British Waterways for
an update on the Danbury Street ramp. Richard Rutter replied on 24th February
2011, stating that there were 3 outstanding issues.
- Water pooling on the steps.
- Poor paint/galvanising finish on piles and handrail.
- Replacement of the broken bench.
4.7 On 1st December 2010, Ian Shacklock agreed to liaise with Rob Inglis about
sending a letter of support for the Canal Musical project. Rob is still
preparing this letter and he will seek co-signatures from several groups. The
Friends of Regent's Canal had already offered unanimous support for this.
ACTION 2. Rob Inglis to invite Arts Officers to the next meeting.
ACTION 3. Ian Shacklock to invite King's Cross Central curator to the next
ACTION 4. Ian Shacklock to respond to British Waterways about the replacement
ACTION 5. Rob Inglis to prepare a letter about the Canal Musical project.
5. Guest Speaker: Jenny Jones (London Assembly Member)
5.1 Jenny Jones talked about her enthusiasm for canals, both as a current user and
as a former co-chair of the Waterways Commission. She expressed concern about
pressure on green space, especially in East London, and the increasing risk of
flooding (due to climate change, lack of maintenance on culverts and building
over flood plains). She mentioned the East London Green Grid and opportunities
for an All London Green Grid but warned that there was no funding for these
5.2 Jenny described her "Deserted Highways" report of December 2004. This
included 10 recommendations for London's canals, and she thanked Del Brenner
for his contributions to it. She felt that canals had to be shown to be of
practical use in order to be awarded funding, but proposals to use them for
freight had not been implemented. She felt that the wide range of uses of the canals should be promoted rather than all the emphasis being put on recreational value.
5.3 Anne Robertson took up this point, attacking the behaviour of certain pedal
cyclists on the towpath (for example in Baynes Street). She believed that any
cyclist wanting to travel at speed should use the cycle paths on the roads
instead of the towpath, and added that these individuals showed little
consideration for pedestrians, who in turn felt vulnerable and at risk and
ended up being driven off their towpath. Councillor Martin Klute said he had
received many complaints on this subject from his constituents (in St Peter's
ward) and was of the opinion that more effective cycle calming measures had to
be introduced. Jenny Jones deplored the behaviour of selfish anti-social
cyclists but emphasised that cycling must be encouraged as it was essential to
reduce the strain on the public transport network.
5.4 Jenny offered to lobby officers at the GLA (or any other organisation) as
necessary, on our behalf, in order to support canals. Beryl Windsor (organiser
of the Angel Canal Festival) asked Jenny what had happened to the £23K that was
ringfenced for the London Canals Committee and urged that this fund should be
spent on canals not on consultants. Jenny agreed to write to the London
Councils about this.
ACTION 6. Jenny Jones to send an electronic copy of the Deserted Highways
report to the Friends of Regent's Canal
ACTION 7. Ian Shacklock to post the Deserted Highways report on the website.
ACTION 8. Jenny Jones to write to London Councils about the £23K canal fund.
6. Biodiversity Update
6.1 Richard Harris (Nature Conservation Manager, Camden) issued the good news
that £14K of planning gain money is available for wildlife near Reachview
Close. Some of this money will be spent on wildlife shrubs and floating gardens.
Richard circulated some illustrations of the type of work being undertaken.
6.2 Richard described the nature of his work. It often involves commenting on
planning applications and recommending tree species (e.g. oaks). It also
involves selecting controlled lighting for bat protection.
6.3 Richard sometimes works in conjunction with Dr Mark Spencer, curator of the
Natural History Museum Department of Botany, and a widlife survey (of bats
along the canal) is scheduled for Thursday 8th August at 8pm at Camley Street.
6.4 Del Brenner asked whether the work covered wildlife in
water or whether it covered only the wildlife on land. Richard replied that
aquatic surveys are performed as part of planning applications.
6.5 The Camden Biodiversity Action Plan is now available online and can be
accessed via http://www.ukbap-reporting.org.uk/plans/lbap.asp.
6.6 Leanne Brisland (Biodiversity Officer, Islington) has written the Islington
Biodiversity Action Plan. This aims at minimizing the impact of developments.
She commented on the thriving colonies of bats and she has been working with
the Bat Conservation Trust, identifying bat sites.
6.7 Regrettably, Leanne's current post is disappearing following the budget
cuts and restructuring imposed on the council.
6.8 Kate Mitchell (Biodiversity Officer, Hackney) explained that she is in a
newly created post and she outlined her current projects. She is working with
various parties (including schools) in order to develop the Hackney
Biodiversity Action Plan. The waterways feature in their list of priorities.
ACTION 9. Richard Harris to supply electronic copies of the available
biodiversity information to the Friends of Regent's Canal
ACTION 10. Ian Shacklock to publish council biodiversity information on the
7. Any Other Business
7.1 Nicola Hyde (Art Lights London) gave a brief introduction to the GAMES
project. This involves a collaboration of 600 children working on an animated
light sculpture trail. These sculptures would be installed at selected sites
along the canal, between Paddington Basin and the Olympic site. The plan
includes two such projects in Islington and Camden, one at Camden Road Bridge
and one at Diespecker Wharf. The latter would feature an illuminated diver and
is being supported by Pollard Thomas Edwards, the architectural practice
located at the wharf. Ian Shacklock agreed to circulate information on the
7.2 Ian Shacklock pointed out that the e-mail circulation list included
residents from several boroughs but no councillors from Camden or Hackney were
included. He offered to notify all the councillors for canalside wards in
Camden and Hackney about future meetings.
7.3 The meeting concluded with an appreciation for Ian's work for the Friends
of Regent's Canal, not only for creating the website but also for inviting
interesting speakers and making relevant plans for the future.
ACTION 11. Ian Shacklock to circulate information on the GAMES project.
ACTION 12. Ian Shacklock to invite Camden and Hackney councillors to the next