Friends of Regent’s Canal - Minutes of Meeting

Date and Time:

Wednesday 23rd May 2012, 7pm to 9pm


London Canal Museum, 12-13 New Wharf Road, London N1 9RT


Ian Shacklock

1. Present

Frances Lee Elm Village Tenants & Residents Association
Mark Walton London Boaters
Morgan Phillips Resident, Treaty Street
Seth Wallis-Jones Boater
Tom Whitemore Locality
John Checkley Angel Community Canal Boat Trust.Angel Canal Festival.
Ben Myring King's Cross Development Forum
Roger Squires St Pancras Cruising Club; Inland Waterways Association
Tony Price Resident
Councillor Alice Perry London Borough of Islington
Garrie Naden Resident, Wenlock Basin
Tony Islander London Canals Project
Nic Shore Volunteer
Fiona Maclean London Narrow Boat Association
Beryl Windsor Angel Canal Festival, St Pancras Cruising Club
Lisa Tang Thornhill Bridge Community Gardeners
Eric Sorensen Angel Association
Judith Paris GetMore
Ian Shacklock Friends of Regent's Canal
Leo Chapman Regents Network.
Del Brenner Regents Network. London Waterways Commission;
Regents Canal CAAC
Gordon Meen Resident, Reachview
Jessica Pappalardo Architectural Association
Jaclyn Pappalardo Canal User
Gillia Comins Angel Association; Living Streets
David Hilling Inland Waterways Association

2. Apologies

Caroline Russell
Naomi Newstead
Brian Fender
Rob Inglis
Beverley Dean
Lester May
Bhupesh Thapa
Bhupesh Thapa

3. Introductions

3.1 At the start of the meeting, all the attendees introduced themselves.

4. Announcements and Updates

4.1 Beryl Windsor announced that the Angel Canal Festival would be going ahead on Sunday 2nd September, despite the Olympic restrictions on boat movements. This is an annual, one-day festival at City Road Basin and is now in its 26th year. There will be bands, a funfair, street theatre, boat races and numerous stalls. This year there will be extra funds available for local events, because Islington Council has received some Olympics-related money from the GLA and it has decided to allocate a portion of its share to this festival. As such there will be nine additional forms of entertainment provided from a 'GLA approved list'. The festival will be opened by the Mayor of Islington. It was noted that the floating market at Little Venice might like to get involved.

4.2 Volunteers are requested for two-hour stints.

5. Issues in St Peter's Ward

5.1 Councillor Alice Perry announced that Islington and Hackney Councils were cooperating over an alternative cycle route to relieve pressure on the canal towpath. A dangerous crossing with New North Road, near Gainsborough Studios, is deterring cyclists from using this route, and the councils will be working with Transport for London, to relocate a nearby set of traffic lights. The Chair noted that the cycling groups are in favour of an alternative route and many cyclists feel that improving the street-level cycle routes is more important than altering the narrow towpath.

5.2 Alice reminded people to report any nuisance behaviour, including excessive generator noise. Islington Council is being encouraged to enforce the rules, even though the noise is occurring on British Waterways waterspace.

5.3 Alice noted that the council is acting to ensure that the gate from City Road to the basin (West edge) is kept unlocked, and that it should remain unlocked until dusk.

5.4 She also reported that the planning application for a new café (at City Road Lock) had been withdrawn.

6. Issues elsewhere along the Canal

6.1 The chair noted that demolition is underway at Rosemary Works, and wondered whether the rubble would be transferred by road or by water. A comment was made that Section 106 agreements can be used to enforce use of the canals to carry away spoil, etc.

6.2 A lot of boats appear to have moved out of Kingsland Basin and the chair asked whether they had been forcibly evicted by the developers. It was noted that boat residents had been temporarily moved during dredging work. This could explain why there has been a large increase in boats moored along the towpath in Hackney.

6.3 There was a discussion concerning a proposed bridge from the Kings Cross Central site to Camley Street Natural Park; and there were concerns that it might dissect the park. It was agreed to keep an eye on any development here to ensure that the bridge did not have a negative impact on the park.

7. Localism Bill

7.1 Ben Myring explained the possible impact of the Localism Bill on the canal. He introduced the idea of drawing up canal-focused chapters for inclusion in any Neighbourhood Plans.

7.2 Volunteers were invited to assist in working on such a document.

8. Innovative Uses of the Canal (Transport)

8.1 Judith Paris (GetMore) explained that she had founded a social enterprise hub called GetMore that was a 'Do Tank' (rather than a Think Tank). They test out ideas as projects that can help improve our local community and develop them into sustainable social enterprises with young and old entrepreneurs. She described one of their latest projects, named LocalMotion. This is currently at 'Blue Sky' stage, and it is aiming to provide a passenger link on the canal with up to ten solar-powered craft.

8.2 A discussion took place on how this might become financially viable, how it would cope with potential delays at locks and whether it would cause disruption to residents after dusk.

8.3 It was noted that the project might benefit from the legacy of the 'Olympic Chariot' scheme.

9. Innovative Uses of the Canal (Architecture)

9.1 Jessica Pappalardo, a student from the Architectural Association, had undertaken a project for her architecture degree, which focused on the Regents Canal, particularly the area between Mile End and Haggerston. This project looked at various innovative ways of using and developing the canal, including reclaiming public spaces along the canal by organising free public aerobics classes. She also outlined her proposed model for future residential developments, based on ‘inlets’ from the canal with public squares of water around which the building would be constructed, utilising the ground floor for public and canal-focused uses.

9.2 One questioner asked whether there would be room for additional greenspaces. Jessica explained that she had not factored that in, but that roof gardens would be possible. Another questioner raised the problem of overly high buildings causing wind tunnels and overshadowing along the canal. There was some discussion as to whether the proposed design met the London Plan’s condition that all waterside developments should be planned ‘from the water’.

9.3 Jessica also drew attention to some of the negative press that the canal receives, detailing the story of a murdered actress whose dismembered corpse was found in the canal near Broadway Market on 6th March. She also pointed to inappropriate developments, such as the encroachment onto the towpath found near Camden Market.

9.4 Some of Jessica's project material has been posted on the Friends of Regent's Canal website.

10. The future of the Canal Information Centre in Camden Town

10.1 A discussion took place on the future of the Canal Information Centre, at the Lock Keeper's Cottage, which had been threatened by a complete takeover by Starbucks. The Chair noted that the perceived threat had been warded off for now, but that consideration needs to be given for what is actually wanted there, and how it would be manned and funded. Congratulations were given to the Chair for his work on this.

10.2 Further information is available on the Friends of Regent's Canal website.

11. Five-year and Thirty-year Visions for the Canal.

11.1 The final item on the agenda was an open discussion on the long-term future of the canal. Unfortunately there was insufficient time to proceed with this discussion, and the chair merely outlined the reasons for raising this subject at this time.

11.2 This discussion continued after the meeting with a series of e-mails from interested individuals after all the attendees had been invited to submit comments. One of the topics was the revival of dual locks.

11.3 These discussions will need to be resumed over the summer period while the Canal and River Trust is still being established.

Post Meeting Notes.

Regarding paragraph 5.2, the ASB team can be contacted on 020 75277272 or via the link
The Noise Patrol Manager is : Louise Norris, Noise Patrol, Islington Council, Municipal Offices, 222 Upper Street, London N1 1XR. Tel: 020 75273258.

Regarding paragraph 6.2, it is understood that the moorings in Kingsland Basin are in the process of being reconfigured to allow access to the new Sanitary Facilities, etc. This is being provided by the developer at its own expense.

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