Friends of Regent’s Canal - Minutes of Meeting

Date and Time:

Wednesday 5th September 2012, 7pm to 9pm


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


Ian Shacklock

1. Present

Ian Shacklock Friends of Regent's Canal
Leo Chapman Regents Network.
Del Brenner Regents Network; London Waterways Commission;
Regents Canal Conservation Area Advisory Committee
Gordon Meen Resident, Reachview
Tom Whitemore Locality
Roger Squires St Pancras Cruising Club; Inland Waterways Association
Garrie Naden Resident, Wenlock Basin
Tony Islander London Canals Project
Beryl Windsor Angel Canal Festival; St Pancras Cruising Club
Jo Gibbons J&L Gibbons
Amelia Shaw Resident, Lisson Grove Moorings
Ethel Davies Resident, Lisson Grove Moorings
Lewis Towns Crowther and Towns
June Drew Resident, Little Venice
Jenine Norton Resident, Little Venice
David Drew Resident, Little Venice
Elizabeth Virgo Resident, Little Venice
Richard Bunting Resident, Islington
Martin Thompson London Wildlife Trust
Giles Eyre Angel Community Canal Boat Trust
Ruth Aplin
Rod Wakem
Zannthie Bennett King's Cross Neighbourhood Forum
Philip James King's Cross Neighbourhood Forum
Steve Burt Canal and River Trust Local Partnership; St Pancras Cruising Club; Angel Canal Festival
Martine Laurent Resident, E3.
Stephen White
Greg Ward Prospective boater

2. Apologies

Brian Fender
Rob Inglis
Beverley Dean
Lester May
Bhupesh Thapa
Mark Walton
Ben Myring
Nic Shore
Natalie Bennett

3. Introductions

3.1 At the start of the meeting, all the attendees introduced themselves. There were new joiners from Little Venice, Lisson Grove, Tower Hamlets, Camden and Islington.

4. Announcements and Updates

4.1 The meeting congratulated Roger Squires and Beryl Windsor who had both been awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. Roger's award was for services to Inland Waterways and Beryl's was for services to the Angel Canal Festival.

4.2 The plans for a cafe at City Road Lock have been revised. It will now contain space for community use, a gallery and a workshop; and the plans for exterior cladding have been dropped. The chair felt that the revisions were sufficient to attract overall support from the Friends.

4.3 The plans for the Canal Information Centre in Camden Town are being reworked by Starbucks. The chair was optimistic that the revisions would offer a reasonable compromise.

4.4 Natalie Bennett had been elected as national leader of the Green Party on 3rd September. Although Natalie had not attended any Friends meetings, she has been an active contributor behind the scenes and has shown a keen interest in Camley Street Natural Park and the Canal Information Centre.

4.5 The Angel Canal Festival took place on Sunday 2nd September and it was a great success. For the second year running, the Friends of Regent’s Canal had a stall on the main towpath looking out onto the basin.

4.6 British Waterways has been replaced by the Canal and River Trust (CRT) as the navigational authority. There are opportunities for the public to donate money towards fundraising appeals. On the day of the launch of the CRT, nineteen appeal projects had been launched across the country and two of them are on the Regent's Canal:

5. Community Organisers.

5.1 Tom Whitemore explained the work being done by community organisers along the Lower Lee and Regentís Canal.

5.2 Tom is one of two trainee community organisers working along the Regents Canal and Lower Lee, who are part of a nationwide programme creating a new home grown movement of community organising emerging directly from the strengths, concerns and hopes of local people.

5.3 Their goal is to bring people together in a way where they see the value of the community they are part of and want to contribute to making it work. The work is about building relationships and networks of people in specific areas where there is a need for change.

5.4 Their vision is for the Regents Canal and Lower Lee to become a place where people come together, where people listen to each other, and where solutions to problems can be found, whether they relate to the waterways, the towpath or nearby residencies.

5.5 Tom would like to listen to anybody who wants change and believes change is possible.

5.6 Additionally, Tom is seeking help from anybody with a few hours to spare a week to join their listening team, to lend their expertise or to simply help in other ways.

Please contact or 07964 110442

5.7 Tom was asked to explain who he was working for. First and foremost Tom is working for the community. The agenda is dictated by the people in the community and it is for the community to decide how best to use any information gathef. Tom and his colleague are employed by Locality, a charity organisation that specialises in setting up and growing community enterprise, community assets and social action. The programme is funded by the Office for Civil Society.

5.8 Timeframes. Currently funding lasts until the end of March. Further funding is in place until 2015 dependent on sourcing match funding and identifying need and take-up.

6. Wildlife on Your Waterways.

6.1 Martin Thompson (London Wildlife Trust) introduced a new project to improve habitats and to address litter problems in the Kingís Cross area.

6.2 Wildlife on Your waterways is the first project to have adopted a stretch of canal in the London area. The project has come about as a result of the transition of British waterways to CRT. The adoption area runs from just below Camden Lock Market to Islington Tunnel and will focus on management and enhancement of the green spaces and aquatic environment found in and along the canal. This is a two year project based at Camley street Natural park and it is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Assuming that the project is successful there is the possibility of expanding the management area and canal work has been cited as a core area of work for Camley street in the future.

6.3 There will be a focus on surveying and reporting what is found in the canal environment and this will dictate the management strategies implemented. Maintaining the canal as a navigable waterway will always be at the forefront of any work carried out. The CRT has said that any habitat rafts installed on the canal must be removed at the end of the project. Martin will be reporting to the CRT as the project progress. This will be especially important in areas that are beyond the project's scope, for example large objects in the canal or maintenance of canal infrastructure.

6.4 Waterways clean up will be an area that the project aims to work on. Here the focus will be on floating litter. Martin is in the process of finding out locations to dispose of any waste collected. Training on waterways clean ups will be delivered by Thames 21 at Camley street. Martin welcomes open discussion on possible solutions to preventing litter from getting into the canal in the first place.

6.5 Community events will be held thoughout the project and Martin welcomes any thoughts on locations and activities for these, as well as any reports of wildlife sightings seen on any part of the canal.

6.6 The project was launched on 26th July at Camley Street. At this event it was announced that the project's two key partners were the London Canal Museum and the Friends of Regent's Canal.

7. Olympic Park.

7.1 Jo Gibbons introduced the Canal Park project. This is funded by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and was recently awarded to J & L Gibbons, landscape architects heading a team with "muf, East" and Meadowcroft Griffin

7.2 Jo had approached the Friends of Regent's Canal after finding our website and she thanked us for allowing her to speak at the meeting.

7.3 The Canal Park is a 1.2km stretch of the Hackney Cut, and forms the western edge of the Olympic Park, and the southern end of the Lea Valley Regional Park

7.4 The approach to the project is to allow the engagement process to inform the brief and key priorities of a phase 1 budget of £1.1m

7.5 An Olympic Legacy Waterways Strategy will also inform the project, being drafted by the Canal & Rivers Trust with the LLDC

7.6 There are various planning commitments to be satisfied in the park including targets for open space, biodiversity and play

7.7 LLDC's other key priorities are accessibility and community engagement, particularly as the project forms the threshold to the Olympic Park for the existing communities of Hackney Wick and Fish Island

7.8 Jo noted that an audit of soils, ecology, green infrastructure, access and structures would be carried out to identify key issues and assets

7.9 Jo noted the importance of the canal heritage, and informed the meeting that she is a member of English Heritage's London Advisory Committee and Parks and Garden's Panel

7.10 The project will last until Christmas 2012, with Phase 1 being delivered by July 2013 when parts of the north Olympic Park will be re-opened

7.11 Jo handed out a flyer with project information and asked the Friends to forward any ideas, comments or contacts of people or groups she should get in touch with.

7.12 Jo also displayed a large illustrative plan of the completed Olympic Park Masterplan as it might look in 10-15 years time.

8. Accessibility.

8.1 There was a brief discussion on public accessibility to the canal, with particular concerns about City Road Basin.

8.2 Leo Chapman has been actively lobbying Islington Council, Groveworld and the National Grid, in order to open up the gates on the two sides of the basin.

8.3 Comments were made about Granary Square (King's Cross), which is accessible to the public but is privately owned. Witnesses are concerned about the extensive use of pressure washers on the giant steps. This seems to be environmentally wasteful and it could result in a rather sanitised surrounding that will never blend in with the industrial heritage that we are trying to protect.

9. Proposed Mooring Changes at Noel Road

9.1 The Canal and River Trust has proposed that the Islington Visitor Moorings could be converted to residential moorings. This would help to resolve conflicts between Noel Road residents and the owners of overstaying boats, on the basis that the electric points would alleviate the need for generators and wood fires. However, it would result in a net loss of available moorings for genuine visitors and continuous cruisers within Islington and could set an undesirable precedent that could be replicated elsewhere.

9.2 There were no residents of Noel Road present and no representatives of London Boaters, but that did not stop discussion from taking place about suitable locations and densities for different types of mooring.

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