Friends of Regent’s Canal Minutes of Meeting

Date and Time:
Wednesday 13th February 2013, 7pm to 9pm
London Canal Museum, 12-13 New Wharf Road, London N1 9RT

Ian Shacklock

1. Present

Garrie Naden Resident (Wenlock Basin)
F McCreedy Resident of Lisson Green and walker on canal
David Hewitt Angel Association
John Checkley Angel Community Canal Boat Trust
Lewis Towns Crowther and Towns Ltd
Linda Lucas Resident, Noel Road
Pauline Lord Resident, Noel Road
Beryl Windsor Angel Canal Festival, St Pancras Cruising Club
Dohne Arnold Resident, Noel Road
Kelley Kim London School of Economics
Aleiandro Sajgalik London School of Economics
Andrew Deans Resident
Natasha Clayton Camden Friends of the Earth
Paula Karlsson The Finnish Institute of London
PC Mark Greenock Marine Police Neighbourhood Team
Jean Dollimore London Cycling Campaign (Camden Branch)
Gillian Comins Angel Association; Living Streets
Nigel Gansell Islington Pensioners Forum
Mary Cosh Islington Society
Tony Islander London Canals Project
Tim Eastop Canal and River Trust
Trevor Parsons London Cycling Campaign (Hackney Branch)
Martin Savage The Pumphouse Café (City Road Lock)
Phil Paulo London Wildlife Trust, Camley Street
Moira Lascalles The Architecture Foundation
George Coulouris London Cycling Campaign (Camden Branch)
Eric Sorensen Angel Association
Cllr Martin Klute Islington Council (St Peter's Ward)
Del Brenner Regents Network. London Waterways Commission; Regents Canal CAAC
Paul Strudwick Inland Waterways Association
Ian Heptonstall Resident
Ian Shacklock Friends of Regent's Canal
Paul Grainger Institute of Education
Keith Brown Community Organisers
Rosie Tharp Canal and River Trust
Martin Sach Chair of Trustees, London Canal Museum

2. Apologies

Nic Shore
Roger Squires
Bob Philpotts
Martin Reading
David Fathers
Christian Wolmar
Lester May
Caroline Russell
Terry Garland
Beverley Dean
Melanie Aust
Zannthie Bennett
Jo Gibbons
Holly Ellyatt
Fiona Maclean

3. Introductions

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

4. Announcements

4.1 The chair announced a vacancy for a chief executive at the Canal and River Trust, following the resignation of Robin Evans. Closing date for applications was 25th February.

4.2 He also announced that there was a continual stream of vacancies for volunteers (for example lock keepers and participants in the Towpath Task Force)

5. London Canal Museum Project

5.1 Martin Sach gave an overview of a museum project to create a permanent exhibition of the building's early history as an ice warehouse. This is related to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to perform essential repairs to the lower structure of the building. Martin was appealing for volunteers to join the steering committee to help to shape the project over the coming months. (Click here to see an article about this project in the Islington Tribune).

6. Policy Statement

6.1 The chair read out the following statement:
"All of the Friends of Regent's Canal want to preserve the tranquillity and slow pace of life on and around the canal".

6.2 Nobody at the meeting disagreed with this statement and this gave guest speaker Rosie Tharp a clear indiciation that her audience would be generally supportive of her objectives.

7. Alternative Cycle Routes

7.1 The chair introduced Rosie Tharp, the newly appointed Strategic Routes Coordinator, and explained that Rosie's post had been created as a result of persistent lobbying by the Friends of Regent's Canal, councillors, residents and cycle representatives. Opinions are often divided over whether towpath cycling should be permitted, promoted or banned, but it was almost inconceivable that anybody at the meeting would oppose the idea of finding safer cycle routes away from the canal.

7.2 Rosie then gave a illustrated presentation on the challenges she faces and the background behind her appointment. This included historic and forecast statistics for cycle volumes and some photographs of towpath access points and key road junctions.

7.3 There has been pressure from the British Medical Association to encourage more people to cycle and the London Mayor aims to increase cycle numbers by 400 per cent in the next seven years. This explains the rising congestion on the towpath, but it also means that extra funding needs to be made available for improving the cycle facilities at street level.

7.4 Rosie explained that one of her first tasks was to research the start and end points of typical commuter journeys and a survey is underway. The findings of this survey will help to prioritise the road sections and routes that need improving or promoting. This will help us to understand whether the towpath forms a natural part of the commuters' routes or whether they go out of their way to reach the towpath to avoid specific road hazards.

7.5 Rosie has already started discussions with councils, councillors, cycle groups and other interested parties. The Friends of Regent's Canal have been identified as a key stakeholder and will remain involved throughout the project.

7.6 The chair urged everybody to give support to this project whenever it is needed

7.7 Images from the presentation can be viewed here:-

7.8 Further information is available via these links:-

BBC News
Islington Gazette
Camden Cyclists
Rosie's Twitter Account.

8. Canal Safety and Security

8.1 PC Mark Greenock addressed the meeting and explained the role and approach of his team. Mark works for the Marine Police Unit, which works in a similar way to the Safer Neighbourhoods team.

8.2 Mark encouraged everybody to report anything suspicious. The main number is 101 and if an emergency response is required then 999 should be used.

8.3 Mark supplied some A4 and A3 posters, and invited people to display these prominently. These have been displayed prominently at the Islington and Victoria Park Visitor Moorings and an example is available here.

8.4 Mark was quizzed about the pros and cons of locking park gates. Whilst boaters feel more secure with gates locked at visitor moorings, Mark explained that it can often make it more difficult for the police to catch criminals. There is clearly no simple solution to the gate locking debate, so everybody needs to be more proactive in reporting anything that looks out of place.

8.5 Further information on Project Kraken can be found on

8.6 Mark can be reached on e-mail via

9. Floating Viewpoint at Camley Street

9.1 Phil Paulo (London Wildlife Trust) gave an illustrated presentation on a proposed floating viewpoint at Camley Street Natural Park. He was supported by Moira Lascalles (The Architecture Foundation) and Paula Karlsson (The Finnish Institute of London).

9.2 The purpose of this platform was to assist the LWT in their canal maintenance responsibilities and to provide an educational resource for the local community and schools.

9.3 Phil was consulting local stakeholders to see whether any design changes were needed. He had already received an objection from Roger Squires (Inland Waterways Association) because the original design was a navigational hazard. Roger and Phil met in January to discuss how the envelope of the platform could be changed.

9.4 Some of the boaters felt that the platform was acceptable, provided that it was kept well out of the way of the navigational channel; but one boater was strongly opposed to any loss of valuable waterspace, whether it was navigable or not.

9.5 The chair pointed out that he would have personally opposed the proposals if the platform had been intended for private use, but since it was being made available to the public at no charge there was no cause for alarm.

9.6 A towpath user commented that the modern design did not seem appropriate for the historic canal setting.

9.7 Some illustrations from the January version of the design document can be found here.

10. General Updates

10.1 There was insufficient time for any general discussions, but attendees were supplied with a status report that covered miscellaneous topical issues. Click here to see the contents of that report.

Post Meeting Notes.

An article about the alternative cycle routes appeared in the May edition of Waterways World. Click here to see a copy.

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