Friends of Regent’s Canal - Minutes of Meeting

Date and Time:
Wednesday 29th May 2013, 7pm to 9pm
London Canal Museum, 12-13 New Wharf Road, London N1 9RT

Ian Shacklock

1. Present

Jo Gibbons J&L Gibbons
Leo Collier Islington Boat Club
Melanie Aust Islington Boat Club
Garrie Naden Resident, Wenlock Basin
Lucy Rogers Just Space; Resident near Queensbridge Road
Christina Richardson Resident, Queensbridge Road
Ian Shacklock Friends of Regent's Canal
Roger Squires St Pancras Cruising Club; Inland Waterways Association
David Fathers Author, 'The Regents Canal'
Robert Philpotts Author, 'When London Became an Island'
Leo Chapman Regents Network
James Tregaskis Resident, Union Wharf
Gemma Colgan Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art
Gordon Meen Reachview Resident; Friends of Regent's Canal (Camden)
Fiona Maclean London Narrow Boat Association; Resident, Battlebridge Basin
Lisa Tang Cally Arts
Sorwar Ahmed Canal and River Trust
Deborah Seyman Resident
Frances Burnett Resident
Ruth Aplin Resident
Gillian Comins Angel Association; Living Streets
Colette Bowe Angel Association
Anna Hayden Resident
Russel Hayden Resident
Zimba Moore Resident
Martin Thompson London Wildlife Trust
Imran Khan Constant Cruiser
Malcolm Tucker Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society.
Eric Sorensen Angel Association
Nigel Gansell Islngton Pensioners Forum

2. Apologies

Nic Shore
David Hewitt
Beryl Windsor
Cllr Martin Klute
Cllr Alice Perry
Lester May
Beverley Dean
Tony Islander
Andrew Deans

3. Introductions

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

4. Announcements

4.1 Angel Canal Festival

This year's festival will take place on 1st September. Beryl Windsor is recruiting volunteers to help on the day. A flyer for the event is available here. For the third year running, the Friends of Regent's Canal will have a stall.

5. Canal Park Project (Olympic Legacy)

5.1 Jo Gibbons gave a short presentation on progress made with the Hackney Cut Canal Park Project. In essence, the idea is to substantially widen the green space along the towpath between Old Ford [Lee] Lock and Eastway Bridge, to use the extra space for an avenue of Willow Trees (Pollarded) and to provide a green eco park behind them.

5.2 A leaflet about the progress is available here.

5.3 Here is a summary of the progress in 2013.

In Canal Park biodiversity, play and escapism come before development opportunities and net gross ratios.

Canal Park will be implemented over the next 10-15 years working to a Design Guide to ensure that the character and quality of the park are consistent in their delivery, and to protect and enhance the special qualities of the place when development of the new neighbourhood commences.

There are 6 key principles:
1. Engagement to inform design
2. Biodiversity as play
3. Accessibility as construcive change
4. Enriching rather than replacing
5. Towpath as edge habitat
6. Connectivity

Canal Park Phase 1 will start on site in September 2013, and complete in 2014. The scope of this work is to create better access; form the topography of the park; get planting established ahead of development; prepare a park landscape ready for further embellishment.

A network of conversations and range of possibilities has emerged for Canal park through developing a network that is geographically located close by with mutually beneficial creativity and skills.

A boat trip in November 2012 brought 60 or so stakeholders and community representatives together to network, view the park from the water, take in the heritage and the atmosphere of the Lee Navigation and discuss aspirations and possible collaborations. Talks on the boat highlighted specific opportunities which helped to develop key themes and priorities.

Next Steps:

Submit a planning application for Phase 1 in Summer 2013.

Grow the park through ongoing public engagement activities.

Involve 'Our Parklife', a Community Interest company attached to the Estates Facilities Management contract for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (QEOP).

Establish links between Canal Park and the HWFI Cultural Interest Group (CIG) as a viable route to access the business community and creative sector.

5.4 Roger Squires asked whether there were procedures and budgets in place for long-term maintenance of Pollarded Trees, and raised the problem of creeping willow tree roots. An assurance was given that strong bank protection, which would stop the roots' penetration, was going to be put in place.

6. Refurbishment of the Islington Boat Club

6.1 Melanie Aust gave a short presentation on proposals to replace the club house at City Road Basin.

6.2 A copy of the presentation (in PDF format) is available here

6.3 Leo Chapman asked whether the plans could be adapted to allow pedestrian access in front of the boat club.

7. General Discussion on Canalside Architecture

7.1 The chair drew the meeting's attention to some guidelines he had written for supporting or opposing development proposals. These were circulated at the start of the meeting and an online copy is available here.

7.2 There was strong support for these guidelines and the approach taken. The chair suggested that a sub-group should be formed to review and promote these guidelines. Several people at the meeting expressed an interest in taking part in this process.

8. Canal Information Centre in Camden

8.1 The management team at Starbucks have approached the "interested parties" in search of ideas for wall displays at the Lock Keeper's Cottage in Camden. A meeting had taken place at the Starbucks offices in Chiswick Park on 23rd May and was attended by Ian Shacklock and representatives of Starbucks, the Canal and River Trust, Camden Council and Camden conservation groups. The refurbishment is scheduled to start in September and Starbucks are collecting raw material from interested parties.

9. Other Issues raised

9.1 Recent attacks in Hackney and Islington.

9.2 Boat Fire at Packington.

9.3 GLA Mooring Review.

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