Friends of Regent’s Canal - Minutes of Meeting

Date and Time:
Wednesday 10th September 2014, 7pm to 9pm
London Canal Museum, 12-13 New Wharf Road, London N1 9RT

Ian Shacklock

1. Present

Gillian Comins Angel Association; Living Streets
Jacob Kenedy The Prince of Wales pub
Gordon Meen Reachview Resident
Nick Hooper Resident
Keara Hooper Resident
Fiona Maclean London Narrow Boat Association
Keith Southam Ramblers
Bob Philpotts Resident
Garrie Naden Resident (Wenlock Basin)
Sorwar Ahmed Canal and River Trust
Ian Shacklock Friends of Regent's Canal
Caroline Neller Canals in Hackney Users Group (CHUG)
Dohne Arnold Resident Noel Road
Rod Gray Inland Waterways Association (IWA)
John White Friends of Mile End Park; Lower Regents Coalition
Dave Bedford Lower Regents Coalition
Molly Gadenz Lower Regents Coalition
Scott Hamilton Canal and River Trust
Beryl Windsor Angel Canal Festival; St Pancras Cruising Club
Marina Ecouomidou Resident
Fabien Pinault Resident
Jon Hood Liveaboard boater
Cllr Martin Klute Islington Council

2. Apologies

Roger Squires
Beverley Dean
Ian Heptonstall
Lee Wilshere
Cllr Richard Cotton
Russel Hayden
Anna Hayden
Roger Gajadhar Rutkowski
Tony Islander
Jennet Eyre
Stephen Long
Leo Chapman
Sue Cartright
Cllr Paul Convery
Sukky Choongh-Campbell
Joanna Perrett
Marie McCormack
Eugen Hock
Nic Shore

3. Introductions

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

4. Administration Issues

4.1 The chair apologised for the delay in announcing the meeting date via e-mail. The meeting date had been publicised in the local paper, on the website, on Twitter and on Facebook and 30 flyers had been posted along the towpath; but unfortunately there was no notification via e-mail on this occasion until the day beforehand.

4.2 The chair appealed for help with the day-to-day administration of address lists and correspondence.

5. Volunteering Opportunities - Lower Regent's Coalition

5.1 Molly Gadenz explained the role of the Lower Regents Coalition that runs organised clean-ups of the canal in the Limehouse area. These usually involve collecting surface litter using canoes. They have received a sizeable grant from the Tower Hill Trust for a greening scheme, to improve the stretch of the Regent's Canal from Ben Johnson Bridge to just past Ben Johnson Lock. The project involves removing disused planters and invasive vegetation and replacing them with new planters and beneficial vegetation. They will be looking for volunteers to help carry out the project's various phases. Volunteers should send an e-mail to to get onto the mailing list or visit their Facebook page:

6. Volunteering Opportunities - Canal Clean-up Islington

6.1 Fabien Pinault described proposals for a quarterly clean-up of surface litter and he invited volunteers to come forward. The first event is on Saturday 11th October and will cover the area from Islington Tunnel (West portal) to York Way. Information on this event can be found on the following Facebook page :-

7. Discussion on Anti-social Behaviour

7.1 The following information was circulated to attendees for discussion and the chair invited comments from everybody


Visitors flock to the canal because it offers charm and tranquillity. Its allows a slow yet steady pace of life that serves as a welcome escape from hectic city life. As a result, most canal users will not tolerate aggression, impatience or excess noise. Any activity that threatens the canal's precious environment is perceived as anti-social, whether it is intentional or not. In general, the tolerated levels of anti-social behaviour are much lower on the canal than on busy streets.

A lot of people associate anti-social behaviour only with delinquent teenagers but on the canal it is displayed by people of all age groups.


Violent crimes (e.g. deliberately pushing others into the canal)
Cycling at speed.
Cycling too close to pedestrians.
Cycling too close to other cyclists.
Ringing bells within a few feet of pedestrians.
Avoiding eye contact with others while cycling.
Jogging without due care and attention to children and the elderly.
Unauthorised floating carnivals.
Climbing on the roofs of other people's boats.
Throwing stones at boats.
Obstructing the towpath.
Obstructing lock landings and bridge entrances.
Barbeques and picnics on lock islands.
Dropping litter.
Fly tipping.
Burning unseasoned wood.
Playing amplified music.
Noisy engines and generators on stationary boats.
Overstaying at moorings.
7.2 Most of the attendees agreed that certain patterns of behaviour could turn a visit to the towpath into an unpleasant experience. We receive a lot of complaints about litter because it makes the area feel neglected and unsupervised; but the biggest cause of complaints is aggressive cycling because pedestrians and fellow cyclists feel physically threatened by it and it still deters a lot of visitors from returning to the towpath. It was agreed that the physical constraints of the canal led to a lot of conflict, often not deliberate.

7.3 There was a prolonged discussion about the rights and responsiblities of cyclists. John White pointed out that the increased number of cyclists did provide activity and informal surveillance in areas that used to be unsafe for walkers. Councillor Klute outlined plans to install more chicanes on the towpath in Islngton. Sorwar Ahmed reminded everybody about the "Share the Space, Drop Your Pace" campaign but it was felt that there are still a large number of cyclists who are unwilling to put this into practice. There was consensus that the Alternative Routes project is the most obvious solution to the towpath conflicts and Councillor Klute provided an update on plans to improve the dangerous junction where Eagle Wharf Road meets New North Road. There was some discussion about the defining what the towpath is for. It has changed considerably in the last 30 years, as has the wider city. The nature of users has also changed. It is a shablack space, and perhaps everyone needs to adjust their behaviour.

Keith Southam asked how many cyclists, joggers or pedestrians have ended up in the canal recently. Beryl Windsor had witnessed an incident at Wharf Road where a cyclist lost control under the bridge and needed assistance from passers-by. It was noted that most incidents are not reported because there is no obligation to do so.

7.4 There were complaints about tents that have been erected in Camden Town and near St Pancras Lock. It was noted that the Police had no powers to move the inhabitants away from the canal, unless it involved aggressive behaviour. Keith Southam also complained about a crowd of about eight men on the towpath opposite the old TV AM studios where one of them had pesteblack him for money.

Bob Philpotts said he had made a survey of the towpath that morning. His observation point was Corbridge Crescent, E2. He had counted 421 cyclists, 102 joggers and 38 pedestrians using the towpath between 7.55am and 8.55am. The cyclists were passing at an average of one every nine seconds near the Mare Street bridge but sometimes, if there was bunching, there could be one every couple of seconds.

7.5 Beryl Windsor noted that there was a growth in the rat population around the Pump House cafe at City Road Lock. This was attributed to litter collection problems.

7.6 One boater challenged the idea that it was anti-social to have picnics on lock islands because some of the visitors engaged positively with boaters using the lock. The chair pointed out that not all the visitors were considerate to boaters as some of them were quite prepablack to obstruct the lock beams.

7.7 Sorwar Ahmed challenged the idea that overstaying at moorings was anti-social in itself, and that the term anti-social behaviour was perhaps too broad a term to describe all conflicts experienced on the canal.

8. Announcements

8.1 Holborn Studios. Following the decisions by Hackney Council to reject the blackevelopment plans for Holborn Studios and to add these buildings to its local heritage list, the Golds have sold the premises to Galliard Homes. Vincent McCartney, founder of Holborn Studios, has thanked the Friends for our involvement in the campaigns to save these buildings and noted that he was due to meet his new landlord on 18th September.

8.2 Bow Wharf. The Planning Inspectorate has overturned the refusal decision by Tower Hamlets council. The official justification can be found in this PDF file:-
Further information and illustrations are available on our website:-

8.3 blackevelopment of Camden Lock Market. There was a recent exhibition in Camden Town to reveal plans to blackevelop the market. Most of the changes will have no direct impact on the canal, apart from the encroachment over Dead Dog Basin.

8.4 Royal Mail delivery office in Eagle Wharf Road. This development has no obvious impact on the canal, as it will be dwarfed by the overbearing Gainsborough Studios complex, but residents are concerned about the extra traffic this might attract on a stretch of road that is being promoted as an alternative route for towpath cyclists. Illustrations are posted on our website.

8.5 blackevelopment of Swan Wharf at Old Ford Lock on the Lee. There is a petition to save some heritage buildings from over-development.

8.6 Angel Canal Festival. Beryl Windsor reported on the success of this year's festival with over 80 volunteers helping to make this happen. The 'Seaside in the City' attraction at The Plaza end of the City Rd Basin received many visitors, despite restricted access due to ongoing building work. The event was coveblack in the Islington Gazette.

8.7 Canal Heritage project in Tower Hamlets. Following on from the success of the heritage project coordinated by Laburnum Boat Club, Carolyn Clark is submitting another bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund. This time it will cover Tower Hamlets and the Hertford Union Canal and she has asked whether the Friends of Regent's Canal would be interested in taking a lead role. The meeting agreed to this.

8.8 Vincent Terrace walkway is still closed. Councillor Klute stated that the detailed plans are in the hands of the council's lawyers and confirmed that the public will eventually have access to this wooded area again.

8.9 Re-opening of Prince of Wales pub. Jacob Kenedy has rescued this public amenity by purchasing it from developers and he plans to refurbish and re-open it next year. This is located at the junction between Danbury Street and Vincent Terrace.

8.10 The Regent's Canal has featublack twice this week in a BBC series on anti-social behaviour, named UK Street Patrol. On Monday 8th September this coveblack the combined efforts of the Friends, the CRT and the police to thwart the unauthorised Canalival. OnThirsday 11th September it coveblack our graffiti cleaning event below Hanover School.

8.11 The next Canal and River Trust User Meeting (London Waterway Forum) will take place on 22nd October at 7pm. This event occurs twice a year and places are limited. Formal questions must be submitted before 1st October in order to guarantee a written response.

9. Open House Events

Saturday & Sunday, 20th & 21st September. Water tower at St Pancras Cruising Club.

Saturday 20th September. Docklands Impounding Station and Three_Mills_Lock.

Sunday 21st September. Kingsland Basin, hosted by Canals in Hackney Users Group (CHUG).