Cllr Paul Convery
Cllr Rupert Perry
Cllr Martin Klute
Cllr Richard Cotton
3.1 At the start of the meeting, all the attendees introduced themselves.
4.1 CRT Meeting with boaters and community groups
The Canal & River Trust (CRT) had arranged a meeting on 1st December to enable the council and other stakeholders to agree an action plan for managing the canal in Islington and Hackney. Places were limited but a healthy cross-section of the current Friends meeting had been invited and the chair urged everybody to liaise with suitable representatives.
Post-meeting note. A copy of the official meeting notes (PDF format) is available on our
4.2 Winter works open day at City Road Lock.
The Canal & River Trust had been carrying out repairs at City Road Lock and had arranged open days on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th December. This was an opportunity for volunteers to get involved and for the public to meet CRT engineers and to understand the nature of their work.
Post-meeting note. Some photographs of this event are available on the CRT
4.3 ACCT receives Queen's Award for Voluntary Service
On 2nd June 2014 the Angel Boat (Angel Community Canal Boat Trust) received a prestigious award as recognition of work done in their own
community. A press release is available on our
4.4 Vincent Terrace still closed.
The Vincent Terrace walkway along the offside of the canal has remained closed to the public for most of 2014. Some images of this picturesque stretch are available on our website
. This issue was discussed at our meetings on 19th February
. This issue is still being discussed by lawyers at Islington Council and the Canal & River Trust and we are expecting some progress to be announced in the new year.
4.5 Biodiversity dissertation.
On 1st July we were approached by Fanny Blanc, an MSc student in regional and urban planning studies at the London School of Economics. She had chosen to work on a project on biodiversity enhancement on the Regent's Canal and her focus was on the role of planning documents in the translation of scientific information into wildlife management and biodiversity enhancement. A copy of her final dissertation is available (in PDF format) on our
The chair urged everyone with a keen interest in biodiversity to read this and other documents. Charlie Kiss requested that it should be circulated to the local Green Party activists.
4.6 Architecture - demolition of gasholders in Tower Hamlets.
In late September we were notified about petitions to save the gasholders at
. These were organised by the East London Waterway Group and we helped their cause by tweeting their links to other campaign groups across London. Many people regard these structures as iconic landmarks on the canal, while others want to see them demolished to make way for housing. This subject has attracted media attention and prior to the meeting an article had appeared in the
4.7 Threat to the Book Barge at Paddington.
An online petition had been launched to show support for the floating bookshop that had become a popular and familiar sight near Paddington Basin. This had been reported on BBC London News and in the latest edition of Private Eye. Further details are available on our
Paddy Screech was unable to attend this meeting and local author David Fathers read out a statement on his behalf to the meeting. The chair suggested that discussion should be deferred until the national press office of the Canal & River Trust had responded.
5. Volunteering Opportunities - King's Cross
5.1 Elliot Lancaster of City West Services
introduced himself to the audience and outlined his proposals to work in partnership with local canal volunteers.
5.2 Elliot runs a cleaning company that has a contract with King's Cross Central. He has identified opportunities to use boats and other equipment to clear litter from the water surface and is keen to develop working relationships with the Friends of Regent's Canal.
5.3 Initial projects would cover the King's Cross area but there could be other opportunities in the future to extend this type of Corporate Social Responsibility to other stretches of the waterways.
5.4 If anybody wants to get involved with these proposals then they should contact
6. Regent's Canal East End Heritage Project
6.1 Carolyn Clark introduced herself to the audience and described an opportunity for the Friends to lead a Lottery-funded heritage project.
6.2 Carolyn had previously led a similar heritage project that spanned the Hackney stretches of the canal and she is applying for a grant for the Tower Hamlets and Hertford Union stretches.
6.3 Participants in the previous project included the Laburnum Boat Club and the Canals in Hackney User Group (CHUG). Special events included a
across Hackney and a
Then and Now
talk at Shoreditch Library. In addition, an exhibition was hosted at Shoreditch Library and at Laburnum Boat Club and booklets were distributed at various events.
6.4 If the Tower Hamlets bid is successful then the Friends of Regent's Canal will take a lead role in carrying out research, making connections and promoting the project.
7. Holborn Studios
7.1 Vincent McCartney, founder of Holborn Studios, introduced himself to the audience and explained the situation with the lease on the Eagle Wharf site. There are fresh proposals to demolish buildings on the site. The chimney and parts of the frontage would be retained but the studios in their current form would no longer exist. Vincent supplied copies of leaflets that were being distributed by the new landowners as part of a consultation.
7.2 There was overwhelming support from the audience to save the buildings and the studios.
The Friends of Regent's Canal will continue to challenge any proposals that compromise the existing canal frontage and the chair appealed for assistance in any future campaigns.
7.3 Post-meeting note: Examples of these proposals have been posted on our
8. Discussion on Canal Capacity
8.1 The main item on the agenda was a discussion on canal capacity. Unsurprisingly, this discussion was constrained by time limitations and not by shortage of viewpoints.
8.2 The printed agenda included the following ideas to stimulate discussion.
What are the rules for mooring?
Why do we need any rules?
Who are the winners and losers if the rules are enforced/relaxed?
What is the current mooring capacity?
How many spaces are permanently reserved?
How many spaces are available for short-term visitors?
How many spaces are available for continuous cruisers?
What is the maximum potential capacity?
Why is there no mooring along Regent's Park?
What are the pros and cons of installing electricity points?
How can different user types co-exist in this shared space without any group dominating?
Is there any demand for short-term moorings in London (e.g. at shops/pubs)?
Woulds anybody benefit from a booking system for visitor moorings?
What can be done to stop costs spiralling out of control?
8.3 Prior to the discussion the chair gave a short presentation to illustrate the available space along each stretch of the Regent's Canal. Boaters in the audience were already familiar with these scenes but the photographs provided useful context for residents and other canal users who were unfamiliar with areas outside their neighbourhood. The presentation demonstrated that there were no mooring spaces available between Little Venice and Primrose Hill. This was partly due to tunnels and other restrictions West of Regent's Park and partly due to an unwritten 'No Mooring' police along the perimeter of Regent's Park. The presentation slides are available at the following location:-
There was a lively discussion for over half an hour when members of the audience raised questions and comments. The original intention was to understand the mooring capacity and reasons for and against making alterations. No conclusions were reached but the discussion enabled a diverse cross-section of canal users to express their priorities and concerns. For example, residents of Treaty Street were concerned about the proximity and density of occupied boats on their doorsteps, visiting boaters complained about lack of available moorings for overnight stops, some of the local boaters wanted the Canal and River Trust to provide additional mooring rings while others wanted greater enforcement of existing rules. One area of disagreement was whether the whole length of the towpath should be dedicated to mooring or whether a significant proportion should be kept free for anglers, walkers and other users to appreciate the views of the water.
8.5 The chair adjourned the discussion when the allocated time had been exceeded and he urged everybody to use the coffee break,
e-mail and other means to continue to exchange viewpoints.