Friends of Regent’s Canal - Minutes of Meeting

Date and Time:
Wednesday 11th March 2015, 7pm to 9pm
London Canal Museum, 12-13 New Wharf Road, London N1 9RT

Ian Shacklock

1. Present

Ron Gooding Boater. Caretaker.
Steve Bass Resident, Treaty Street
Hilary Norris Resident, Treaty Street
Roger Squires St Pancras Cruising Club; Inland Waterways Association (NE London)
Ruth Aplin Resident
William Nawrocki Regent's Canoe Club
Dohne Arnold Resident Noel Road
Helena Marsh Resident
Sanne van der Steeg Student
Cornelius Continuous cruiser
David Roberts Boater
Jennet Eyre Angel Association
Denise Walker Hidden Depths Canal Cruises
Barbara Lightfoot Hidden Depths Canal Cruises
Gillian Comins Angel Association; Living Streets
Hamish Campbell London Boaters
Sanna Jonsson Buttery London Boaters
Meg Lee London boater. National Bargee Travellers Association
Fiona Maclean London Narrow Boat Association,local boater, resident
Becky Artmonsky
Tim Brice London Boaters
Richard Elkan London Canal Volunteers
Andrew Bosi Islington Society.
Johanna Price Resident
Heloise Desaissement
Will Dawson
John Perry Resident boater
Gordon Meen Reachview Resident
Nora Hutchings Reachview Resident
Eric Naylor Local resident and visiting boater
Del Brenner Regents Network. London Waterways Commission; Regents Canal CAAC
Carl Bialik Resident
Ian Shacklock Friends of Regent's Canal
Lester Hillman
Mikaela Khan Canal and River Trust
Jose Palamino-Navarro Reachview Resident

2. Apologies

Rod Gray
Beverley Dean
Cllr Rupert Perry
Cllr Martin Klute
Caroline Neller
Tony Islander
Nic Shore
Steve Ballard
James Tregaskis
Sorwar Ahmed
Jacob Kennedy
Garrie Naden
Carolyn Clark
Beryl Windsor
Sukky Choongh-Campbell
Cllr Clare Harrison
Charlie Kiss
David Bedford
Lewis Towns
Keith Southam

3. Introductions

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

4. Announcements

4.1 Graham Street Park has re-opened following a refurbishment. This adjoins the City Road Basin and forms part of the traffic-free pedestrian route from City Road Lock to the Plazza. Further details are available at

4.2 The picturesque Vincent Terrace walkway along the offside of the canal remains closed but a lease has now been signed by the Canal and River Trust and Islington Council. This issue was discussed at our meetings on 19th February, 28th May and 26th November.

4.3 The Pump House Cafe at City Road Lock has been closed for several weeks. The Canal and River Trust has reported that this is due to some internal works and the cafe is expected to re-open in Spring.

4.4 Jacob Kennedy, the new owner of the Prince of Wales pub, has submitted a planning application for the refurbishment. If successful then he will be serving food as well as drink when it re-opens. He has invited the Friends to their tea party events on 15th and 18th March.

4.5 A meeting of community boat operators had been scheduled for 12th March.

4.6 Since the last Friends meeting (26th November) the Canal and River Trust had held two meetings with stakeholders, on 1st December and 9th February. Attendees included councillors, council officers, local residents and boaters. No agreements have been reached yet and proposals are still being drawn up.

4.7 British Waterways Marinas Limited has announced a reduction in the hours of operation of the pump out and Elsan disposal point at Limehouse marina. With effect from 1st June they will be available only from 8am until 6pm (4pm in winter). The number of visitor moorings will also reduce.

4.8 The Friends of Regents Canal meeting flyers have attracted a complaint from a resident of Hackney. He objected to them because they remained on railings after the meeting dates and he believed they were illegal. Dick Vincent (Canal and River Trust towpath ranger) has advised him that our flyers are permitted on railings owned by the CRT, as they often help to recruit volunteers. We will endeavour to remove them within a week of the meetings and will avoid attaching them to council-owned railings. In the future we hope to be able to use space on community notice boards.

5. Question and Answer Session.

There was a general discussion on canal isues and attendees were free to raise questions or pass comment. Here is a selection of these questions and comments.

5.1 Gillian Comins asked about the shed that had appeared the top of the steps at Danbury Street. Mikaela Khan said that its purpose was probably to store tools for CRT workers.

5.2 Meg Lee asked why the CRT had spent only one million pounds on towpath improvements compared with 28 million on administration. She felt that the CRT should be giving boaters incentives to move away from hotspots and that this could be achieved by improving facilities along other parts of the 100 miles of waterway in London, rather than putting effort into enforcement.

5.3 Hamish Campbell asked whether the new private moorings above Acton's Lock would result in a reduction in mooring capacity along the towpath.

5.4 Ron Gooding commented on the discussions being held by the Better Relationships Group (BRG) and said that he was hoping to review a mooring map of London to track changes. He also described the work being done by various other groups in order to educate new boaters, for example the "Before you buy a boat" website.

5.5 Sanna Jonsson Buttery described an initiative for cleaning up rubbish on the canal. An event had already taken place and she invited others to join her for the next event.

6. Holborn Studios Open Day.

The Friends of Regent's Canal have been helping to promote the first ever open day at Holborn Studios and we have agreed to man a stall inside the building.

The purpose of this event is to raise awareness of the activities within these buildings, which host Europe's largest photographic studio complex. These buildings were added to Hackney Council's Local Heritage List last year and they lie firmly in the Regent's Canal Conservation Area, but this has not prevented property developers from eyeing up the site for luxury flats.

Details of the open day are available at

7. Election 2015.

The chair encouraged attendees to raise canal-related questions with parliamentary candidates if the opportunity arises at their doorsteps or in hustings meetings. Although the canal itself is very unlikely to become an election issue there are other topics such as pollution control and displacement of local workers in favour of luxury flats, which merit the candidates' attention.

8. Reclaim London

The Friends of Regent's Canal have been invited to join the Hackney Society and a wide variety of community and special interest groups in a coalition known as "Reclaim London". The first meeting was held on 9th March. One of the purposes of this initiative is to tackle the problems associated with rapid and insensitive development and regeneration that is destroying and displacing etablished communities .

9. Waterborne Freight

Del Brenner (London Waterways Commission) announced that a meeting of the Freight Group was scheduled for Monday 23rd March 2015 (5:30pm). Members of the public are permitted to observe this meeting in Committee Room 9 at City Hall.

There has always been strong support for water-borne freight from the Friends but a couple of attendees were doubtful that it could be revived in London.