Subject: Friends of Regent's Canal - Events and News

Dear Friends


Next Wednesday the Canal and River Trust will be holding the Spring User Group Meeting. It is scheduled to start at 7pm on Wednesday 13th March at the London Canal Museum, 12-13 New Wharf Road, N1 9RT. This could be an invaluable opportunity for some of you to meet the key players in the London region, and to understand their constraints, issues and areas that need to be addressed. I am afraid that it is too late to submit formal questions in advance, but questions will be taken from the floor during the meeting. You are welcome to send questions to myself and I will help to coordinate any common concerns.


Many of you are aware of the proposals to demolish the Victorian chimney and industrial frontage at Eagle Wharf. This was discussed at our November meeting. The majority of people that I have spoken to are opposed to these plans, and this is quite understandable while we are gearing up for the canal's bicentenary. At our November meeting very few of us knew that this site is occupied by a thriving local business that attracts some of the top names in photography and that maintains the premises to high standards. I can now report that the enthusiasm of canal heritage supporters is being matched by the enthusiasm of the arts and media industries to save Holborn Studios. I am very keen to ensure that the Friends of Regent's Canal are not perceived as a group that systematically opposes change, so I think the best approach is to put our combined energy into suggesting alternative proposals for this site, resulting in a design that does not rip the heart out of this part of London.

The deadline for commenting on this plan is 18th March. Please click below to see the official documents that support it. You are welcome to comment directly and I am happy to assist, whether you are for or against the plan.


Next Week the towpath in Islington will be closed for resurfacing and widening. I regret that this will involve some loss of grass verges. To the naked eye, these stretches of grass are not very spectacular, but they provide an important contribution to the canal-side habitat; and council officers are weighing up the impact of this loss. If anybody has any lateral thoughts on how we can rescue the biodiversity without harming the project objectives (for example by using tougher grass or by creating green walls) then your comments will be appreciated.

An important side-effect of this towpath closure is that it will be a golden opportunity to promote an alternative route for commuter cyclists. We are looking for volunteers to collect statistics of cycle traffic before and during the closure and to hand out leaflets. Help is required between 8am and 9am on 13th & 14th March and between 8am and 9am on 19th and 20th March. If you are able to assist then please contact myself or Rosie Tharp (Strategic Cycle Routes Coordinator, 0203 204 4435, 07919 560431,


Although there have been no major events so far this year, we have been very busy behind the scenes, discussing mooring congestion, air quality, towpath changes, missed opportunities for using the canal for construction waste, and so on. I hope to publish a report on these activities in the near future, but if you have any specific questions then please do not hesitate to ask.

Best wishes,

Ian Shacklock
Chair, Friends of Regent's Canal

8th March 2013

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