Subject: Friends of Regent's Canal - Completion of the Canal Information Centre.

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to announce that the Regent's Canal Information Centre is about to reopen in the Lock Keeper's Cottage in Camden Town.

As many of you are aware, this marks the conclusion of an 18-month saga that has touched on planning laws, the viability of the Big Society model, the concealed emotions of local community groups, the changing trends in dissemination of tourist information, and so on. It has united and divided numerous groups and has served as a steep learning curve for everyone involved.

This project has been funded by Starbucks (the ongoing tenant of the Lock Keeper's Cottage) and the majority of the canal information has been supplied via ourselves. Camden Council has been instrumental in restructuring the interior layout of the building, and over the past few months a handful of canal enthusiasts have been engaged with Starbucks designers to arrive at a series of information display boards and murals. Please click on this link to see a preview of the displays:-

The concept of a Starbucks funded canal heritage centre might not be everyone's cup of tea, but there are valid reasons why we have ended up in this situation. The provision of this information centre is a S106 condition of the building lease, the council has reacted to public opinion by enforcing this condition and the Starbucks senior managers responded very rapidly when they recognised that we cared passionately about the revival of this facility.

Please take the opportunity to visit this centre when it reopens (hopefully by the end of this week) and please send us feedback on the way it looks and works. This is just the start of our real work. The information centre will serve as a catalyst to motivate people to take an interest in the canals and it is now up to us to supplement the visitor information with websites, networks and services to sustain people's interests.

Best wishes

Ian Shacklock
Chair, Friends of Regent's Canal

23rd September 2013