Hackney LCC meeting Wednesday 1 May 2002

Venue: Pub on the Park, London E8

Present:

Douglas Carnall, Tim Evans, Marian Farrugia, Katie Hanson, Sally Haywill, Trevor Parsons, Brenda Puech, Oliver Schick, Lucy Thomas, Sarah Parry Jones, David Smith, Ben Webster.

Chair: Oliver Schick

Minute taker: Marian Farrugia

Apologies for absence

None

Topics discussed:

1. Reports back
2. Matters arising
3. Nick Hutt memorial
4. National Cycle Network Route 1 consultation
5. Funding applications
6. Car(e) Free Day
7. Bike week
8. Hackney LCC stalls at festivals this summer
9. Bike parking on estates
10. ‘Up To Speed’ leaflet
11. Council Forward Plan
12. Hackney 2020 Transportation Sub-Partnership
13. Robberies
14. AOB

1. Reports back

Shoreditch/Pitfield Street

Trevor reported that Hackney’s transport department is still pressing for a reply from Transport for London regarding the rat run at Pitfield Street. Given a trade-off between signalising Old Street roundabout and getting rid of the Pitfield Street rat run, with its resultant benefits for the cycle route, Hackney LCC’s position is to put priority on the latter.

David suggested that since this was a major cycling route, we could leaflet the area with information.

Action: Ongoing.

Bishopsgate Goodsyard
Oliver reported that some Hackney LCC members had, in a personal capacity, attended meetings about this site on the southern border of the borough (facing onto Shoreditch High Street) and that the debate with regards the demolition of the goods yard is still on-going.

A number of local business, residents and faith groups fear that demolition would result in a ‘Broadgate Mk II’ on the site, which would not offer real mixed use and integration with the existing diverse communities and activities surrounding the goodsyard. The cycling and sustainable transport interest would clearly be served by a low-impact, mixed use development rather than ten acres of high-rise offices. The issue is, however, controversial because those who are pro-demolition are claiming that this is the only way in which the East London Line extension can be facilitated, while others point to expert evidence that the existing structure could hold the new tube line without problem.

However, with a very full agenda it was decided to postpone further discussion, including, if appropriate, the reaching of a group position on the issue.

Action: Ran out of time – discuss in June.

STAbikes breakfast
Sally reported that the Sir Thomas Abney primary school’s bikers’ breakfast held at the school was very successful and generated £100. The STAbikes programme is going well and there are more schools interested in the project, particularly Grasmere. The project was therefore planning to apply for further money.

LCC Training Day
Tim reported that he, Sally and Sarah Bickford had found the LCC training day on campaigning techniques and very useful. Using her experience with STA Bikes, the Sir Thomas Abney school bike project, Sally ran a workshop on how to organise and run such a project.

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2. Matters arising

Maintenance workshop

Workshop stalwarts Ross Corben and Paul Standeven currently not very available because of other commitments.

Adam Thompson has been turning up regularly to help. Tim suggested that we need to skill up people who have some basic mechanical knowledge so that they could help out with the workshop.

Action: Tim to contact Adam and Patrick regarding organising some training sessions for potential workshop volunteers.

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3. Nick Hutt memorial

We were all saddened by the news that Dr Nick Hutt, popular Hackney GP and long-time member of the LCC, died on 19 April, aged just 51. He had a skin cancer that continued to spread despite treatment. Among his many contributions to the group and to cycling in the locality, Nick helped to get the CycleActive project funded. For a time he hosted our meetings in the Well Street Surgery where he worked, and he cut a familiar figure riding around the borough, whether on his cool customised ghetto bike or, latterly, on his groovy BikeE. He will be sadly missed.

Several members went to Nick’s funeral on 29 April at the City of London Crematorium, and were honoured to accept the Hutt family’s invitation to their home after the ceremony, where Nick’s life was remembered and celebrated in great style.

Nick’s GP partners had suggested to Douglas that an appropriate memorial to his life would be the naming of a piece of cycle infrastructure after him. The meeting discussed options for this, which ranged from a project-type memorial – for instance, a scheme which would encourage primary care health workers to cycle – to a more ‘solid’ infrastructure memorial – e.g. a route, a cycle parking facility, or even a drinking fountain.

It was agreed that more planning and thinking needs to be allotted to this topic, keeping Nick’s family and friends consulted at all stages.

Douglas has a plan to do photographic portraits of local GPs who cycle. The results could be published as a booklet which would also include personal narratives. We decided to allocate £100 for Douglas’s photo expenses, which could then be reclaimed if a wider grant application was successful.

Action: three subgroups were formed with the task to come back with more concrete proposals for the next meeting. Groups are as follows:

  • Photo album of local cycling GPs: Douglas to lead.
  • Infrastructure subgroup: Lucy to lead.
  • Primary healthcare workers sub group: Tim and Marian to lead.

Anybody who is interested in joining these subgroups should contact the above leads.

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4. National Cycle Network Route 1 consultation

Sarah Parry Jones, who, besides being a local cyclist, also plans Sustrans routes in London, said that the National Cycle Network route 1 linking the Lea Valley to the central London was now being planned and upgraded. She was therefore inviting local cyclists to participate in planning the Hackney section of the route.

Actions: publish the proposed route and invite comments. Sarah, Tim and others will be riding the route and surveying the options on Thursday 16th of May. Anyone else who is interested is most welcome to come along. Meet 7pm at Tim’s House: 155, Chatsworth Road – opposite where the cycle route joins the road.

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5. Funding applications

There are at the moment several pots of money for projects to encourage cycling. A mini-brainstorm was held around the sort of projects we could apply for. Working groups were formed to investigate each idea further and present plans and proposals to next meeting.

National Cycling Fund

We discussed possibilities for a project that would include buying load-carrying and starter bikes for loaning out to local cyclists and would-be cyclists. This work could be done in partnership with Hackney Community Transport, who we know are already interested in adding a human-powered element to their work, and who – importantly – have vast amounts of garaging space.

Working group: Tim, Oliver, Katie.

Sally said that STA Bikes, the Sir Thomas Abney primary school cycling project, is intending to apply for a serious-sized grant, in the region of £50,000 to expand its work and link with other schools; interested parties please contact Sally.

Action:

  • Trevor to forward details of William Patten School bike project co-ordinators to Sally.
  • Marian to check if there is a “Healthy Schools” initiative with which we could work.
  • Encourage LCC members who parents to see whether their schools might be interested in training, bicycle user groups, etc.

Other possibilities discussed included a second round of the Cycle Active project, another season of the Cycle Posse project (training, maintenance and leisure rides for young people). It was noted that there’s also money available from central LCC for projects promoting cycling in the boroughs.

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6. Car(e) Free Day, 22 September 2002

The most ambitious option which has so far been mooted for Car Free Day (AKA In Town Without My Car) is that of ‘opening’ Stoke Newington High Street – from where it joins Evering Road to the junction with Northwold Road at the bottom of Stamford Hill. And, whilst the advantages to this plan was that we would be opening a very busy shopping area for people to enjoy, the disadvantages were that it would need a lot of work because of all the side roads and that it might be very complicated to re-route traffic. The current position is that we are still waiting for Transport for London to get back to us and discuss options. [TfL has now been in touch, although not much has happened yet. Ed.]

Another option being discussed in that neck of the woods is Church Street. Brenda has already been to talk to the Stoke Newington Festival organisers, who are not putting on a street festival this year and say they would be surprised if we could pull off a street festival without a lot of funding. Others are more optimistic, though. One of the interesting people we met at Nick Hutt’s wake was Christine Jackson, a long-standing local activist who, among other achievements, set up and ran the Clissold Park cafe and also, interestingly, was involved in the very first street festival in Church Street, which mutated into the Festival we know today.

Trevor mentioned that people in Curtain Road are still very interesting in holding a car-free event there again this year. [Site for last year’s event.] Tim also suggested that we could encourage several smaller local street events.

Action: ongoing. Katie to get a list of local tenants’ and residents’ associations so that we could contact any appropriate groups.

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7. Bike Week

Preparation is proceeding well for all of our Bike Week events. (See diary for details). Plenty of work has already been carried for the Car-Free Ceilidh at the Round Chapel on 22 June. The tickets will also serve as raffle tickets and prizes have already been committed by generous donors. Mexican food will be provided by the nearby Pancho Villa restaurant.

Volunteers are most welcome to help with any of the events, and with publicising Bike Week in general. Please contact the organiser of the event in question. In particular, lots of help will be needed for the Ceilidh, eg distributing posters, selling tickets, and helping on the night. If you can help, even for just an hour or two, please contact Brenda on 7249 2590 or Christine on 8986 3456.

Trevor to get Bike week information out to: Hackney Today, Hackney Gazette, N16 magazine etc.

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8. Stalls at festivals

We have been invited to take part in several festivals this summer, as follows: Well St Common Golden Festival (3 June), Fleadh (8 June), Victoria Park Traders Midsummer Fair, Lauriston Rd/Victoria Park Rd (22 June), Mardi Gras (6 July), FinFest (14 July), and Volcano (10 August).

We probably don’t have the capacity to get to them all, and people were more interested in some than others for various reasons. We decided that we would certainly try to be at FinFest, which is very much a community-oriented, sustainability-minded event, and Volcano on the Marshes, where we and Groundwork Hackney had such a successful pilot of temporary mass cycle parking last year.

Action: put festival info on e-list to see if any volunteers are interested. Check if Sustrans would be interested in doing the big ones; Sarah to liase with Tim. Lucy and Kate will lead on FinFest and Volcano.

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9. Bike parking on estates

Katie has spoken to some tenants associations about getting more secure cycle parking on estates, and they suggested that the Pembury would be a good location to start a pilot project.

Action: Katie to get list of all TAs and then work with Tim to investigate doing a mailout asking TAs if they would be interested in cycle parking. This mailout could also promote the idea of small-scale local car-free events on 22 September.

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10. ‘Up to Speed’ leaflet

Sally and Trevor to do a revised reprint of ‘Up to Speed’ (PDF here), an info sheet originally done last year, ready for the summer events.

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11. Council Forward Plan

Action: Marian volunteered to check whether Hackney had published its Forward Plan, which would span out consultation themes and dates for the whole of next year.

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12. Hackney Transport Sub Partnership

Trevor and Oliver represented Hackney LCC at a working group to form the Hackney Transport Sub-Partnership which will discuss the use of Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (NRF) money for transport. Hackney’s transport officers were unanimous that the money should go towards the huge shortfall in maintenance of the fabric of the borough’s streets. They say they would need to spend seven million pounds a year for four years to make up for problems like terrible road surfaces and the one-third of lighting columns which are currently non-functional. Other attenders had other ideas, but this was the strongest early bid, as it were.

While we’d all like to see street lighting fixed and the road surfaces smoothed out, Marian, in particular, said that this sounded wrong. The NRF fund was supposed to be used to draw in further sources of funding, and was not for making up shortfalls. Anyway, we appreciated the invitation to be in on the start of this process, and we will continue to attend, to monitor the proceedings, and to put the case for supporting cycling as a truly regenerative activity.

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13. Robberies

David had recently been robbed while cycling and wanted to know what progress had been made on this obviously still very much prevalent problem. It was noted that these attacks had stopped for a while and then started again in February.

Most of these robberies are occurring in Islington, but clearly on the commuting routes of many Hackney cyclists. LCC in Hackney has been liaising with our Islington counterparts on this – Oliver attended the Islington meeting in February at which an Islington Crime Prevention Officer gave a presentation, and has been forwarding information about incidents we hear about in Hackney to Islington’s Dean Leigh, who is compiling a cross-borough master list.

There is frustration because, although we took action immediately when these robberies started last last year/early this year, it soon became apparent that there were limits to what we could achieve.

  • The police are reluctant to pursue the thieves for fear of causing crashes.
  • They have also dissuaded cyclists from taking matters into their own hands, ie ‘vigilante’ action.
  • LCC centrally is not in favour of giving a high general media profile to the problem because it is likely to people off cycling while not achieving anything useful.
  • A log of attacks on cyclists was already being kept by Dean Leigh in Islington, to which we are already adding our information.

With the experience of being robbed a fresh memory, David understandably feels the maximum possible should be done to counter the problem. Other members agreed and encouraged him to liaise with our counterparts in Islington and central LCC in their ongoing efforts. [David has also since made the excellent suggestion that an advice leaflet could be distributed specifically for cyclists, to give them tips on how to avoid problems and what to do in case of an attack or robbery. Ed.]

Action: provide regular safety and practical tips to members; encourage members to report the attacks to the police, and to log details on our mailing list, from where they will be forwarded to Dean Leigh; and to continue to keep in touch on the issue with LCC centrally and support their ongoing actions, such as liaison with the police.

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14. AOB

Tim and Oliver reported they had met with Cecilia from a local action group petitioning against a 12-story redevelopment of Latham’s woodyard by the Lea in Clapton.

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Next Meeting
Wednesday 5 June, 8pm, same venue.