Venue: Pub on the Park, London E8
Tim Evans, Marian Farrugia, Patrick Field, Katie Hanson, Bibsi Haywill, Sally Haywill, Trevor Parsons, Oliver Schick, Vincent Stops
Apologies for absence:
Chair: Tim Evans
Minute taker: Trevor Parsons
1. Reports back and matters arising
2. Environment Forum
3. Health projects
5. Borough Spending Plan
6. Transport Sub-Partnership projects
7. Car Free Day
8. Parking project
9. Regents Canal
10. Neighbourhood Renewal Fund consultation
We did a joint stall with Islington LCC at Finfest, which was very good, and reportedly a big improvement on last year. 2000 people or so. Very prominent stall, gave out hundreds of maps.
Our stall with Tower Hamlets was a bit out of the way, but we gave out a huge number of maps – up to 900.
We did an event to draw attention to our non-favourite junction, using excellent ‘crazy junction ahead’ signs, and it went well. We are very pleased to hear from the transport department that a bid has been put in to Transport for London to sort this junction out and there’s a good likelihood we’ll see the improvements we want relatively soon.
An Abney Park rep, a recycling rep and ourselves are being invited onto the ‘A good place to live’ Sub-Partnership (part of the Local Strategic Partnership process to build partnerships in the borough and to administer a large budget of regeneration cash. Eco-Active will be holding a conference to try to make the Partnership Forum (part of the structure overseeing the Local Strategic Partnership) more representative. Marian commented that this should be done through the Community Empowerment Network.
Vincent said that the ‘place to live’ Sub-Partnership’s brief has now been broadened out from its original built environment focus to include supporting sustainable transport, biodiversity, sustainable waste management, sustainable energy. There will be money for community initiatives in addition to the housing spending. Oliver wondered whether this might enable some car-free housing to be built, or at least for a cap to be put on huge additions to residential parking such as the 600 parking places planned for the redevelopment of the Latham’s wood yard. Vincent said that Hackney has recruited the chief planner from Camden, a borough where car-free housing projects have been promoted, and that the Council will be pushing on policies for car-free housing. Marian drew attention to the woeful lack of cycle parking at Sainsbury’s in Dalston. Oliver said it would be worth talking to Matthew Carrington of Groundwork Hackney about that as he has plans for Dalston. Vincent said that Dalston has been designed as a Transport for London Development Area, which should mean efforts to reduce growth of motor traffic in the area, especially when the East London Line extension comes in.
Tim said that the St Leonard’s bicycle user group (BUG) is great, and the employer is well behind it. St Leonard’s even offers a £500 interest free loan for buying a bike. Our various health service-related projects are rumbling on nicely. Vincent said he would attend Homerton Hospital’s breakfast (see diary, as will Matthew Thompson, LCC’s acting chair. Tim will go to a meeting of St Leonard’s BUG in September. Douglas is getting on with his project to do portraits of cycling health workers, and there will be an exhibition some time. Vincent suggested that this could be hosted in Hackney Town Hall or in the Technology and Learning Centre. Cycling Newham health workers are involved in a media-oriented event on 18 September promoting the LCC/TfL maps to their colleagues London-wide, and Trevor said he’d check that the Homerton people were aware of that.
Oliver attended the discussion meetings organised by LCC centrally on plans and principles for the LCN+ (a revised, slimmed down and, with luck, higher quality London Cycle Network), and said he thought they went surprisingly well considering the diversity of opinion, particularly around the question of ‘segregation’.
Tim said that he had given comments on the draft Borough Spending Plan to Steve Walker, head of Hackney’s transportation section. There was much to commend, even though the scope of work is necessarily limited by the current problems recruiting qualified staff to the section. One area where Tim particularly wanted to see further development was in the promotion of cycling to the people of Hackney, raising the status of the activity and selling its benefits in a really effective way. This work would be skilled, but wouldn’t require qualified traffic engineers, so it needn’t be hampered by that particular recruitment problem.
Trevor announced that the Transport Sub-Parternship is making £30,000 available for a project or projects to meet short term target to provide cycle training in the borough. Sally was very interested to hear about this, as she and other parents have already had great success with the Sir Thomas Abney primary school-based project STA Bikes. Trevor to liaise with Sally on drawing up a proposal to put forward. Trevor said that we should try to make sure that there was an adequate supply of new, qualified cycle trainers to meet the demand as more cycle training projects are set up around London. Marian suggested that projects we promote should include an element of training people to be trainers. Tim agreed, and pointed out that we have already done this with the Cycle Active project, and Sally said training parents was also firmly on her group’s agenda. Sally has six other schools in addition to Sir Thomas Abney interested in doing training. Tim said that we could also set up some training at Homerton Hospital and the other interested health service establishments. Marian said that if STA Bikes succeeded in getting funding through the Local Strategic Partnership in this way, it would be seen as ‘good practice’, and that it should aim to make cycle training part of the curriculum eventually. Making it mainstream was crucial. Vincent said that training should be co-ordinated with making sure people have places to park their bikes. He was also keen to make sure that it wasn’t just children and parents in the more middle class schools which received training. Sally was equally keen to assure Vincent that STA Bikes was going on in a school which would certainly not be regarded as predominantly middle class. She also talked about the importance of setting up a pool of cycles for loan, as many people don’t themselves have bikes yet but would like to get trained.
Vincent said that the Town Hall Square area of Mare Street had been OK’d by the transportation section for Car Free Day on 22 September, and that traffic engineer Danny Gayle had taken up the task of doing the traffic management stuff. Patrick suggested that we should make sure we target publicity on the nearby estates east of Mare Street to make sure there is local interest.
Trevor reported that he has been working with Dave Holladay, a cycle-oriented transport consultant and engineer who knows his stuff on cycle parking, to ready a partnership bid to meet the Transport Sub-Partnership target on cycle parking. The German Hospital was suggested as a possible location for a pilot to improve residential parking. Marian suggested that we don’t ignore housing associations when we’re looking for estates that need parking improvements. Trevor will talk to Tom McCourt, assistant director of planning and transportation, about GIS and other resources that it would be useful to have access to for this project. Marian offered her assistance in finding locations. We should also make sure that Dave consults with Groundwork Hackney about the experience they gained during their parking stands project some years back.
There are plans to improve the towpath and access all along the Regents Canal, including the stretch that goes through the borough of Hackney. Patrick is taking an interest in this and will be looking at the proposals on our behalf. He is anxious that any changes shouldn’t be encouraging too much ‘vehicular’ cycling on this leisure route at the expense of people walking, fishing, etc.
There is a consultation and exhibition going on in connection with the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (which is giving £26.5m to Hackney over three years to meet objectives in all manner of areas, including the transport proposals we have been discussing). There was some debate about representation on the Partnership Forum, which is set up as the way in which community groups such as housing interest groups, ethnic minority groups and environmentally-oriented groups such as ourselves can have a say in how the money is spent.
We were all talked out and it was decided that we should consult the bar staff on a number of matters.
Next meeting Wednesday 4 September, 8pm, same venue.