London Cycling Campaign in Sutton: 23 January 2017 meeting notes
Lord Nelson, 32 Lower Road, Sutton, SM1 4QP1
Charlotte Gilhooly, Marcus Howarth, John Kinnear, Charles Martin (Coordinator and Chair), Terry Patterson, Colin Shirley, Shirley Quemby, Ben Rafferty (Treasurer), Nicola Thomas, Michael To, Maeve Tomlinson, Neil Webster
John Courtman, Chris Rutland
Thanks were extended to everyone for attending, with a warm welcome to our special guest, Terry Patterson, LCC Trustee and vice-chair. It was also great to welcome Neil, and his young son, and Nicola, in addition to some of the more regular attendees.
2: Update on actions from meeting on 28 November 2016
- ‘Report It’: Charles to contact Councillor Manuel Abellan (Liberal Democrat | Beddington South; Vice-Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee) to ask if there is further news on our request for a straightforward way of reporting issues through the council’s website. Charles wrote to Manuel on 7 December 2016, to advise that there was an action to chase-up on ‘Report It’ (plus an action to chase-up the Cycling Strategy, and to remind Manuel that his thoughts on the Cycle Tour rides (August 2015 to February 2016) were still awaited). On 8 December Manuel replied to say he was happy to give feedback on the rides, and agree on the cycling strategy annual report. He would speak to Cllr. Jill Whitehead (Liberal Democrat | Carshalton Central; Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee) and the officers about it, and hoped that the “report it” website could be progressed as well. At the Cycle Forum meeting on 10 January 2017, Lynn Robinson (Sutton Council) said she would brief Manuel about ‘Report It’ and say it was high priority. Charles wrote to Manuel again on 11 January 2017 to ask if there was any progress/news on outstanding issues, including removal of barrier on Telegraph/Oak Track; Beddington Lane funding; Cycling Strategy, and meeting with Jill Whitehead (a meeting that had originally been requested on 22 March 2016). Manuel replied on 14 January 2017 to say he had been swamped with work, but hoped to give some feedback soon. Nothing further has been heard in the intervening nine days.
- Tharp Road: Charles to write a blog post about the residents’ petition for conversion to one-way, and the council’s response to this. When completed, write to Beddington and Wallington local committee with a link to the piece to highlight the issue and ask why the Cycling Strategy is not cited during discussions such as this. This major blog post is still being prepared and written. Reason for delay is, in part, the work on Roundshaw Downs – see below). Essentially two parts. Reactive rather than proactive stance by council, and failure to recognise Tharp Road as a cycle route; in dealing with it a failure by officers and committee members to adhere to council policy on cycling. Publication now expected later this week. ACTION partially outstanding. No room for bikes: how Tharp Road could show borough-wide failure over cycling was subsequently posted on 26 January 2017.
- Roundshaw Downs and 2017/18 LIP programme: Maeve to supply more information and consider writing a blog post on Roundshaw Downs. Charles to write to Lynn Robinson, Senior Transport Planner, Sutton council (and chair Sutton Cycle Forum), to request that the Greenway link on Roundshaw Downs scheme is removed for the LIP programme 2017-2018 priority list. Blog post Beddington South: from Greenways to cycleways published on 16 December (MT, with some input from CM). Charles wrote to Lynn Robinson on 20 December with a link to the item, noting that alternative suggestions for use of the funding were provided in the text. Lynn replied the same day to say that it was too late to remove the Roundshaw Downs scheme from the LIP 2017/18 programme at this moment in time as it has been sent it TfL for approval. However, if the scheme is no longer supported we could start to look at a different scheme or reallocate the funding and then let TfL know after 1st April 2017. Lynn thanked us for suggesting other measures to improve cycle facilities in the area, and said she would have a look at them in the new year. Lynn reiterated these points at the Cycle Forum on 1o January. A reminder that the Space for Cycling ‘ward ask’ for Beddington South relates to ‘A network of routes to provide safe routes to five schools situated on busy roads‘.
- Cycling Strategy: Charles to write to Councillor Manuel Abellan to request news of the strategy, and cite Tharp Road (see above) as a disappointing sign that the strategy is not delivering (not being adhered to). See ‘Report It’ above.
3: Update on Cycle Forum 10 January 2017
- Good news:
- Quietway (Colliers Wood > Morden > Sutton): we were again advised that there would be neighbourhood engagement abut this, particularly in the areas around Grennell Road (Sutton North) and Benhill Wood Road (Sutton Central) prior to this route progressing. For background, see Sutton’s proposed first Quietway: what is required to make it a success?
- There was confirmation that three officers were now responsible for three different parts of the borough, and that each would encapsulate all traffic related issues in specific locations (not just cycling). More on this subsequently published in the second part of notes on the January 2017 Cycle Forum: Cycle Forum highlights issues to be addressed.
- Less good news:
- There appears to be a lack of communication between council officers and committee members. For example, (1) Tharp Road (officers were told that Tharp Road is a cycle route, but no one took any notice); (2) Report to TfL regarding recommendations for consideration on TfL controlled roads. This disappeared from the Recommendations Tracker of the Beddington and Wallington Local Committee without any explanation offered. For background on the report, see Beddington and Wallington agree that cycling proposals be presented to TfL.
- Cycling Strategy – little appears to have been done differently in the last twelve months following the approval of the strategy in November 2015 and its (delayed) publication in February 2016? Despite the promise of an annual review at the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee in November 2015 (see Notes to January 2016 meeting “an annual monitoring report will be published every year setting out progress towards meeting the strategy”), a review has not yet been published (indicating, perhaps, that there is nothing to report).
4: General discussion
- Terry Patterson gave an overview of her role as London Cycling Campaign Trustee, and outlined the challenges and her aspirations for the organisation. Growing the membership base was important, as was finding additional revenue streams.
- Terry is campaigns officer for her local group, Tower Hamlets Wheelers, and has cycled all her life. She is committed to a stronger LCC media presence, and a growing, increasingly diverse and active membership. Terry’s connection with Tower Hamlets reminded us to record again our thanks to Ewan Crallan and Gerry Matthews, of Tower Hamlet Wheelers, for leading the Sutton feeder ride to central London (and back) during the Ride London Free Cycle event on Saturday 30 July last year!
- A big question for Terry is: how do we get more women cycling in London? A Woman and Cycling LCC working group had been set up to address the issues, and the first meeting is scheduled to take place early next month (February 2017).
- Given that health and transport are intrinsically linked, the role of local authorities in regard to Public Health was discussed. Terry reminded us of the work of Lucy Saunders as Public Health Specialist at the Greater London Authority and Transport for London. In February, Lucy launched her Healthy Streets website.
- It is good that people other than “cyclists” attended the meeting this evening. The fact that people who rarely cycle (or whose main reason for cycling is more aligned to transport than recreation) attend our cycling meetings, is very good (healthy) news for us! It tends to highlight that people can see the wide ranging benefits of cycling in general, and that there is a need to make progress on enabling cycling for the many not just the few.
- A plan had been received from Sutton Council on 12 December 2016, outlining proposals for the installation of a staggered pedestrian crossing at Angel Hill. An element of cycle provision was included. However, this provision did not look very robust or particularly worthwhile, and CM replied outlining some concerns about this. For more on this, see the Projects Update section of Cycle Forum highlights issues to be addressed.
- On 17 January 2017 an invitation to respond to an informal consultation on proposals to convert the western section of footway between Middleton Road and Bishopsford Road to a shared use footway, as “part of a continuing scheme to introduce an off-road cycle facility along the length of Green Wrythe Lane”, was received. It had been hoped that there would be no further footway conversion to shared-use. CM will prepare a response to this proposal. For more on this, see the Projects Update section of Cycle Forum highlights issues to be addressed.
- A plan had been received from Sutton Council on 19 January 2017, outlining proposals for the installation of a parallel pedestrian and cycling crossing on Ruskin Road (linking the footpath from The Square / Talbot Road to the north, and Carshalton Park to the south). There is some concern that the plan shows the cycling crossing positioned in line with the trunk of a tree. CQ/SQ will reply, asking that the cycling crossing be repositioned. For more on this, see the Projects Update section of Cycle Forum highlights issues to be addressed.
- The possibility of helping parents and schools to start petitions and call for changes to be made to the streets surrounding schools was briefly discussed. We believe that parents of children attending a school in North Cheam and another school in Carshalton may be interested in such a idea. If this is something you feel you would like to be involved with, or you know parents who are concerned about not feeling able to cycle safely to school, please get in touch.
- An idea that we have had for quite a while, is to hold some very informal ‘pop-up’ meetings around the borough at different times of day and different days of the week. This would involve two or three people agreeing to meet for a coffee for half an hour at a cafe somewhere and then, through social media, invite people to stop-by for a chat. A sort of ‘councillors surgery’ type of approach. Terry thought this was a great idea worth exploring. It would require people to find the time to volunteer, and decided on a schedule. Our first such ‘pop-up’ meeting subsequently took place, with rather short notice, on Sunday 5 February at Cafe Nero in Wallington with Chris R and Charles M. No one else turned up but, hey, it was an opportunity to catch-up on cycling activities in the borough anyway!
- The idea of holding a workshop, to discuss how best to respond to opposition that may be presented at meetings, was considered to be a good idea and worth further exploration.
- Terry’s top recommendation to us was that we should not be afraid to engage more with local politicians!
- A new Campaigns Cooordinator is to start at LCC in early February. This is effectively the role previously occupied by Amy Summers (Activism Coordinator).
- Transport for London’s new, full-time, Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman (for Mayor of London Sadiq Khan), is expected to start in post during early February 2017. His predecessor, Andrew Gilligan (for former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson), was only employed on a part-time basis, and only in a cycling capacity.
- Blog posts: Four items had been published since the November 2016 meeting: London’s Cycling budget to 2021/22 announced (5 December); Notes from our November 2016 meeting (11 December); Beddington South: from Greenways to cycleways (16 December); Inspiring vision and then… the reality (16 January) – with some additional text to this post planned. A number of other posts have been updated. ‘Cycle funding 2016/2017’ and ‘Cycle Funding 2017/2018’ are still outstanding. An article from Mike T is still in preparation, publication expected imminently. All contributions to the website are welcome.
- The deadline for copy to be included in the March 2017 edition of the Sutton borough news and update is 23 February. Please provide CM with items for inclusion. If anyone would like to volunteer to help compile or edit the newsletter, that would be appreciated. Previous newsletters are available on the Newsletters page.
- Contacting your councillors: On-going. Please consider meeting your ward councillors. Full details of ward surgeries were provided as part of the Notes from our April 2016 meeting.
- Growing the group: Get Sutton Cycling still does not have a formal committee. All LCC members in Sutton are invited to get involved in whatever way they can. Please consider taking on a specific role.
- Battle for Enfield: As part of the Future Cities Catapult lunchtime lecture series, Clare Rogers gave an excellent presentation on the 18 January 2017. Clare has subsequently posted her talk online, see The battle for Enfield’s mini-Holland. From How children lost the right to roam in four generations, to considering what lessons we can learn and suggestions for the way forward, all by way of pollution and health and ‘bikelash’, it makes for compelling reading. Better Streets for Sutton could be next!
- Network audits and traffic counts no specific progress to report (on-going). We anticipate carrying out counts during March and April. Sutton Council carry out cycle counts annually, and an overview of the counts from March 2015 is still awaited (a request was again made at the January 2017 Cycle Forum).
6: Date of next meeting
A precise date was not set, but it is anticipated that the next meeting is likely to take place towards the end of March. More details to follow on the Next Meet-up page in due course.