Notes from our March 2017 meeting

London Cycling Campaign in Sutton: 22 March 2017 meeting notes

Shinner and Sudtone, 67 High Street, Sutton, SM1 1DT

Seb Cragg, John Courtman, Charlotte Gilhooly, Fran Graham (LCC), Marcus Howarth, Gary James, Helen John, John Kinnear, Mark Lambert, Charles Martin (Coordinator and Chair), John Parker, Colin Shirley, Shirley Quemby, Ben Rafferty (Treasurer), Michael To, Maeve Tomlinson, Neil Webster

Chris Rutland

This was the second formal meeting of 2017, following on from the January 2017 meeting. Notes from all the previous Get Sutton Cycling meetings are available here.

1: Welcome

Thanks were extended to everyone for attending. At seventeen, this was the highest number of attendees to one of our meetings so far. It was a great pleasure to welcome Mark, John P and Helen for the first time, along with Fran Graham, newly appointed LCC Campaigns Coordinator.  Fran had started at the LCC on 2 February 2017, just a week or two before Will Norman took up his post as the first Walking and Cycling Commissioner.

Given such a large number, and given the venue, it was a bit of a challenge seating everyone around the same table at the same time! We almost managed it, but thank you to those of you who waited patiently on an adjourning table to hear what Fran had to say, (and thanks to Fran for staying on to, essentially, repeat to those at the break-out table everything she had already said at the main table). We will look at venue options for future meetings that are more accommodating to larger groups (although we do like the Shinner and Sudtone even though the background music is a tad too high at times)!


2: Update on actions from meeting on 23 January 2017 

  • ‘Report It’: No news on this. It look as though our request to have a straightforward way of reporting cycling maintenance issues on the council’s website has proved to be too difficult. There is a ‘Make a cycle path or cycle shelter/stand enquiry here’ link on the council’s Cycling in Sutton page, but this just links to the General Enquiry Form. Not quite what we had in mind. The ‘Report It’ item can be removed from the update on actions.
  • Tharp Road: The post No room for bikes – how Tharp Road could show borough-wide failure over cycling was subsequently published on 26 January 2017. Please share this with your councillors, and through social media, if you have not done so already.
  • Cycling Strategy: On 21 March 2017, an email was sent to Cycling Champion Cllr Manuel Abellan, Lynn Robinson and Leigh Gravenor (LB Kingston/Sutton shared services and the co-chairs of the Cycle Forum), copied to other members of the Cycle Forum, to suggest that the Cycling Strategy featured as an agenda item at the April Cycle Forum (specifically in relation to the commitment in the strategy to establish an Internal Cycling Advisory Group).  The email included a link to a recently published post, Cycle Forum highlights issues to be addressed, which provided an extensive overview of the January Cycle Forum and was very much intended to be in the spirit of looking forward, with an element of constructive criticism. [Update 23 March: A reply was received from Leigh on 23 March with an outline agenda for the April Cycle Forum, but this did not include an item on the Cycling Strategy] NOTE: a year ago today, 22 March 2016, Chris R wrote to Cllr Jill Whitehead to request a meeting on how best to take forward the Cycling Strategy. Twelve months later, and that meeting has not happened. 
  • Green Wrythe Lane (proposals to converts the western section of footway between Middleton Road and Bishopsford Road to a shared use footway) A response was sent to Sutton Council on 31 January 2017, (see The last word on Green Wrythe Lane? subsequently published on 7 April 2017). In essence, the response was this:
    • Not in support of scheme, essentially for the reasons outlined in our response to Green Wrythe Lane, phase two, in August 2014 (see Green Wrythe Lane footway cycleway proposal a lack of vision for cycling).
    • Further noting that, during the intervening two and a half years, since August 2014:
    • It would be interesting to seek the views of the Local Committee as to whether the footway conversion elsewhere on Green Wrythe Lane (to the south of Middleton Circle roundabout) has resulted in any measurable increase in the number of journeys by bicycle in the area, and how the proposed footway conversion to the north the Middleton Circle will ensure that ‘the wider road network is as cycle-friendly as possible’ when nothing is proposed at the roundabout.
  • Ruskin Road (parallel pedestrian and cycling crossing). Some concern with the proposed design CQ/SQ will be sending comments to the council

3: News from LCC and questions for Campaigns Coordinator

Fran gave an inspiring account of where the LCC campaigning is going next. Alliances are being built with other groups, including Living Streets the UK charity for everyday walking, to push the authorities to keep to their promises about Healthy Streets (also see item 4 below). Our membership money is clearly well spent!

Fran suggested that we need a media officer with a brief particularly to include the Sutton Guardian, because councillors still pay considerable attention to letters and issues in the local press.

Some of the specific topics discussed by Fran included:

  • Liveable Neighbourhood Trial Groups
  • 2018 council elections
  • Trustees linking with borough groups
  • Activists network

Liveable Neighbourhood Trial Groups: At the mayoral election in May 2016, Sadiq Kahn made three commitments to LCC:

1. To triple the protected space for cycling

2. To enable every borough to apply for Mini-Holland funding

3. To end lorry danger.

Fran will mainly be working on a project based on the second commitment. The new administration has moved away from the ‘Mini-Holland’ brand, and the new schemes will be called ‘Liveable Neighbourhoods’ to reflect that they will fit within the new Healthy Streets framework. There is the expectation that all Councils in London will be invited by TfL to bid for funding to create Liveable Neighbourhoods LCC intends to support three or four local groups (in the first instance) to engage with their councils to assist them to make a high quality bid for Liveable Neighbourhood funding (to hopefully result in exemplar Liveable Neighbourhoods). All Local Groups are encouraged to apply to be one of the Liveable Neighbourhoods trial groups. Lessons learnt from these groups will be shared and replicated in other boroughs.

In deciding which local groups to support, the LCC will ask local groups to submit answers to a few short questions to help understand group capacity and council engagement. For example, is the group engaged and active? Does it hold regular, well-attended meetings? Are all the committee posts filled? Does it hold connections with other non-LCC groups? Does it have evidence of engaging on infrastructure issues with their council? Is the council willing and pro-cycling? Does the council have a Borough Cycling Officer, and has it been open to altering infrastructure plans based on input from LCC groups or consultation responses? There will also be a criteria element around the strategic placement of the borough. Which boroughs have the most potential for the council to work with the LCC projects team, which have the potential to recruit more members, deliver the best results and so on?

In general, the feeling was that our group did not currently meet the criteria to be able to successfully apply to be part of this trial. The group lacked the capacity, and the council had not yet proved to be particularly willing or able to deliver on cycling. Nevertheless, we will be keen to follow closely on progress and learn from the process.

2018 local elections: The other project Fran will be involved with relates to the 2018 local elections, which are coming up fast. The elections are a key way for Local Groups to grow their membership, and put pressure on their councillors. More generally, Fran will also be working to improve or update existing materials, and support groups to share knowledge and communicate better. Talking of which…

Trustees linking with borough groups: This is all about building stronger alliances between local groups, to learn from each other and support each other. In a sense has already started organically in Sutton. (In 2015 we held a Sutton meeting in Merton, and then in 2016 we held a Sutton meeting in Kingston; group coordinator Charles Martin regularly attends the meetings of the Croydon Cycling Campaign, and Michael To is our Croydon Correspondent). The LCC would like to support this further, and so trustees have been appointed to coordinate four or five groups each. In Sutton, this is Amy Foster, who will also be the link for Croydon, Bromley and Lambeth.

The full list of link trustees are:

  • Mustafa: Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hounslow, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster
  • Terry: Barking and Dagenham, City, Havering, Newham
  • Amy: Bromley, Croydon, Lambeth, Sutton
  • Dan: Bexley, Greenwich, Lewisham, Southwark
  • TomH: Merton, Kingston, Richmond, Wandsworth
  • Christian: Camden, Enfield, Haringey, Islington
  • Rachel: Hackney, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest
  • Tony: Barnet, Brent, Harrow, Hillingdon

Amy has said that she would like to attend one of our meetings in the near future.

Fran concluded by saying that she thought it very important that we had an AGM soon. The structure of a more formalised group would help us focus our energy. A comprehensive discussion followed on taking an AGM forward – thanks to Helen for sub-chairing this topic!

4: General updates and news

  • Social Media: our Facebook Group is now a Facebook Page. Work in progress.
  • Video: We are preparing what will hopefully be the first of a series of videos aimed at local councilllors and residents to suggest how cycling can improve the local quality of life.
  • Quietway: CM met Emilie Charlesworth (Sustrans, Senior Project Officer, Communications) on 17 February ahead of the 20 February deadline for the March 2017 borough newsletter, for an update on the borough’s proposed first Quietway, specifically in relation to neighbourhood engagement. This is a sensitive process and has not yet been formally approved. Approval not likely before March, and it is important that communication about this is consistent. A feasibility study (quoting borough’s Cycling Strategy and hierarchy of needs) to be sent to TfL in next couple of weeks. Recognice most traffic is not local. Success will depend on input from residents and the school community.
  • Beddington Lane (Beddington Programme) Manuel Abellan reported on Beddington Lane in an email received on 22 February 2017 – questionnaires to businesses, residents, employees and visitors go live (see Beddington Transport and Travel Survey (20 February to 15 March). On 26 February, CM shared with group: Beddington – Opportunity Sutton.
  • Beddington Park Cycle event on Saturday 22 April – would we like to have a promotion at the event?
  • Review of Council minutes Chris Rutland is currently undertaking a review of all Council meeting minutes from 1985 to 1997. A mammoth task, but our thanks to Chris for taking it on.
  • Sutton Town Centre Masterplan: final document (dated June 2016, but possibly not published until December 2016) includes more references to cycling than either the draft or revised draft documents) ….. the Council will work with TfL to explore options for the gyratory). Info subsequently included in our March 2017 borough newsletter
  • Air monitor, courtesy of LCC. Ben R has obtained one of these devises.
  • Oaks Track barrier: The gate/barrier on Oaks Track, a track that forms part of the National Cycle Network and the Avenue Verte, has proved contentious for several years. In the spring of 2016, Chris R started an attempt to get negotiations restarted on the possibility of having the barrier removed. Tom Brake MP has been chasing this up with Mr McNulty, Chief Executive at Surrey Council. The latest news on this, in an email received on 28 February 2017, is that the gate is to remain, with the gap resurfaced with stone in an attempt to prevent muddy puddles forming. CM has also contacted Mark Callaghan, Route Manager, Sustrans, to ask for advice. On 7 March 2017, Mark replied saying “I can only recommend LCC continues to engage directly with all parties to resolve all the issues raised, to identify a mutually-acceptable design for this access control”. Not a particularly helpful reply, especially given that Sustrans commenced a review of the National Cycle Network in December 2016 (with a vision of “understanding the condition of the current Network and making plans to deliver it to a ‘Gold’ standard“). Effectively, the issue has been kicked in to the long grass.


  • NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) has been tasked by the Department for Health to produce guidance on air pollution and the link between outdoor air quality and health.
  • Cycling on pavements was big in the media in January. As a result, Living Streets produced Should cycling be allowed on the pavement? This includes: “Pavement cycling is illegal and should be enforced using common sense and discretion – for example you wouldn’t expect a young child cycling to school to use a busy road.  However, local highway authorities shouldn’t be let of the hook from building good cycle infrastructure by simply pushing the conflict onto the footway”.
  • Healthy Streets for London… launched 16 February. Sets out an important new approach for the Mayor and TfL. This new approach will serve to reduce air and noise pollution, improve mental health, help combat social isolation, and bring economic benefits to local high streets across the Capital. It will also focus on minimising road danger, directly seeking to address the safety fears people have about cycling and walking more. In practice, will be delivered at street level by improving by local environments by providing more space for walking and cycling, and better public spaces where people can interact; at transport network level by prioritising better and more affordable public transport and safer and more appealing routes for walking and cycling, reducing the dominance of motor vehicles and developing creative approaches to managing freight and deliveries; and at a strategic level by planning new developments so people can walk or cycle to local shops, schools and workplaces, and have good public transport links for longer journeys
  • Cycling and the Workplace Neil W – researching cycling and the workplace: “The Market Cycles: the rise and rise of cycling to work and the implications for office specification and investment”.
  • Street Talks: London Mayor’s vision for Healthy Streets: This event took place at Look Mum No Hands! cafe in central London on 22 February 2017. Videos of the presentations given by Valerie Shawcross, Deputy Major of London for Transport are available on the Sustrans Street Talks page. Some highlights:
    • Valerie Shawcross:
      • TfL internal decision making is now much more joined up, and there is a clear policy path as well as budget.
      • Healthy Streets is a statement of intent, with an emphasis on moving people around rather than focusing on moving cars and congestion.
      • The support of councillors is important and the LIP programme will be tied into Healthy Streets.
      • The Road User Hierarchy is a fundamental element.
    • Dr Will Norman (day ten): Walking, cycling and public transport
      • Only 34% of Londoners today are reaching the 20 minutes of activity a day
      • Could save NHS £1.7bn over 25 years
      • Personal benefits (physical and mental) – walk 8 minutes a day and the result is 33% less likely to suffer from mental health conditions
      • Economic benefits
      • How can all Londoners have an active lifestyle? The easiest way is to build activity into everyday life so that is becomes a habit not a chore
      • Use of public transport encourages walking
      • Not everyone wants to cycle (certainly not long distances) so Healthy Streets is inclusive
      • A shift from private car use to walking and cycling is at the heart of the agenda
      • Significant budget behind Healthy Streets
      • No one is saying this shift is going to be easy
      • Working with partners to drive through changes
      • Opposition to agenda is there, and it is articulate and strong
      • Response can’t just come from us, need a partnership to drive a much bigger change across London
      • Genuinely excited about role – grateful for predecessor |(Andrew Gilligan)
      • Everybody has the opportunity to be healthier
    • Q and A
      • Need to take on people who are opposing this agenda in so many ways.
      • Cycle lanes blamed for congestion – but cycle lanes are most efficient use of road space.
      • Mayor’s Transport Strategy (MTS) will ask how we address congestion
      • Healthy Streets – all schemes looked at in the round.
      • Not just TfL driven schemes – it’s getting the boroughs engaged
      • Looking at all data and methodology
      • CS9 and CS4 this summer
      • More women cycling? Not just women and gender, also culture, and ages.
      • Walking is important as more inclusive
      • Priority getting people walking and cycling – congestion not only reason why schemes not going ahead. There has been back-lask/bike-lash.
      • Healthy Streets approach is for all of us.
      • MTS setting vision for much longer time period
      • Walking 24% consistent over many years.
      • Fundamental principal is Road User Hierarchy for most of roads in London
      • Residents concerned about traffic displacement. We should be sympathetic about that issue … and we are looking at how to tackle it to ensure we are not just moving traffic down the road.
  • Opportunity Sutton: Area renewal and regeneration: Sutton town centre programme; Beddington programme; Hackbridge programme. Sutton market Place Sutton: some cycle stands removed, new ones to be installed in June or around that time.
  • Propensity to Cycle tool providing an evidence brief to inform cycling investment: .


  • RideLondon – LCC to provide feeder rides to the RideLondon Freecycle event in central London on Saturday, 29 July 2017. Let Fran know if you are up for this or any other events over the summer. Training sessions are available.
  • LCC Policy Forum The 28th Policy Forum “Reducing Car Dependence: lessons from Western Europe and the USA”. Professor Ralph Buehler, an international expert on transport policy, with a particular interest in sustainable travel. To make cycling irresistible requires policies to promote cycling, policies to promote walking and policies to public transport. It also requires policies to restrict car use. Learn how five large cities in Europe are progressing. You can listen to the talk here (WMA file) and download the PDF slides here.
  • Cycle Forum January 2017 blog post: Suggest everyone shares Cycle Forum highlights issues to be addressed with their councillors. Suggested text (8 March 2017): “I would like to share this article from Get Sutton Cycling with you, as a I was dismayed to read that there appears to have been little progress with the borough’s Cycling Strategy in the twelve months since its adoption. In light of the Mayor of London’s recent commitment to the healthy streets approach, the appointment of London’s first full-time walking and cycling commissioner, and the announcement that some significant funding from TfL will be made to boroughs able and willing to demonstrate their commitment to cycling, I am a little concerned that Sutton may get let behind. I would value any comments you may have about this”
  • Strategic case for the Healthy Streets Programme  TfL programmes and investment “TfL-funded Healthy Streets programme budget for 2017/18 is therefore £219m” and “Borough-led projects: Major LIP projects including West Norwood Regeneration, Beddington Gateways and the West End Project. Liveable Neighbourhood projects to create attractive, safe and accessible walking routes to schools and other destinations. Crossrail Complementary measures to provide urban realm improvements and encourage walking, cycling and public transport to the Crossrail stations in outer London.
  • Parking Strategy – At the council meeting on 6 March 2017, budgets were set. This included £1.7m allocation to the Parking Strategy. (The final draft of the Parking Strategy was released at the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee meeting on 15 September 2016).
  • Living Streets Walking Summit (March 2017) – launched “Creating Walking Cities – a blueprint for change. Walking and Cycling Commissioner presented at this event on 18 March 2017 too, of course! All the details here.
  • Questions to council: On 9 March 2017, Cllr. Neil Garratt advised that he had submitted three questions relating to cycling. The responses are due by the end of May.

1. It is just over a year since Sutton’s new Cycling Strategy was launched. In the introduction Cllr Ruth Dombey says of the Cycling Strategy, “Taken alongside our Sustainable Transport Strategy, it should not be left on a shelf to get dusty, but should be a live document that guides current and future decision making and adapts as circumstances change to encourage sustainable transport in our borough.”. What has been achieved so far as a result of the new strategy? What is expected to happen over the coming year?

2. Since designating Hackbridge as a “sustainable suburb”, what new sustainable transport infrastructure or op9ons have been introduced? What effect have the Sustainable Transport Policy and the Cycling Strategy had on plans for Hackbridge Sustainable Suburb? What sustainable transport facilities are due to be provided for residents in the flagship New Mill Quarter development on the former Felnex site?

3. During the 2014 local election campaign, the London Cycling Campaign proposed a number of “ward asks” as part of their Space for Cycling campaign. What is the current status of those “ward asks”?

Update: The responses received to these questions, along with comments to the responses, have subsequently been posted in Timely questions to the council March 2017 (19 June 2017) 

5: AOB:

6: Date of next meeting:

May 2017, somewhere in Croydon?

v1: 29.06.2017; v2: 17.08.2017 (minor additions)

Posted in Meetings

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