London Cycling Campaign in Sutton: 22 November 2017 meeting notes
Location: Presidents’ Lounge, Sutton United Football Club, The Borough Sports Ground, Gander Green Lane, Sutton, SM1 2EY
Present: Gary James (Chair), Marcus Howarth (joint Secretary), John Kinnear (joint Secretary), Charles Martin (Coordinator), Ben Rafferty (Treasurer), Colin Quemby, Shirley Quemby, John Parker, Michael To, Neil Webster, Lucy East, Ed Joyce (Councillor Beddington South), Maeve Tomlinson.
This was the fifth formal meeting of 2017, following on from the AGM in September. These notes have been prepared by Marcus Howarth and Charles Martin. Notes from all the previous Get Sutton Cycling meetings are available here.
1: Welcome, introductions, and apologies for absence
Gary James (Chair) welcomed all present, and thanked John Parker for organising the new venue for our meeting here at the Presidents’ Lounge. Congratulations were given to Neil Webster on his election (albeit uncontested) to the LCC Board of Trustees. There were no apologies for absence received.
2. Actions and matters arising from our last meeting on 28 September 2017
3. News and updates: general discussion on cycling issues – recent past and immediate future
Charles highlighted some recent events, news and various cycling-related topics:
- Wheels for Wellbeing ‘Beyond the Bicycle’ Conference took place on 7 November 2017 at City Hall. Speakers included Will Norman, Walking and Cycling Commissioner for London, and Justin Varney, National Lead for Adult Health & Wellbeing (Healthy People), Public Health England. The charity, celebrating its tenth birthday, launched its Guide to Inclusive Cycling at the event (essential reading for all tasked with enabling cycling as a means of everyday transport). For a report of the event, see Beyond the Bicycle Conference , and the Inclusive Cycling Handbook can also be downloaded from the Publications and Research area of the Wheels for Wellbeing’s website.
- The Guide to Healthy Streets Indicators was published yesterday, 21 November 2017. The focus is not just on the engineering and layout, but also the policing, cleaning, maintenance, community and business engagement. To read more and download the publication, see New! Guide to the Healthy Streets Indicators at Healthy Streets.
“None of this would be possible without the support of boroughs, communities and other partners who we work with to improve our services. We all need to pull together to deliver the Mayor’s Transport Strategy; by doing so we can create a better city as London grows.” Guide to Healthy Streets Indicators, November 2017
- Major TfL consultations: TfL’s consultation on Cycle Superhighway 9 closed on 31 October, and the consultation on Cycle Super Highway 4 closed on 19 November. Have your say on the transformation of Oxford Street is now open, and runs 17 December. Writing in The Guardian on 7 November 2017, Andrew Gilligan expressed the view that Banning bikes from Oxford Street is a disaster for cycling in London. There is certainly concern that proposals to facilitate safe and comfortable cycling on parallel streets to Oxford Street have not been released at the same time as this consultation. View all official LCC consultation responses on the Consultation Responses page.
- Beddington Lane cycle path – no news (see Beddington North TfL Major Scheme for the background, and Opportunity Sutton Area Renewal and Regeneration Beddington Gateways for current updates). Unbeknown to us at the time of the meeting, Cllr. Jill Whitehead (Liberal Democrat, Carshalton Central, Vice-chair, Environment and Neighbourhood Committee, had mentioned that work on the Beddington Lane cycle path was due to “start shortly” in the response she gave to a cycling related question from Cllr. Mary Burstow (Liberal Democrat, Cheam) at the Full Council meeting two days earlier on 20 November 2017). Whether our reservations about the construction of the path have been taken into account remains unknown).
- Quiteway: There is no news on the Sutton to St Helier Quietway (despite having been told by Sustrans in August to expect a consultation on plans by the end of September). It is presumed that Sustrans’ proposals have, by now, been sent to TfL for consideration as to whether they are worthy of Healthy Streets funding. See Sutton’s proposed first Quietway: the conversation begins for the background on this, and keep an eye on Sutton Council’s Highways Quietways Survey for any updates. Unbeknown to us at the time of the meeting, Cllr. Jill Whitehead (Liberal Democrat, Carshalton Central, Vice-chair, Environment and Neighbourhood Committee, in her response to a question from Cllr. Mary Burstow (Liberal Democrat, Cheam) at the Full Council meeting two days earlier on 20 November 2017) had stated that the Council’s main activity for cycling in the last four year has been towards setting up the Mayor of London’s Quietway schemes. These were the north to south Colliers Wood to Sutton town centre alignment, “on which work will be starting in the near future”, and the west to east Worcester Park to Sutton and Croydon route “which is awaiting sign-off from the Mayor”.
- Fiveways, Croydon: There is no news on the the most recent Fiveways consultation. There may be an update at the next Croydon Cycle Forum scheduled for 28 November 2017. Fiveways was one of the locations visited by London Assembly Member Caroline Russell as part of the Transport Committee’s research onto walking and cycling at outer London junctions. A report on the findings is to be launched soon. Hostile Streets: walking and cycling at outer London junctions, Transport Committee, December 2017, was subsequently published on 4 December 2017 and is available from London Assembly publications. Croydon Fiveways features as a case study, and the report declares, not unsurprisingly, that the latest plans for Fiveways “do not meet the needs of people wanting to walk and cycle”.
- ‘Air Pollution in Sutton: how it affects you, and what cycling can do to help‘. Our first feature video, as a contribution to the debate on air quality, was officially launched in early October (following a sneak preview at our AGM in September). The video can be viewed in the blog post The video you can’t afford to miss or directly through our YouTube channel.
- Emails were subsequently sent to all fifty-four councillors at the end of October, beginning of November, inviting them to watch the video and to get in touch if they would like to discuss further. Nine councillors have so far acknowledged the email, including Cllr. Mary Burstow (Liberal Democrat, Cheam) who went on to table a question to the Full Council meeting on 20 November 2017 (also see Quietway and Fiveways, Croydon above). Cllr. Burstow’s question, and the response it received, will be discussed in a forthcoming post (Action).
- Colin Quemby brought up point that shortage of money is normally being cited as being a blocker to progress.
- In reference to Cllr. Burstow’s question, John Kinnear asked whether members of the public could ask questions at the Council meeting? (Answer: Yes. Questions have to be submitted in a defined period, being no more than three weeks before a Council meeting but no later than 10am on the Tuesday before the meeting (see Sutton Council Asking a Question).
- The London Cycling Campaign’s AGM took place on 19 October, see ‘Will Norman speaks, and is debated, at LCC AGM‘.
- The Walking and Cycling Commissioner spoke at the event, and talked about progress on Cycle Superhighways 4 and 9, the removal of Archway gyratory, and made reference to Quietways and the need to see a reduction in traffic on them. (Hurray to that)!
- Charles Martin, Sutton borough coordinator, was one of ten campaigners to be nominated for the Campaigner of the Year, see ‘Campaigner Award winners 2017‘. Charles said that he was delighted to have been nominated, and that the ‘highly commended’ accolade reflected the team effort and involvement of all LCC members and supporters in Sutton during the last twelve months.
- Traffic counts: analysis of the counts carried out earlier this year is ongoing. From the analysis so far, it looks as though cyclists account, on average, for around 2% of traffic on roads in Sutton that were surveyed during the peak hours in spring and early summer. Many residential streets carry high levels of traffic. A summary update is being prepared for the December 2017 newsletter. (Newsletters available on the Newsletters page of the website).
- Newsletter: the deadline for the December borough news and update is 10am on 27 November. In other words, next Monday! It was decided that it would be appropriate to lead with the ‘Air pollution in Sutton’ video, include an item on Liveable Neighbourhoods, plus follow-ups on outstanding items from the previous edition in September (Quietway (no news); Beddington Land (no news)). This will be our twelfth newsletter produced over three years (all of them included with the London Cyclist magazine to members, except the June edition this year that was submitted to LCC slightly too late), and it is hoped to continue the production in 2018. Any assistance with editorial matters always appreciated! (Action: Chas)
- Group finances: Ben confirmed that since giving his Treasurers Report at our AGM in September, the group had been successful in its application for an annual grant from LCC. Consequently the funding situation was now looking much healthier. Charles noted that he still awaited payment for the hire of the venue for the AGM. (Action: Ben)
- Liveable Neighbourhoods: Bids for 2018/2019 had to be submitted by councils to TfL by 20 October. It is not know whether Sutton has made a bid, and if so what that bid was. It was a competitive process, and four or five successful boroughs would receive between £1m and £10m each to develop their plans to enable more people to walk, cycle and use public transport, instead of driving, for some of their local journeys. Better places, healthier people.
- 2018 Council Elections: Awaiting news on the campaign ahead of the local elections next May. Believe that it will involve a joint London Cycling Campaign and London Living Streets venture, and take the form of a borough ask (rather than a ward level ask as was the case with Space for Cycling in 2014). Whatever it is, we are looking forward to it!
- The Budget and fuel duty: How good is the news, as announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, in the Autumn 2017 Budget today, that fuel duty will be frozen for an eighth consecutive year in 2018-19? This decision is set to save the average driver £160 a year, and will saved the average driver a cumulative £850 by April 2019 compared to what they would have paid under the pre-2010 escalator plans. Given that in recent years the expenditure on cycling has been around £1.67 per head per annum (and, as a result, delivered next to nothing), a saving of £160 in one year could be interpreted as equating to more than we all pay in tax towards cycling in a lifetime! Even the latest proposed expenditure levels for cycling in London of £17 per head per annum, announced in December 2016, amount to not much more than one-tenth of what the average driver will save each year. Make of it what you will, but if you are reading this blog in, say, ten years time (2027) and wondering why there is still congestion in Worcester Park, why finding a parking space can still be stressful, and why cycling continues to be seen as a marginalised activity, then give some thought to the decisions that were being made in 2017. We would love to be proved wrong, of course.
4. Overview of LCC Trustee meeting October 2017
Neil Webster reported that LCC Trustee meetings are now just starting for the new trustees (following on from the LCC AGM in September). The first meeting (by conference call) had taken place last week. The main board meetings are being chaired by Terry Patterson (Chair) and Amy Foster (Vice Chair). Neil is a member of the Business Committee. See the LCC website for more on the Trustee Board, members and minutes.
5. Discussion groups
- Our next video
- Council elections 2018: Writing to councillors/political groups in Sutton
- Extending our reach – new people, more involvement
It was decided that given numbers present, and that everyone was interested in all three areas, we would go through each of theses topics in turn collectively.
What follows takes more of a note taking / brainstorming form.
Our next video
- Decided our next video would most likely take Public Health as its theme. Need to consider what would make it Sutton specific – school runs, statistics, interview a local GP? People are required to provide script, and do the research.
- Ed Joyce would like videos of local routes, where is it safe to lock up your bike, where can you ride on the pavement.
- Neil suggested promoting the balance of showing what is good as well as what needs improvement.
- Funding, how Sutton will miss out from central funding without being willing and capable
- Reflect Mayor’s Transport Strategy 80% of trips by walking, cycling and public transport by 2041. What can Sutton do to ensure this aspiration is reached?
- Sutton’s Cycling Strategy (November 2015): aim at planners.
- Sutton’s Sustainable Transport Strategy (June 2015): Road User Hierarchy to consider first children, elderly people, those with sensory or mobility impairments, then other pedestrians, cyclists, public transport, local business collection and deliveries, local motor traffic and finally non-local Moto traffic.
- How will poor schemes, like Green Wrythe Lane, help?
- Include Healthy Streets Indicators
- Car versus cycling video side by side to show progress
- Schools, targeted at both parents and children. Provide school with a “subject for a week” which would be shown at registration.
- School run: interviews, get both sides, health, speed. What do children think?. How some enjoy it and beat congestion.
- Emma Griffin, “Life beyond the road wars”, nice piece written we could make video based on. Give a Sutton context.
Anyone who knows about video editing or someone to give good interviews share with group. John and Ben will take the lead on this in the coming weeks and work on researching data sources (Action: John and Ben).
Writing to councillors/political groups in Sutton (reference to Mayor’s Transport Strategy, Council Elections 2018)
Time limited much discussion on this. Chas will consider options and make proposals for early in 2018 (Action: Chas). Any input appreciated. A reminder that visits to councillor surgeries are worth well.
Extending our reach – new people, more involvement
Again, limitations on time, but some of the ideas put forward included:
- Provide promotional materials, giving details of groups, routes, rides, to libraries and/or community boards (for example, Cheam Station). Cycle maps (with special labels attached promoting Get Sutton Cycling) to libraries?
- Facebook pages and website – link ours with other local groups, other cycling groups/organisations.
- Develop a web page that provides details of cycle rides provided by others (Action)
6. Feedback from discussion groups
As Marcus was taking notes, and everyone was involved in all of the discussion groups, formal feedback wasn’t required. John and Ben will take lead on video
- Breeze ride and Wandle ride coming up. Should publicise these on website & facebook/twitter (Action)
- A reminder that the Newsletter needs authoring, volunteers needed (Action: Chas)
- A217 roadworks (replacement of lamp posts) on cycle lane. Gary James said TfL are not taking responsibility for making good of the pavement after repeated works. (Note, although the carriageway of the A217 is the responsibility of TfL, the maintenance of the footways and cycleways is the responsibility of the relevant borough council). We will start with a web post to raise awareness (one for you Gary?)
- Facebook AND Twitter need to be updated together.
- Michael To mentioned we could make use of Mailchimp for our own newsletter email distribution, and other social media tools, namely Hootsuite / Tweetdeck and
Buffer, would help us use these channels more effectively, Marcus Howarth to look into further (Action)
8. Date of next meeting
It was decided to plan dates for the next two meetings, one informal in a pub followed by the next formal meet in this same venue (if available).
- Wednesday 17th January 2018 in Lord Nelson
- Wednesday 14th March 2018 in Presidents’ Lounge, Sutton United Football Club, The Borough Sports Ground, Gander Green Lane, Sutton, SM1 2EY