Saturday, August 30, 2014

London Towpath Progress

At the July meeting of the Volunteer London towpath rangers we gave poor old Dick Vincent, our CRT leader a bit of a hard time, grumbling about lack of progress on a number of things on the towpath that needed fixing. Well yesterday we had our August meeting and I'm glad to say things are looking up a little bit.

Firstly rubbish bin collections. We have been complaining for a while that every time we come across a bin, it's full to overflowing and there is often a load more rubbish lying round the bin. National contractors Fountains are paid to empty these bins, and in London they are supposed to do them very regularly. Suspicions were that they were failing to maintain the schedule. Now we hear that our evidence prompted CRT to withdraw payments from the contractors until the collections were done properly and hey presto all of a sudden the bins are getting emptied more regularly and now when you find one it has space in it for your crisp packet.

We're also making progress on moves to require canal side businesses to keep their advertising A boards clear of the foot /cycle way in order to prevent accidental collisions. Once we get the rules set up, boards will have to be authorised and comply with positioning requirements or else be removed. On a more difficult front we're working on ideas to keep illegal motorcyclists off the towpath - a particular problem in the Cowley / Slough Arm area. Next week were having an on site look at the possibilities for suitable barriers.

More news I picked up at the meeting.

There is a lot less floating rubbish in the Regent's Canal lately thanks to Richard one of our volunteers and the London Boaters Group who have acquired a small boat which patrols the area regularly scooping up the rubbish.

Some people who have been living in tents on the towpath in the St Pancras area have been the subject of a long effort to get them relocated. CRT have done a lot to help them find alternative accommodation but the alternatives found have been refused by the campers. As a last resort CRT went to court this week and secured an order to remove them and prevent them from returning. Things like this are going to keep happening as long as Uncle Boris and co continue to tolerate the housing catastrophe in London. Property prices and rents are way beyond anything normal people can contemplate. No wonder the canal is filling up with live aboard boats. All this is not good for people wanting to visit the capital by boat, but CRT's recent rethink on mooring might work to help visiting boats and passers through. They are identifying a number of short stay sites and seem to be resolved to enforce the maximum stay times at these spots. We'll have to see how it works. One good sign is that yesterday there were five or six empty spaces in Paddington basin!

On the way home from the meeting I picked up a copy of the Evening Standard which included a letter from a lady whose deaf husband was regularly terrified by careless cyclists speeding along the towpath on the Regents Canal. We still have much to do.


Nb Yarwood said...

Hi Neil
Firstly, keep up the good work and reports thereof. Re motorcyclists on the towpath, this is illegal, potentially dangerous, definitely anti- social and generally committed by uninsured, unlicensed and therefore inexperienced minors that are putting themselves at risk as well as others. Alright, they are also having fun!

Considering the number of infractions of the law of the land this should be a police matter and in areas where there is sadly a pattern of this behaviour a named copper should be responsible for dealing with it. Someone with a name and contact number and email to post photo's to if you see motorcyclists on the towpath.
Notices that explain that 'if you are seen motorcycling on the towpath your vehicle will be seized, you will be crushed and your parents, who presumably bought the damn thing for you, will be transported to some remote penal colony, or Nuneaton.' That should do the trick!
Tongue firmly in cheek,
X Lesley

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Hi Neil, Good work being done, thank you for letting us know about it.
Tough stuff to deal with for all concerned re people taking up residence on the towpath, either in their boats or camping. It is not helped of course by the number of people wanting to live in London also driving up rental prices - do people not know that, contrary to received wisdom, London is NOT the centre of the universe! By the way, we haven't yet been to London by boat, but walked the towpath from White City to Paddington Basin recently. We were amazed at the generosity of the visitor moorings in the latter being 7 days. Are there plans afoot to reduce that to, say, 4 days to create opportunity for more boaters to visit?
Cheers, Marilyn nb Waka Huia
PS And I loved your flowers! Well done, you!