Your turn to save most progressive cycle path stretch in South-Camden

taviimg_20160923_192022A trial structure of a segregated two-lane cycle path on Tavistock Place in Bloomsbury, adjacent to Kings Cross / St Pancras (leading to Torrington Place), is under threat of being demolished, due to a disgruntled group of a handful, but well organised group of local activists in the area.

They falsely claim, that traffic has increased air-pollution, when in fact the independent results measured show already a 21% decrease in pollution for all, residents, pedestrians and cyclists, during the trial period.

The schema has forced a two-way motor traffic street into a single unidirectional lane for cars, for the benefit of a two-lane segregated cycle lane on each side (previously merged into a two way single cycle lane). This means that some like the London Taxi Driver Association (LTDA ) and a few others like the Imperial Hotel Group  (according to Camden Cyclists), dislike the schema.

However there are just as many who support the scheme, like Safer Bloombury , University College London, and naturally Camden Cyclists. Letters in support and some against have also found their way into Camden New Journal.

Camden is planning to further reduce through traffic in the long-run, meaning motor-traffic can enter and leave the area, but can not cross through North to South or East to West, which will bring about further reductions in non local motor-traffic.

The cycling schema is meant to increase and encourage safe cycle-use in an area that serves many universities with tens of thousands of students (UCL, SOAS, IoE, Birkbeck, a.o.) and in an area already immensely and adversely affected by car-traffic and car-pollution. In fact the schema already has let to a measured 52% increase in cycle traffic.

The street links into South-East Kings Cross via  Sidmouth Street and Ampton Street, which are soon meant to be part of the cycle super-highway schema from Farringdon Road to the South, but also via Judd Street / Pancras Road to the North, and once completed it would eventually enable hassle-free and save passage for cyclists of all ages all the way to Camden Town and Hampstead.

The cycle lanes have been inspired by the Amsterdam / Copenhagen transformations, and whilst so far but a short stretch, they are possibly the most progressive in South Camden.

LCC believes, that should the cycle path trial be rejected, there are no other alternatives in the pipeline, as the money for it stems from a former initiative. The dismantling of the schema would therefore immediately increase pollution and motor traffic and bring back cycling to its former low levels in this area.

All who are supportive of this schema (and those who are not), should make sure to leave their comments now on the web-site of Camden, or at the latest by 21st of October 2016.

Link here: https://consultations.wearecamden.org/corporate-services/torrington-place-tavistock-place-route-proposed-im/consultation/intro/view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in New, Road Safety in Kings Cross | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Petition launched to save outdoor pond

Kings Cross pondThe outdoor King’s Cross pond designed by Ooze Architects has become a firm favourite for both swimmers and urban wildlife enthusiasts. In April we reported that it was threatened with closure. Shortly after that it appeared to have been saved. However, it is now under threat again. Local residents have started a petition to try and persuade the property developer, Argent, to save this much loved local resource. We reproduce the text of that petition below.

Click here to go directly to the petition where you can sign and add your comments.

We understand this innovative fresh water outdoor swimming pool is to close for ever this October, despite its growing popularity.

This swimming oasis in the urban centre of a world-class city, originally designed as a usable art installation, is a wonderful and popular asset for the local community and for visitors. When opened it was originally to be on site for at least two years, but with the possibility of the lifetime of the pond being extended. (kings cross pond club faqs). But it seems that the plan is now to close it after only 17 months.

The pond is helping the city to move towards being a liveable habit. Families, friends and people from near and far come and test the waters, and then – refreshed and renewed – bring a clean energy back to the city with new friends and a greater investment in the city’s environment.

Over the year and a few months it has been open the pond has grown in loveliness and popularity and people are learning about the possibility to create natural habitats and water filters. It is a green lung in this built-up area: an affordable leisure facility all can enjoy.

The UK’s first ever man-made fresh water public bathing pond has become one of London’s best-loved amenities, bringing benefits to the area and beyond.

As users of the pool and members of groups representing the growing numbers of outdoor swimmers we ask you to keep it open all year, and to discuss with us ways it can continue to thrive and develop at the heart of Kings Cross.

Do not close and scrap it: instead keep it as a truly sustainable and green centre for the Kings Cross area.

#savekxpond

Who is responsible for deciding the future of the Kings Cross Pond?

Argent Kings Cross Ltd Partnership are the developers of the area (who is developing kings cross?) and Fusion Lifestyle run the Kings Cross Pond (kings cross pond club website; contact Fusion) The local councils are Camden (camden council on the kings cross development) and Islington (islington council on kings cross).

Posted in Big developments, Green spaces, Kings Cross N1C, Kings Cross N1C, railwayslands, New, railwayslands, Sports, Wildlife and Nature | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Are you a Kings Cross community group looking for help with online fundraising?

local-givingWe have some places for representatives of Kings Cross community organisations and charities on a training scheme from Local Giving to learn how to raise money online.  I  Info below – drop me a line william@cankfarm.com if interested and I’ll pass your name on.

Text from Local Giving

>Many organisations working in London  need extra support to start using technology to raise awareness and funds online, and to develop a healthier funding base by building income from individuals. 59% of UK charities with an annual income under £1m do not accept donations online. With ever-increasing online giving, these charities are missing out on a key fundraising channel. As the average online donation is £30, twice the average offline donation, and every £1 invested in online fundraising returns £10, it is essential that small local charities build up their capacity to raise funds online.

This programme is designed to give small local charities and community groups access to the same online marketing tools that are available to larger charities, as well as inspiring the confidence to use them. The impact of such a programme is significant, enabling groups to fundraising online in a manner that is both time and cost-effective. This allows groups to keep in touch with donors and generate additional income without impacting on the resources needed to continue to deliver their frontline services.

·       a complete digital skills training package, enabling them to raise awareness and funds online

·       a complimentary annual Localgiving membership, providing access to calendar of fundraising campaigns, and online fundraising tools, including donation and Gift Aid processing

·       access to a dedicated local support worker

·       support to develop and implement an online fundraising strategy and plan

·       £300 match funding to help to incentivise donations

Posted in Community groups, Community stuff | Tagged | Leave a comment

Drones over Pentonville – cops stop crooks in crime ‘copter caper

N176-2016 drone with bagAnyone seen anyone furtively using a state of the art  white four rotor drone locally?  They may have been rehearsing flying drugs and phones into the ‘ville on the cally.  Remarkably an officer topped one ‘in mid flight’ – they don’t let on how.  It looks like a DJI Phantom 4 drone – its sophisticated cameras could well allow someone to fly it in through a smashed window, though that would be complicated with a big underslung load.   Quite pricey at £1200, if you have paid for it.  In the old days it was fishing bait catapults from the Cally, lobbing stuff over the wall.  Now something new to add to the long list of problems at Pentonville.  The police say:

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Officers from Islington are appealing for witnesses and information following the recovery of two drones carrying mobile phones and drugs in the vicinity of HMP Pentonville.

Over the weekend of Friday, 12 to Sunday, 14 August, officers from the Caledonian Neighbourhoods Policing Team and the Met’s Special Constabulary carried out patrols in the area of the prison as part of Operation Airborne.

Operation Airborne has been set up to deter and catch offenders attempting to deliver contraband into the prison.

During the early hours of Saturday, 13 August, officers observed a man acting suspiciously close to the prison. On seeing police, he ran from the scene, dropping two bags containing a quantity of Class B drugs and mobile phones. He evaded arrest.

The following day, officers recovered a drone after tracking it flying over HMP Pentonville, before it crashed. Later in the day, they were alerted to another drone being flown towards the prison. The low flying drone was stopped mid-flight by an officer and a package containing a large quantity of drugs and two mobile phones was recovered from it.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Heatley, said: “These recovered drones carried a substantial amount of Class B drugs, legal highs and a large quantity of mobile phones; we are able to intercept them thanks to the vigilance of officers and the public. We work closely with the prison service to gather intelligence in order to carry out proactive operations to arrest and prosecute such offenders. I would urge anyone with information about these events to contact the police or Crimestoppers to help us to identify those responsible.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

No arrests have been made.

N176-2016 drugs and mobile phones recovered

 

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Wildlife friendly sculpture wins Silver Gilt award

Vert silver gilt award certificate for Islington in Bloom 2016Vert, the 15 metre high wildlife friendly sculpture on Wharfdale Road N1 9UA was almost totally replanted earlier this year by two volunteers from local environment and arts charity King’s Cross Community Projects (KCCP). They entered the Islington in Bloom 2016 competition not expecting to win anything as their planting scheme comprises mostly native, near native and naturalised plants rather than ‘pretty’ or exotic plants. Yesterday they were astounded and very happy to learn they had been awarded a Silver Gilt prize.

Vert was the result of seven years of development – again done voluntarily – comprising setting up the charity, forming a limited company, promoting the project widely and a tough and long bout of fundraising. Thanks to local gardening expert Mike Jackson, KCCP were put in touch with one of Sir Anthony Caro’s proteges, Neil Ayling who designed the sculpture and managed its fabrication and installation by Benson and Sedgwick (the same company that produces Anish Kapoor’s sculptures). The charity undertook detailed consultation with neighbours in the area and gained planning permission. EC Harris, BAM, Haslemere, J Reddington, Complete Offices and Conisbee structural engineers all donated time and resources. Many local businesses, individuals and Islington Council all gave financial donations.

If you would like to see Vert you can find it here.

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Islington in Bloom is a collaboration between Islington Gardeners and Islington Council and is supported by Camden Garden Centre.

 

Posted in Architecture, Community groups, Green Wall Project, New, Wildlife and Nature | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Gyratory redesign consultation report due next month

King's Cross gyratory systemTransport for London ran a major consultation in February this year to seek opinions on the broad principles they will use to redesign the current hated gyratory. They are aiming to publish the resulting consultation report, which should give us information about who was consulted and what was said, in August. This will be followed early next year by publication of their preferred options and a detailed consultation to finalise these.

Local people have campaigned for decades to get the 1970s throwback gyratory system removed and replaced by a road design that prioritises safety and health whilst adding to the community feel of our area. The gyratory system pushes large amounts of traffic through inappropriate streets as quickly as possible – known as traffic smoothing – which encourages ever more traffic to pollute, endanger and divide us.

We are hopeful that TfL will use an evidence based approach to make radical changes, including making residental streets like Acton, Swinton and Wharfdale Road access only. We’ll be looking for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport to have priority over lorries and private vehicles. And we’ll want to see plans that dramatically reduce the dangerous levels of pollution we currently endure.

We’ll publish details about the consultation report as soon as it becomes available.

Posted in Bad Gyrations KX Campaign, Gyratory consultation 2016, New, Road Safety in Kings Cross | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

HS2 to hit our closest countryside

Perhaps the easiest way to get to the countryside from King’s Cross is to pop out west towards Denham and surrounding area, just a short train journey or 40 minute-ish drive. Sarah, Green, ex-narrowboat resident of Battlebridge Basin, loved it so much she moved there. Now our closest countryside is at risk from the HS2 development and we can help highlight the importance of the area and have a great day out all at the same time.

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A Biodiversity Action Day on Sunday 17th July, meeting near the Little White Bridge north of Denham Deep Lock, has been organised and all are welcome. This is Bridge number 182 on the Grand Union Canal. Get there anytime between 8am and 8pm.  There are masses of dragonflies in the wetlands, fantastic old trees in the woods, a wealth of nature for everyone to see.

Organiser Sarah Green said, “Anyone can join in. Bring your wellies! We want to observe, identify and record as many species as possible, so that HS2 can’t ignore Hillingdon’s wildlife in the Colne Valley.”

Fisherman Bill Stephens, aged 90  said, “This is not even on HS2’s route. This is a land-grab. HS2 is claiming nature reserves and public amenity land, to use for things like heavy vehicle access, depots and removal of spoil and rubble.”

If you can’t get there on the day, you can still help by photographing and lodging records of your plant and wild-life sightings whenever you are in the area. Please let everyone know about the fantastic biodiversity of the Colne Valley.

HS2 would obliterate some of the best loved countryside and wildlife in the London Borough of Hillingdon. Ancient woodland, wetland and meadow would go from Denham Country Park, Frays Valley Nature Reserve, as would some idyllic sections of the Grand Union Canal. See https://www.facebook.com/colne.valley.750 for more information.

Posted in New, Things to do, Wildlife and Nature | Tagged | 3 Comments

Five Guys burgers in Lighthouse Building Kings Cross – good but pricey

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It’s great to see the Lighthouse Building back in use, now with a Five Guys burger joint on the ground floor.  The conversion is light and airy with a more than 180 degree view of the lovely Kings Cross gyratory.

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My first time in a Five guys and I ate a cheeseburger, fries and diet coke which came to a substantial £13.25.  The two-pattie burger was very good though not exceptional, the cheese was better than average, the bun ok.  The diet coke was admix self service.

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The fries were partly excellent, tasting distinctly and pleasantly of potato, which says a lot about other high street fries.

IMG_3929 They proudly display where the spuds came from.  Although i was surprised to see what I can only describe as lots of black bits in the chips which suggests they aren’t being prepared properly with the finnicky work of taking out the black lumps from the raw spud.

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The muzac was very loud (much louder than anything else locally) and eclectic – ranging from Walk the Line to Venus.

Overall it was a pleasant burger and good fries but felt a bit expensive – though I may be being unfair on fresh ingredients and location.

Posted in Food and Drink, New | Tagged , | Leave a comment