Embarking on the Transport Transition Journey – AGM 2015 (Part 1)

It was truly uplifting to see an even bigger crowd than last year at the Hub for our AGM 2015. Forty members and a handful of observers: the Cycle Hub was certainly packed that night!

Introduction and formal business

Katja Leyendecker, the co-founder and Chair of Newcycling since 2010, kicked off the meeting by saying that our campaign thanks to all volunteers had indeed shifted up a gear last year, consolidating our foundations while reaching out more to involve our membership in activities.

Claire Prospert, also co-founder and Secretary, presented the annual reports and highlighted the key achievements of the year:

  • more than 500 people involved in the Space for Cycling campaign
  • two successful rides organised by Peter Macdonald (next ride on Saturday 25 April 2015)
  • 67% local councillors in support
  • our first local branch established in Jesmond, chaired by Sally Watson
  • two new campaign infrastructure policies (sustainable safety and protected space)
  • a well run and growing infrastructure team led by Scott Dawson
  • more than 20 replies to consultations – local and national
  • 29 press releases, and not to forget a strong voice on social media.

So we hope we truly made our 1,520 members proud last year.

AGM 2015 Photos Gallery – Credit: Peter Wesolowski

Following a brief overview of the healthy annual accounts (big thank you to the 43 members who have donated to the campaign), the new Committee, in charge of steering and managing the campaign, was established. It has seven members:

  • Scott Dawson
  • Roderick Joyce
  • Katja Leyendecker
  • Claire Prospert
  • Sally Watson
  • John Watson
  • Rupert Weare

Not to forget, a big thank-you goes to Geoff Turnbull who decided to retire from the committee. The constituted posts and roles will be discussed and appointed at the first Committee Management Meeting.

Council presentation

We then gave the floor to Graham Grant, Newcastle City Council’s Transport Development Specialist.

Graham outlined Newcastle’s context and plans. On the one hand Newcastle has a low level of car ownership but on the other hand the city imports more trips than any other urban areas in the region. Significant amounts of funding have been secured to modernise the transport infrastructure and improve flow of traffic: hotspots like Haddricks Mill and Blue house roundabouts. However, Graham recognised that more needs to be done to develop plans for an entire area rather than only focussing on spot improvements; more information regarding the city centre will be released after the elections. Funding for cycling features heavily in the transport investment package with £15m alone from the Cycle City Ambition Fund programme. Support from communities and individuals is essential and can lead to further investment being made locally. Sally Watson raised the issue about DIY streets in Jesmond where proposals do very little for cycling and not enough is done to stop rat running. Katja also stressed that when the Campaign replies to council consultations, it’s on behalf of 1,500 members and this needs to be taken into account, with the council properly recognising the role of community groups like NewCycling.

This concludes part 1 of the AGM 2015 account – you can read the part 2 here.