Highlights of our AGM 2016 (Part 1)

What a buzz on the 12 April at our AGM! We had a fantastic turnout, and a great mix of people showed their support, young and old, long-term friends and new members, many thanks for coming! Here is what happened for those who could not make it and you can catch some photos in our recent flickr stream.

DSC_2267Claire Prospert (pictured, on the left, with Mikael Coleville-Andersen and Phillipe Crist ), presented the annual report. Our motto, last year, was Transport Transition. We don’t think that the transport authorities have meaningfully embraced the need and urgency for change. The message to shift from the private car to sustainable transport including cycling should be much clearer and much stronger. Of course, our focus remained on quality cycling infrastructure and political engagement. We were commenting on council plans online and meeting with decision makers face-to-face. To that effect, our newly set up infrastructure team led by Scott was very busy, clocking a record number of volunteers’ hours through preparation, attendance and follow up of council’s Technical Advisory Group meetings. The team prepared and submitted 33 technical responses in total, some of them quite detailed. We made good use of our Campaign policies: sustainable safety and protected space on main roads. Having policies certainly saves time for responses. Claire concluded by thanking all committee members, volunteers and members who helped the Campaign last year.

JWJohn Watson our Treasurer and pictured on a family cycle holiday on the left, updated us on the financial annual report We finished the year with a positive balance of about £2,400, a healthy financial situation. Most of our income came from members’ donations (Thank you!) and corporate members’ fees (also thanks!). John made a call for donations, in particular during the “grow your tenner” campaign of localgiving (our donations host), which we hope will happen again in October. The window for donations which get doubled up to £10 may be very small (a week) so do watch out for our call for donations, every pound you give helps the campaign. AS for expenditure, main our outgoings are website maintenance (after a cost review, we have recently completed the switch to a new host to keep costs down), travel costs to events and training, promotion materials (e.g. Space for Cycling rides) as well as resources and books.

We then agreed the members of the Management committee for 2016-17:

  • Scott Dawson – seconded by Tony Waterson
  • Roderick Joyce – seconded by Tom King
  • Katja Leyendecker – seconded by Shannon Robalino
  • Claire Prospert – seconded by Richy Hetherington
  • Sally Watson – seconded by Cath Scaife
  • John Watson – seconded by Carlton Reid

As usual, the constituted posts and other roles will be agreed at the first Committee meeting, which is scheduled for May.

Katja Leyendecker presented the draft campaign plan for 2016-17, which builds on our transport transition message and continued political engagement. We’ll put cycling back on the map.

Presentation AGM networkAfter a year of articulating what transport transition is and communications with key city decision makers, we are proposing to return our attention fully to lobbying for a quality cycling network. The Campaign will still take a focus on Newcastle (dealing with one council is keeping us busy enough!), but we are always keen to hear from surrounding areas to support other groups around (and local groups within) Newcastle. Worth noting that Newcastle Council is doing a lot to activate people in local communities which is good to see but council’s message and vision should be much stronger, and more coherent and policy-led.

Our own vision is about liveable cities – since the creation of the Campaign in 2010, we have been very clear that we want a better transport system for Newcastle and that, on the whole, the Campaign supports a much broader agenda. We want a Newcastle that is healthy, fair, inclusive, green and sustainable. And of course, cycling is a key ingredient of liveable cities. We want to see a broader alliance with a stronger voice.

Quantity assessment

This year, we will re-focus back on the adoption and implementation of a quality cycling network. Let’s look at Newcastle council policy – the Council is already committed to build 7 strategic Cycle routes and a (city centre) ring road, as stated in the One Core Strategy. Our proposal goes further and consists of 9+2 routes, 9 radials and 2 rings.

These 9+2 routes will be the key protected cycleways of the city – the backbone. Our priority is to make this backbone network Council policy and have it included in city plans and programmes, if anything so council can be clear for connectivity and infrastructure needs for the planned housing developments. Developers must pay into the council kitty for route improvements (S.106, CIL). We are determined to put the cycling network back on the map and see it included in Council policy… yes, it may take longer than a year to do so.

Quality is needed too

Vitally, we want to see quality designs built into the whole cycling network. And we believe that Sustainable Safety, the Dutch infrastructure principles, can help do that. Indeed we were very impressed by the way the Dutch do road safety when they visited Newcastle in 2013. They do it in a very holistic, inclusive and intuitive way. Sustainable Safety is based on:

  • the creation of a network, and the clear functionality and classification of roads
  • the elimination of risks and the problems at source through design
  • consistency in the design to make it recognisable
  • taking into account how human beings behave by mitigating for human failure (forgiving design)

Your involvement is requested

Throughout next year, there will be opportunities for members and Councillors to be involved and support the Campaign’s plan.

If you’re a member, please watch out for our calls/requests to write to your councillors and/or MP. If you are a Councillor, check out for the plans for a Strategic Cycle Route through your ward and get involved. Our website provides lots of resources for Councillors. The Campaign is also active in the newly established Newcastle Transport Forum – walking and public transport are allies of cycling.

[This concluded the first part of the AGM.]