Inaugural – September 2013

Minutes of the

Inaugural Meeting of the

Friends of Greenwich and Woolwich Foot Tunnels (“FOGWOFT”)

On Thursday, 5th September at the 10 Centre, Greenwich

  1. 1.    Present

A list of those present is attached at Annex 1.  Those on the list shall be known as the founder members of the Friends of Greenwich and Woolwich Foot Tunnels.

  1. 2.    Welcome and Scope of Meeting

The meeting was chaired by Cllr. Mary Mills who welcomed everyone and declared the meeting open.  Ian Blore outlined the Scope of the meeting, to agree the Aims, Interim Constitution, Finances and Communications of the Friends and also to initiate ideas that could help progress the Friends and its Aims.

  1. 3.    Initial Opening Comments by Chair

Dr Mary Mills tabled a folder of documents of the history of the two tunnels, and recommended that the core business of the meeting be completed swiftly in order to allow as much open Brainstorming as possible.

  1. 4.    Aims of the Friends

Ian Blore presented draft Aims of the Friends as publicised electronically.  There were proposed amendments to the first and last Aim to stress their safe and responsible use.  The suggested amendments were accepted.

  1. 5.    Interim Constitution

Dr Francis Sedgemore proposed that the draft Interim Constitution as publicised electronically be adopted.  He suggested that an Interim Constitution would allow the Friends to develop in a changing situation and could be fleshed out and amended at a future General Meeting.  No amendments were proposed and the Interim Constitution was adopted nem. con.

  1. 6.    Finances and Electronic Media

John Phillips explained that it was not proposed to introduce membership fees until the Friends had proved itself.  So far, interested individuals and a grant from the Greenwich Cyclists had sustained initial steps.

He then outlined that there was open access to a Friends website, Email and a Twitter account which could all be access via the website.

  1. 7.    Committee and Elections

The Chair called for a representation that balanced the four entrances to the tunnels whilst John Phillips suggested the meeting should at least elect a Chair and Secretary.  It was proposed that a press officer would continue to be valuable and that, although the Friends had as yet no secure income stream that a treasurer should also be elected.  All proposals were agreed and the Chair called for nominations to:

Chair              Dr Sedgemore proposed Mary Mills

Secretary       John Phillips proposed Ian Blore

Press officer  Dick Vincent proposed Dr Francis Sedgemore

Treasurer       Ian Blore proposed John Phillips

Non-official Committee Members were proposed from various areas:

Parm Mahil    (Tower Hamlets)

Richard Sullivan (Blackheath)

David Dennison (Woolwich)

A discussion ensued about the balance of the proposed Committee, especially between cycling and non-cycling nominations.  It was questioned whether the meeting knew each nominee sufficiently to elect them.  Ian Blore proposed that the formal election of Committee Members be postpones till after the Brainstorming discussions and after each nominee had a chance to address the meeting.

  1. 8.    Brainstorming

A whole group brainstorming session was broken for refreshments and generated many ideas.  Some were interlinked but the key concerns were how to work with yet challenge the owners of the tunnels, the Royal Borough of Greenwich, and how to balance transport and heritage aspects.  Cycling and non-cycling participants displayed a clear consensus on the undesirability of cycling through the tunnels.

A Summary of the collected ideas is shown in Annex 2, collated into a few categories.

  1. 9.    Committee Elections

After statements by Dr Francis Sedgemore and John Phillips followed by further discussion, largely about the behaviour of some cyclists, it was resolved to accept the nominations to the Committee by acclamation.

The Meeting closed at 20.45.

ANNEX 2

Proposals for Actions from the Founding Friends of Greenwich and Woolwich Foot Tunnels

 

Liaison with Royal Borough of Greenwich

Establish a mechanism for sustained engagement with the Council

Host a public Q&A session with all three affected borough councils

Use Freedom of Information requests to solicit information from relevant authorities

Clarify the roles of organisations other than the Royal Borough of Greenwich

Major Actions on the Refurbishment Scheme

Call for a consultation on the completion of the refurbishment works

Determine when the new refurbishment contract is to be awarded and completed

Future Improvement Works

Recommend updated signage in terms of content and presentation

Request community noticeboards at tunnel entrances

Consider tunnel entrances as possible galleries for public art and illumination of cupola domes

Safety

Call for a review of the abolition of lift operators

Consider Council wardens or volunteer wardens

Review CCTV operations and data sharing with neighbouring boroughs

Call for the installation of an emergency hotline phone

The Tunnels as Transport Links

Call for a review of existing tunnel capacity in the light of expected future demand

Require a forward plan for the expected disruption caused by major rail works at London Bridge Station

Stimulate a review of the role that the tunnels could play in supporting economic development in the host boroughs)

Heritage and Public Art

Promote public awareness of the history of the tunnels

Call for the tunnels to be used as public art galleries

Consider a tunnel festival or other events

Request a reconsideration of the ban on busking

Stage a “hug a tunnel” event (Woolwich tunnel is 101 year’s old in October)

Cycling

Hold a public consultation on whether cycling could be allowed in the Woolwich tunnel during the morning rush hour

Support the occasional deployment of wardens in the tunnels

Support random police action against cyclist who break the bylaw

Launch a campaign to promote more considerate and responsible behaviour by all users

Hold a “hug a cyclist” event

These Proposals were generated at the Friends inaugural meeting.  It is hoped that they will provoke debate.  They will help inform the policy and actions of the Friends in its formative stage.