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Cally Labour Councillor is elected Deputy Mayor of Islington

May 17, 2016
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(L-R) Paul, Una and Rupert pictured following the Annual Council meeting

We are very proud to announce that Cllr Una O’Halloran has been elected the Deputy Mayor of Islington. She will deputise for this year’s Mayor Cllr Kat Fletcher and will, following usual precedent, become Mayor in 2017-2018.

The new Mayor and Deputy were elected and sworn-in at the Council’s Annual Meeting on May 12th. At that same meeting Cllr Paul Convery stepped-down from the Council’s ruling Executive committee after 6 years’ service.

Over the next two years – as Deputy Mayor and Mayor – Una will of course continue to discharge all her duties as a ward Councillor for Cally including her regular advice “surgeries” at Westbourne Community Centre.

Both Paul and Rupert warmly welcomed Una’s election as Deputy Mayor. Rupert served as Mayor in 1997/98 and knows the small but significant benefits which our neighbourhood will enjoy as a result of having Una in the “first citizen” role.

Paul Convery adds: “Una was born and raised in the south of Islington and has been actively involved in community affairs for 20 years. Before she was elected in May 2014, Una was chair of her local tenants association, the Safer Neighbourhood Panel and local Housing Panel. She is actively involved in two local churches and is also a school governor. She has already proven herself to be a  great Councillor working hard for the people on the Cally. Una has got her feet firmly planted on the ground. When she was first elected I remember her say, with great modesty, that she is ‘an ordinary person who wants to work hard for people like herself’. She will be a great Deputy Mayor and then Mayor in 2017-18.”

Cement company pledges to take its trucks off Copenhagen Street.

April 26, 2016
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Cement mixers and other HGVs servicing Cemex plants have routinely been using Copenhagen Street

One of the largest cement companies operating in the Kings Cross area has instructed its drivers to comply with the HGV ban on Copenhagen Street.

This follows complaints to Cemex that its drivers routinely use Copenhagen Street as a route for HGVs heading towards construction sites east of the Angel.

Copenhagen Street, which has 3 schools on it, is a convenient short cut for trucks heading to and from the Cemex plants off York Way.

In response, Cemex managers have agreed to instruct their drivers to stop using Copenhagen Street and have specifically promised:

  • All drivers from their two plants have been instructed not to use this route and required to sign a printed copy of the email to indicate their acknowledgement.
  • The company’s Operations Supervisor has visited both plants and personally instructed drivers;
  • All delivery dockets will bear the instruction not to use Copenhagen Street
  • All the vehicles are GPS tracked so any driver using Copenhagen Street “will be disciplined” according to the company.

Cally Councillor Paul Convery says “Cemex is the first of the cement manufacturers to take action and I thank them. Copenhagen Street has had a 7.5 tonne lorry ban for many years but HGV drivers have increasingly been using it as a short cut. Next on the list is Hanson which also has a batching plant west of York Way and its drivers also use Copenhagen Street.”

“Getting a company to voluntarily abide by the lorry ban is a start. But our longer term goal is to have a physical width restriction that will prevent all HGVs from entering Copenhagen Street near to its York Way entrance.”

Removing the Kings Cross gyratory system: public consultation begins

February 8, 2016

Removal of the one-way traffic gyratory systems around Kings Cross takes a decisive step forward with the beginning of a 6 week consultation by Transport for London (TfL) with Islington and Camden councils. The objectives of the scheme are to create a better overall environment, reduce traffic impacts and to give priority to pedestrians, residents and cyclists – whilst also making the road system simpler for vehicles.

KX proposed road system

The initial “concept” plan has been unveiled (map above, click to enlarge) which will return most of the roads around Kings Cross to conventional 2-way working. The main benefits will be to the residential roads such as Acton Street and Swinton Street in Camden and Wharfdale Road in Islington. These residential roads which currently take up to 10,000 vehicles a day are home to hundreds of people who live experience some of London’s highest levels of pollution.

The TfL scheme also proposes a network of safe and “quiet” cycle routes through the area which will protect cyclists from the most congested parts of the Kings Cross intersections.

Caledonian ward Councillor, Paul Convery says: “This consultation represents a very significant step forward. The one way systems have blighted Kings Cross for decades. They are relics of an era in the 1970s when road planners saw Kings Cross as a place only suitable for speedily moving large numbers of vehicles through.

“Today Kings Cross is Europe’s busiest transport interchange, a large new business centre and a high density residential neighbourhood. Despite all the changes to the area, Kings Cross remains dominated by traffic and congestion. It’s now time to calm the traffic, take vehicles off the residential roads and create an area in which pedestrians, public transport and cyclists have priority.

“But we cannot underestimate how complicated this will be. It is the most challenging surface transport project that TfL has ever undertaken. The two boroughs and TfL have already done a great deal of preparatory work and the concept is proven to be feasible. But we need the public to help shape the next stage to design a scheme for implementation.”

Consultation details on Islington Council’s website www.islington.gov.uk/kingscross and on TfL’s at https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/kings-cross-gyratory

Transport for London drops plan to close Caledonian Road tube station

January 19, 2016
Cllr Claudia Webbe with Cllr Paul Smith, left, and Cllr Paul Convery

Cllr Claudia Webbe with Cllr Paul Smith, left, and Cllr Paul Convery

Transport for London (TfL) has dropped its plan to close Caledonian Road tube station for 8 months from March after Islington Council threatened a High Court legal challenge.

The dispute occurred after TfL refused to consider an alternative plan for replacing the station’s two lifts. TfL wanted an 8 month total closure. But Islington proposed replacing them one at a time, thereby keeping the station open during the works.

Islington Council’s executive member for environment and transport, Cllr Claudia Webbe, said: “We welcome TfL’s climb down, which shows the council was correct in starting legal proceedings against the decision to close the station for eight months.

TfL says “it would be a waste of public money to fight the council’s legal action” but this is not accurate. TfL caved-in within 4 working days of receiving Islington’s Judicial Review action. They got speedy legal advice which warned transport bosses they had no chance of winning.

TfL says it “will now work with the council to find a solution” and this is very positive indeed. Islington says the lifts can be replaced one at a time and TfL engineers have admitted this is perfectly feasible.

On a typical weekday, almost 10,000 people a day enter and exit the station. The disruption caused by this closure would have been considerable. TfL admitted that most passengers would make an alternative journey via Kings Cross underground station using the already congested bus routes down Caledonian Road.

Cllr Paul Convery adds “the public campaign against this closure shows that TfL cannot afford to ignore its passengers, but sadly TfL bosses did exactly that. The only sat up to pay attention when Islington Council threatened legal action. I want to thank my colleagues Claudia Webbe, Richard Watts and Holloway Councillor, Paul Smith, for their determination and leadership in securing this unprecedented climb-down by TfL.”

 

We can stop TfL closing Caledonian Road underground station for 8 months: sign the online petition

November 18, 2015
Caledonian Road underground station passengers protesting, November 4th.

Caledonian Road underground station passengers protesting, November 4th.

Last month, TfL announced that Caledonian Road underground station will be closed for 8 months beginning in January 2016. Thousands of people have already expressed their indignation at this decision which will massively disrupt the 19,000 passenger journeys each day through the station.

The station’s 2 lifts were installed in 1987 and need replacing soon. There are different ways to do this but TfL has chosen an option which is the most convenient for TfL but the most inconvenient for passengers.

TfL has now admitted that it is feasible to replace the lifts one at a time – whilst keeping the station open. Islington Council says this is the option that TfL should now implement.

Please help us to persuade TfL to think again by adding your name to our online petition by clicking here. The petition will be presented to City Hall next week.

Even if you do not regularly use Caledonian Road underground station, it will affect thousands of people who live further south. TfL plans to re-route most of the displaced passengers by bus down to Kings Cross. This will have a huge impact on bus services and congestion further south on Caledonian Road.

8 month closure of Caledonian Road tube station: there are simple alternatives

November 4, 2015

Councillors representing the neighbourhoods served by Caledonian Road underground station have backed demands that the Mayor of London should step-in and stop TfL’s 8 month station closure and implement an alternative plan instead.

TfL says both of the station’s 2 lifts need replacing at the same time and this requires full closure of the station from January to August 2016.

Labour has proposed an alternative: replace the lifts one at a time. Indeed, there is a third unused lift shaft at the station into which a new lift could be installed first. Experience from other stations shows it is technically feasible to keep one lift operating whilst the other is being replaced. It is technically and managerially more complicated. It might cost more. But perfectly feasible.

Islington’s Labour Council is actively opposing the closure plan. You can support the campaign by signing our online petition here.

Local councillors will be attending a site visit in the next 10 days with TfL officials. Islington Council’s lead member for transport, Cllr Claudia Webbe, has invited senior TfL staff to attend a public meeting to explain their decision and to hear the alternative options which campaigners have identified.

Outcry as TfL announces 8 month closure of Caledonian Road underground station

October 15, 2015
Nearly 9,000 people every day use Caledonian Road underground station

Nearly 10,000 people every day enter Caledonian Road underground station

Councillors and residents across the west of Islington have expressed their indignation at the announcement by Transport for London that Caledonian Road underground station will be closed for an 8 month period in 2016.

TfL says the closure is necessary so that the station’s 2 lifts can be replaced. And it has announced the decision unilaterally by distributing thousands of letters to the surrounding residential areas.*

This follows a very similar decision by TfL to close Tufnell Park underground station for a similarly extended period between June 2015 and “mid March 2016”,  a decision which provoked a massive public outcry.

Islington Council has reacted strongly to this decision by TfL with Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, expressing her “shock that it will take so long to replace two lifts. This is an unacceptable timeframe which will cause a great deal of inconvenience to local people and businesses in the area. Its closure will also adversely affect disabled users, as it is one of the very few step free access stations in the area.”

Cllr Webbe has asked senior TFL officials to a public meeting in the area, to explain to local people why the upgrade work will take so long.

The station is in Holloway Ward and Cllr Paul Smith who represents the area said “several different options were available to TfL including the replacement of one lift at a time or the replacement work being done to a much faster timescale. The option chosen by TfL, without any consultation, is one that is plainly convenient to TfL but highly inconvenient to passengers.”

Caledonian ward councillor Paul Convery adds: “There is no doubt that the station’s lifts are nearing the end of their 30 year life. But surely TfL should have started renewing their asset some time ago? I fear the impact of closing the station will be to put a huge extra strain on the bus routes down Cally Road towards Kings Cross”

* A copy of the letter distributed by TfL can be read by clicking here.