2023 Annual General Meeting and Public Meeting
Tuesday 3 October 2023, 7.30pm
Cottonmill Community & Cycling Centre
The STACC 2023 AGM was held on 3rd October at the Cottonmill Community Centre.and Cycle Hub. The new Chair, Rona Wightman gave a summary of campaign activities since the last AGM, held online about 2 years ago. She noted that it was often confusing as to whether the District Council or the County Council was responsible for cycling issues that needed to be dealt with, sometimes one, sometimes the other and sometimes both are involved!
The LCWIP, now approved, is an example of inter-council working by officers and councillors. It had been disappointing that two of the proposed healthy neighbourhood / active-travel schemes in St Albans had stumbled due controversy over proposed locations of traffic filters. This makes wide-area 20mph limits for our district's towns and villages even more needful.
Good progress is being made on less controversial schemes - St Albans Market Place experimental walking and cycling zone is to be made permanent; work is progressing on the Central St Albans scheme.
Another issue where council responsibilities are a concern is in maintenance of cycling and walking routes, in particular ensuring vegetation is trimmed and encroaching verges are cut back ('sided') to maintain full usable widths of paths.
Cycle parking is another campaign area. Provision of on-street hangars ('bread-bins') has ended up in limbo between Highways and Parking administration.
Rona noted that at the very same time as our AGM a meeting was being held by the Marshalswick North Residents Association to try and get a resolution to the high-handed action of Oaklands College closing the very important bridleway route through the college grounds.
We were delighted to be holding our AGM at the Cottonmill Community and Cycling Centre, and we heard from the manager, Mat Daniels about the achievements from first year of the St Albans Cycle Hub, including that more than 1200 cycles have been serviced, many of them very basic bikes that would otherwise have been consigned to landfill.
Nick Truran, the Strategic Cycling Lead & Development Manager at Hertfordshire County Council then spoke on the Active Travel Strategy 2023 consultation - more than 2500 comments are currently being reviewed. A common theme from respondents was to be more ambitious in providing for active travel. He also told us that HCC have developed an online asset map of Hertfordshire cycling infrastructure which will shortly be available to the public. The map will be interactive, enabling comments to be placed and be visible to all, which will be effective in helping officers identify locations for attention. Nick's role now includes Walking and Wheeling as well as Cycling - this terminology recognises that many people use wheeled assistance other than cycles, such as mobility scooters, pushchairs and wheelchairs, and the public realm should welcome all modes of active travel.
The STACC Treasurer presented the accounts, the committee was elected and the formal business closed.
We were then treated to excellent illustrated presentations of recent cycling trips undertaken by STACC members.
Graham Trent took us along NCN6 (and other connecting routes) from John O'Groats through Scotland, northern England and all the way back to St Albans. The answer to the question posed in our AGM mailout was revealed as.... NCN6 by Thirlmere in the Lake District.
Mike Yorwerth followed on with accounts of his cycling holidays in Puglia (Italy's heel), and Ireland.
Two very inspiring talks!