Browsing articles tagged with "club meeting notes Archives - Colchester Travel Plan Club"
Dec 21, 2011
Andrew Budd

2011? Where did that go?

It’s an exciting time right now at the Travel Plan Club. We’ve just won funding from Defra for an air quality project in Colchester, which we hope will go massive from January to March 2012. Then there’s a bid for European Regional Development Fund to support our work on Active Travel, particularly with SMEs in North Colchester Business Parks, again we hope to announce this in the New Year.

But, best of all, our current members are continuing their support for the Club. Many of our local businesses and organisations have gone through major changes in 2011, and budget cuts, so it is particularly pleasing that members have chosen to carry on their good Travel Planning work in partnership with Colchester Travel Plan Club.

So we’re here again in 2012, but it won’t be business as usual. The Club exists only to serve its members, and what our members wanted in 2011, isn’t what our members will want in 2012. That’s cool; your co-ordinators like new challenges. And the two newly funded projects will stretch us. But what do our loyal members want from the Club in 2012? Please get in touch, or take part in our next Meeting on Wednesday morning, 25 January 2012, when we will plan next year’s work.

Looking back on the year 2011, for all of us at our workplaces, it’s sometimes possible for us to focus too much on what we haven’t done, and overlook our achievements.  Thanks to receiving a random e-mail about our past work, Emily found some notes about our Active Travel themed session last 20 April, held at the University of Essex, showing some of the work we have done with our members. (These notes haven’t appeared on this website before, as we went live from June.) Here’s a selection of the original notes, and our end-of-the-year update:

ACE Health Trainer Service. Sue Felgate gave us an overview to reinforce our knowledge about the growing obesity epidemic due to our increasingly sedentary lifestyles and over consumption of food. The car and office based working plays a big part in this and workplaces have an important role in encouraging and supporting people to be more active.ACE offer a wealth of resources from their resource centre including range of leaflets and personal walking plan booklets etc. Contact Sue for more information tel: 01206 288616/07717 130 473,  email

Update:  The TPC have presented at subsequent training sessions for workplace champions during 2011

Cycle Tech Colchester. Ben Paton offers a mobile cycle maintenance service and can come to your work place and offer a range of on site services including Dr Bike safety checks, bike fleet management, private maintenance work, emergency response service, bike maintenance lessons for staff. Ring 07909 280 125,  visit   email

Update: Ben was in Culver St West every Friday through summer and autumn, offering a free Dr Bike 15 minute check. The TPC helped spread the word, and this offer was taken up by hundreds of Colchester people. 

Cycle to Work Scheme. Michelle Lay-Flurrie from Colchester Borough Council gave us a useful overview of the Cycle to Work scheme and its success at CBC (an HMRC initiative to help people buy a decent bike and accessories at a discounted price through salary sacrifice).

Update: The Travel Plan Club recommends Cyclescheme as a Cycle to Work scheme provider. The government’s rules on how to implement the scheme changed during the year, and Emily kept members informed on how best to deal with the latest conditions.

Pedometer challenges to promote walking. Charlotte Humphries from the University of Essex, told us about her successful pedometer challenge held last year, and her stepping-out plans for this year.

Update: Promoting walking is key to many of the TPC objectives. Look out for “Legs Eleven” in spring 2012!

Pool Bikes. Harvey Panrucker from Essex County Council talked about the growth of their pool bike scheme, and how they have rolled this out to other organisations as part of an overall Travel Plan package.

Update: Pool bikes from ECC are now available for staff at DSG, Colchester Institute and Colchester Borough Council, linked with ECC’s Business Travel Plan accreditation scheme.

 Walk Colchester and Jane’s Walk Weekend. Rowena Macaulay from Walk Colchester talked about her community based project “to promote and facilitate safe and enjoyable pedestrianism”. Walk Colchester is holding the UK’s first Jane’s Walk weekend over 7th and 8th May, two days of local walks led by local people, taking place simultaneously around the world, celebrating the ideas and legacy of urbanist Jane Jacobs (1916-2006).

Update: This weekend was an outstanding success. Well done Walk Colchester. The TPC were glad to share details of your event with our members.

Living Streets Walking Calculator. The national charity promoting walking has a free online calculator that will be available for logging walking undertaken in Walk to Work week 9th – 13th May as part of a national walking challenge.

Update: The Living Streets’ online walking calculator didn’t work as well as we had hoped, and take up in Colchester was limited.

Bike Week 2011. Pam Nelson of many hats, here representing Colchester Cycling Campaign and Cycle Colchester, talked about the history of the celebration of Bike Week in Colchester. There are a number of community lead Bike Week events happening, more on this later.

Update: Cycle Colchester had another good year, with the project continuing even though the government had stopped funding it. Many thanks to the local authorities and voluntary sector for keeping the flag flying.

(Thanks to “One Simple Act” from Alberta, Canada for the “idle” sign.)

Nov 8, 2011
Andrew Budd

Cutting Carbon at Sixth Form College

The Sixth Form College has been hosting meetings since 1912.  Here’s a gathering of the Colchester Flat Cap and Bicycle Clips Society in 1921.

Carbon emissions are a global problem. But what’s happening locally? Club Members were shown round Sixth Form College by Keith Ellis. He’s the guy that’s busy putting in place environmental projects at the College, making sure new developments follow good environmental principles, and also greening the older parts of the College and grounds.

And what about Travel Planning? The College is in an ideal location  for “anything but the (solo) car”. With its central location there are frequent buses to most of Colchester, cycle routes and parking, walking distance to main line and branch line railway stations – and limited car parking space. So, well done Keith and colleagues, for all the good work you have delivered at the College.

“Cutting Carbon Emissions From Travel” was the theme for the TPC Event at VIth Form College. Rachel Brody from Essex County Council shared infromation about their “Business Travel Decision Tree”, which clearly sets out the organisation’s policies on what form of transport must be used for different trips. Check on this link for an introduction to ECC’s “Helping You Create a Business Travel Plan” publication.

“Inntel” shared with us, the services their company can offer. They currently provide a travel and accommodation booking service for Essex CC. They could save your company money through the good deals that they have negotiated, and reducing the time spent by your staff on such matters.

“Smarter Driving” included a local car-sharing campaign which we expect to run in 2012. We will be using part of an award from DEFRA, won by the TPC in partnership with Colchester Borough Council, in connection with improving air quality. Nigel Campling of V102 ran through his ideas for a video clip which we plan will become viral, especially for the target group – the 18-30s who have the best potential for car sharing. It will be tested with that group in December, and launched in January.

On the buses, Emily described new deals with local bus operators, the new timetables and routes, and the soon-to-be-released TPC bus map. The Travel Plan Club is the only source of a detailed bus map for Colchester, showing the frequent routes operated locally. Maybe, at some stage in the future, the bus operators or the highway authority will be able to produce such a map for their customers, but at present it’s only your TPC who are prepared to run with this bus-baton. When it’s completed we will share a link with you. In the meantime here’s the best travel planner we know of.

TPC members gave updates on car sharing schemes and pool bikes, before the final item, the “Legs Eleven” walking promotion for North Colchester Business Parks. Justin Lewis of Vacuumatic outlined the project so far. We have now secured enough funding to be confident we can make it happen, so look out for it in the New Year.

And finally, the tour of the College. Thanks again Keith for hosting. Our next Meeting is on 25 January 2012, where we will be planning our work and targets for the year – can you host?  Our next Event is pencilled in for April – do you have a theme you would like us to explore?


Jul 28, 2011
Andrew Budd

Tanks for hosting, Stuart! Club Meeting 20 July


Who wants a picture of some people sitting in a Travel Plan Club meeting? No one! That’s why, instead, we have a picture of a transport themed pink elephant sculpture in Copenhagen.

Many thanks to everyone who came along to our Club meeting, and especially to Stuart of DSG for hosting the Club on 20 July. Club business over, Stuart gave us a fascinating tour of his workplace. Travel Plan Club members were particularly impressed with the electric drying cabinet for soggy clothes, the first time Colchester Club members had seen such a machine! And it was good to hear the DSG Pool Bikes are popular. In contrast, it was very sobering to see wrecked army vehicles that had returned from Afghanistan, before refurb or scrapping at the DSG workshops.

And now (drum roll) – Club Business Meeting – the newsy notes: Communications – Visits to our new website were invited, now we’ve launched, and, as you’re here now, WELCOME! We now have full control over making changes, so we can be more newsy and less static. All comments and suggestions for improvements welcomed. We always want to hear your travel stories, so if you have something to share, get in touch. We would like this website to be a place where both members and employees visit and use as a resource, so please promote it at every opportunity.

Club Members say they want to keep up to date via Facebook, so please join our FB group “colchester2020 travel plan club”. You can follow our RSS feed, or join us on Twitter (we are “travelplanclub”). WE PROMISE NOT TO OVERLOAD YOU WITH POSTINGS.

ACTTravelwise (the UK’s premier network for all organisations working to promote sustainable travel) are having their prestigious annual conference at the Uni of Essex – Charlotte was not here to update us, but she will let us know if there’s any help and support needed to ensure the conference is a success. At the Meeting, we discussed whether the Travel Plan Club should put a paper forward, regarding our work and how it has developed over the years, and there were mixed views. On balance we decided not to present, as the Club has very recently moved to running on a new model, more appropriate to the current financial climate and the progress we’ve already made with our Travel Plans, and September will be too soon to report on our (much hoped for) success!

Car Sharing and Smarter Driving Autumn Promotion. A bid has been put forward to DEFR, by the TPC with the Colchester Borough Council air quality team. The outcome will be known in September, and we have a Plan B up our sleeves if we don’t get everything we asked for! The broad plan is that :

· People will be encouraged to save money and reduce their fuel consumption through a Smarter Driving promotion, in work places to make it easy to participate. Borrowing from Charlotte’s  ‘Love your car’ campaign, checks would be offered, of tyre pressure, filters, how much excess weight is being carried etc, along with advice on reducing fuel consumption through driving techniques, buying a new car and considering alternatives to driving, particularly for short journeys. If the bid is successful, free Smarter Driving Lessons can be offered, and an appropriate freebie for participants, such as a “boot tidy”.

· We would like to carry out a more targeted car sharing campaign, perhaps aimed at younger people who may not have the complicated family circumstances which make car sharing difficult. Feedback is being gained through the snap survey to help determine the best age group to target, and the barriers to car sharing. If the funding comes through, thoughts are to get people talking through a short and fun film clip, (put together by Nigel Campling and his local company V102?), promoting car sharing through a recognisably local story line, that could lead to more… think BT ads! The film could be uploaded to You Tube, and the audio used in a radio campaign.

Cycling Update

Thanks to Natalie Blyde who joined us to talk through what Healthy Living Solutions can offer. Basically as long as some free cycle training is included, Dr Bike, maintenance classes and anything else can be added in! The funding won’t be available for ever, and it would be good to make the most of the good weather over the summer. Sessions can be arranged at any time to suit workplaces and individuals. Family sessions can also be arranged. Healthy Living Solutions will make it as easy as possible for you, all you need to do is agree a time and date, and help promote it to staff.

Public Transport Autumn Promotion

· Network Colchester discounts are in the pipeline ranging from 22 – 31% on a range of ticket types. As NC don’t have a call centre or ticket office, larger TPC businesses would have to sell them direct and NC would invoice them for those purchased, with no up front money required. Smaller businesses could purchase them through Andrew and Emily.

· A new offer on First carnet tickets is awaited as stocks are running low. Previously the Travel Plan Club bulk brought at a 35% discount and sold on to Travel Plan Club members. Once an offer is on the table, we will look at whether it can be set up differently this time around.

· We will get the commuter bus map updated to reflect the new routes and produce a promotional flyer including the map and all Travel Plan Club discounts, also posters for members to put up at work places.

· Once the winner of the Greater Anglia rail franchise is known, we will approach them to discuss our 10% discount currently offered by NXEA. A copy of our response to the franchise consultation last year has been forwarded to all three of the Department for Transport’s preferred bidders.

Any Other Business

We had some discussion around the future of the Travel Plan Club, and how we may need to consider formalising our status so that we have our own bank account, governing body, constitution etc to enable us to bid for funding in our own right. Andrew and Emily will be looking into the options.

And there it was, all over, business efficiently done in just over an hour; and time for a DSG tour. Make sure you’re at the next TPC Event on 26 October, and the next TPC Meeting on 25 January 2012.

We cant wait to bring Wheels for All again to Colchester 2nd and 3rd December we will be at the Corporal Budd Gymnasium for indoor cycle sessions @ActiveEssex @yourcolchester @LeonardCheshire @AllForActivity @2_Wheeled_Wolf @TomcatSNILtd @BritishCycling @ecvys @rjarvis2012

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