Food volunteers steer around LTN closures on electric bike

Service was unable to make deliveries by car due to controversial roads scheme

Friday, 28th January — By Charlotte Chambers

Cargo bike

Nathalie Renaud and Roshni Shah load up the cargo bike with food parcels as delivery volunteer John Dixon sets out from Elizabeth House in Highbury

A POPULAR food delivery service offered by a community centre in Highbury has gone greener after it switched from using cars to a cargo bike specially loaned by Islington Council.

New Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes, which ban cars from some roads, left Elizabeth House community centre in a pickle after they were no longer allowed to deliver food parcels to clients using their cars.

So the Town Hall stepped in and loaned them one of a fleet of seven new electric ­cargo bikes – free of charge, for three years.

Volunteers at the community centre in Hurlock Street, who have been giving up their lunchtimes to deliver parcels to families in the area, have been getting to grips with the new green machine.

Volunteer John Dixon, who works from home, said that as he was in support of LTNs and getting more bikes on the road, he thought he would put his time into helping the community centre deliver food.

He said: “I’m a supporter of the LTN and I heard Elizabeth House were inconvenien­ced by it, so I thought I’d offer my help.”

Nathalie Renaud, director at Elizabeth House, said that since they received the bike in September it has made a big difference.

“It was essential to find a solution,” she added. “The LTN caused an issue for us.

“Our first request for special permission from the council was refused, but they offered us this. Now it’s much better. We didn’t want more cars on the road either – it was a bit of a dilemma.”

Mr Dixon, one of around seven volunteers, said riding the bike in his lunchtime and getting out of the house was “a lot of fun” and recommended others join the team.

Since 2020, the council have ditched three diesel vans and replaced them with six electric bicycles used by their environmental team. Other community centres using cargo bikes are the Arc Centre in Angel, Hilldrop Community Association between Tufnell Park and Caledonian Road, and Hornsey Lane Community Association, between Crouch Hill and Archway.

Three more community centres are now awaiting the arrival of their bikes.

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