Preparing the plan involves several stages of preparation, consultation, inspection and a public vote, before it is formally adopted.
- Preparation of evidence base
- Community engagement
- Identifying issues and setting aims
- Writing policies and the plan
- Pre-submission consultation
- Updating the plan and policies in the light of consultation
- Submitting the plan for inspection
- Voting on the plan by those on the electoral roll
Engaging all parts of the community is an on-going process. We aim to contribute to how our area develops using international as well as local comparisons.
We have established three working groups to look at our main areas of interest:
- Public realm
- Development control
- Community cohesion
We live in a very pleasant and convenient part of London. However, by international standards or even in comparison with other parts of our own borough or adjacent boroughs there are many deficiencies in the appearance and use of our public spaces.
Some of these are easily and cheaply fixed whilst others pose more intractable problems and require significant expenditures. We believe our streets should be places for residents to use and enjoy, and for children to play in, not just thoroughfares for vehicles. The appropriate sharing of our space needs to be examined and reflected in our area plan.
The parks in our area need to be totally re-imagined as attractive community spaces. While there is an urgent need for a few simple improvements in the area, the overall plan will involve more work to test local opinion and include professional help in drawing up a plan.
The working group has been trying to establish certain principles that would guide our approach to development control. The types of changes encouraged in planning and development will have a direct impact on the public realm as well as on the quality of life of the user and immediate neighbours. They would also be connected with the third issue – community cohesion.
More flexibility needs to be introduced in the planning system with regard to varying the size of a property unit through the life-cycle of the people living here, so that people can remain long-term in the community if they wish. Extending upwards – within the ethos of conservation and heritage – rather than down under the ground is easier and far less disruptive.
Providing more private or semi-private outside space for all housing units should be encouraged subject to issues of overlooking. Such greater flexibility must be within the context of a very high standard of design and sound ecological principles.
The existing amenity society has well-supported social and cultural events, but there is a need to widen the base to include under-represented groups such as small business owners and those living in social housing.
Greater coordination on tackling crime and anti-social behaviour is another aim. Car crime and burglary are perceived as serious problems here and we are trying to establish the best means for ‘neighbourhood watch’ street representatives to work together.
At a later stage these three thematic areas will, with appropriate professional input, be brought together in a provisional plan which will be subject to informal and formal consultation. This will be followed by a formal inspection before being subjected to a local vote.
The neighbourhood plan must be compatible with the London and Westminster planning framework, but it will be the statutory planning document for our area.