If approved, the Neighbourhood Plan would form part of planning policy, tackling issues such as:
• The scale, location, design, and height of new development
• Affordable housing
• Retail, leisure, business workspace and community facilities
• Transport and connectivity
• The historic and natural environment (including Finsbury Park itself)
In Spring 2017, 77 Neighbourhood Areas had been designated in London alone, with interest expressed from a further 35 groups.
Of those 77, five had been passed at a community referendum, and nine had a draft Plan ready for consultation / examination. Six of the Areas crossed multiple local authority boundaries.
In recent years, Finsbury Park has often felt like the ‘forgotten corner of three Boroughs’.
At the Finsbury Park Regeneration Conference in 2015, a group of local residents and workers were enthused by the idea that a Neighbourhood Plan for Finsbury Park could help secure a more coherent and prosperous future for the area.
Finsbury Park spans multiple administrative boundaries. Despite an accord signed by the three local councils in June 2012, coordination has not always been effective. A Neighbourhood Plan will provide a single set of coherent planning policies for the area.
Neighbourhood Plans can help to focus new development in the most appropriate locations, whilst protecting assets such as local green spaces and buildings with heritage value.
Finsbury Park itself is a great asset to the area, but heavy traffic flows detract from the local environment. Planning policies can directly and indirectly affect public realm and landscape, green infrastructure (such as street trees, parks, and water courses), car parking, drainage, air quality, energy and water consumption, and noise.
Despite excellent public transport links, areas of Finsbury Park are dominated by motor vehicles. The railway lines and roads with faster moving traffic disconnect parts of the community from one another. A Neighbourhood Plan can set out a vision for land use, public realm, and transport infrastructure. This could include proposals to improve accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists – although some elements of this vision may not form planning policy.
Our local area has a diverse population, each with different needs – and newcomers will increase demands on existing services. Planning policy can highlight need for community facilities, and outline expectations for developers to contribute towards meeting these.
Finsbury Park’s convenient transport links and vibrant amenities have attracted new investment and development. But rising rents and living costs have meant that existing residents and businesspeople have sometimes lost out. A Neighbourhood Plan can promote affordability and diversity in its policies.