Category Archive Forum News

Forum Get-together and Drinks Thurs Apr 7 ’22

There will be an informal meeting of Finsbury Park & Stroud Green Neighbourhood Forum on Thursday 7th April at 7pm.

Wine and soft drinks will be available with some nibbles.

There will be a short report from the Steering Group on recent developments (particularly our selection to be a “Design Code Pathfinder” and our developing association with My Place), a chance to ask questions and an informal discussion of the Area and what needs to be changed through our Neighbourhood Plan.

The venue will be SPACE4 on the 2nd floor of Fonthill House, 113-115 Fonthill Road N4 3HH. (Fonthill House is just to the south of the junction of Wells Terrace and Fonthill Road). Ring the buzzer labelled Event Space/Classroom for admission. We are very grateful to Outlandish for letting us use the room.

As covid is still with us and infections are rising we encourage you to wear a mask when you come to the meeting. 

Design Code Pathfinders Participation

We have just been selected to take part in the government’s Design Code Pathfinders project, beating several others from across the country, which gives us a great chance to make a real impact for the better on the local planning process.

We are also kicking off our community engagement phase, where you get to have your say. To lay the groundwork for a comprehensive neighbourhood plan, please help by giving us your opinions in this very short initial online survey:

Over a 12 month period we will work with the government’s Office of Place to develop a design code for Finsbury Park and Stroud Green. This will set detailed requirements for development in the area covering almost everything that we experience living or working in the area.

This is an exciting opportunity although it is a huge extra work load. We would like more members working with us and taking an active role in working on the Design Code project and the Neighbourhood Plan. The only important skills we need are interest and being prepared to work hard!

If you are interested please get in touch!

Finsbury Park Needs You! Please help us to make Finsbury Park/Stroud Green a better place in which to live and work.

Forum Meeting & Presentation, Tuesday 16th November 2021

Linda Royles, chair of the Forum, welcomed everyone and introduced the agenda, which included a brief summary of what has been done so far, an outline of future work and stressed the need to engage with and consult people from all the different communities across the area.

The sections of the meeting were presented by members of the steering group – if you’d like to know who these are, the information is on the FP&SG website

What the Forum is trying to do and what’s been done so far

People in the local area were surveyed over many weeks and asked three questions – what is your postcode? What do you call the area where you live? Is it part of Finsbury Park? From that work came the boundary and the Forum’s name: Finsbury Park and Stroud Green Neighbourhood Forum.

The formation of the FP&SG Neighbourhood Forum was approved by Hackney, Haringey and Islington: the three boroughs with parts of wards in the defined area. The key objective of the Forum is the creation of a Neighbourhood Plan – to promote or improve the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of the area. Membership of the Forum is open to anyone who lives or works in the area

During the pandemic, when we have not been able to have our usual in-person meetings, we have been meeting on Zoom – as a Steering Group and as theme groups – Engagement, Planning and IT/Comms.

We have reviewed the London Plan and the three Boroughs’ Local Plans. This has helped to indicate the possible scope of the FP&SG Neighbourhood Plan and the key evidence needed. Neighbourhood Plans can relate to a range of planning and regeneration matters: social, economic and environmental, which need to be translated into detailed policies, guidance and proposals within the Plan

During this period, the group has prepared and submitted a bid to central Government to be an urban design pilot, worked to identify funding sources and continued to liaise with all three Boroughs via our elected members and contact with the borough planning officers.

Engagement with local people and businesses is key to successful Plan development. We want to – and need to – listen to everyone in our area if we are to develop a good and acceptable Plan. We need to hear from the diverse people and communities living and working in the area. We’ve heard from those who have come to meetings, but we still need to hear from lots more local people – by going to where they are comfortable to talk about what they like – and dislike – about the area, what concerns them and their ideas for making it an even better place to live. From hearing them we can consider what the planning implications are.

We’ve been making lists of local groups and contacts with whom to engage and we would welcome further contacts.

The aim is to develop policies against which development proposals in the Area will be considered – Planning applications will be determined in accordance with these policies unless material considerations indicate otherwise. Policies should provide a clear indication of how a decision maker should react to a development proposal. Policies cannot contradict existing National, London or Local Policies.

There is no need to cover everything, just policies that aren’t already met satisfactorily in the London Plan, Local Borough Plans, etc. – Some Neighbourhood Plans provide a single policy!

….but policies in other Neighbourhood Plans have tackled a range of issues including: favouring development that meets local housing needs; indicating how council funds from development should be spent – on a local park, public space or other facilities; giving council residents a bigger say in estate redevelopment; providing affordable workspaces for small businesses; supporting sustainable transportation for all uses throughout the Neighbourhood area; advocating high design quality.

Please join the Forum if you live or work in the Neighbourhood Plan area and would like to be involved in shaping development in the area. You don’t have to be an expert on planning, design, or community engagement issues – but if you are, that’s great too! You could help with some specific tasks, join one of the sub-groups (Engagement, Planning, etc) – or simply receive updates via emails and attend Forum meetings. You can join online via the website.

Candidates for 2021-11-16 Election to Neighbourhood Forum

While the Forum is grateful to all candidates for standing, it must be pointed out that none of the positions are contested.


FP&SG NF Officer & Steering Group Elections 16/11/21


Linda Royles
Haringey Resident
Seconded by Dorothy Newton 

I am a former Chief Executive with over 12 years board room experience and over 15 years chairing meetings. I am experienced at managing and working with audiences large and small. My work included  lobbying on behalf of the creative industries, preparing position papers and statements on behalf of over 500 companies to parliament and ministers. I was awarded for my contribution to industry
I have lived and worked in N4 for over 15 years. I have run a small community interest company in Finsbury Park for over ten years, working with local community groups across London. We specialises in working with special educational needs and outdoor education, including tackling food literacy 
I also work as a public speaking coach and horticultural therapist for SEN (special educational needs) groups and a youth charity.
I have experience working with and for community, supporting SME and not for profits
I am an active member of my local community. I set up our neighbourhood watch scheme in 2017 (with a growing membership of 51 people) we have made great inroads on working to tackle local crime, grime and grow a sense of community on our street and in our area
• I set up our a local action committee in response to S20 Major Works and support and advocate on behalf of leaseholders

Vice Chair / Secretary

Hugh Archibald White

Hackney Resident 
Seconded by Susan Lowenthal 

I have lived in Finsbury Park for nearly 35 years and in Hackney for 45 years. I have been involved with Wilberforce Gardeners and the Save Wilberforce Road Campaign (opposing demolition of 13 houses).
Before retirement I lectured in biochemistry and had experience in running undergraduate admissions for both my department and then faculty. I was treasurer of a college society for 21 years and for a couple of years secretary of the AUT (now UCU) branch. 

Membership Secretary

 Lawrence Singha
Haringey Resident (a resident of Stroud Green for 23 years)
Seconded by Hugh White )

I would like to submit that I am very keen to be appointed as membership secretary and I consider myself apt for this important position because I am more than willing to contribute my time and efforts to bring structure and streamlined flow to the group.
I am equipped with a competent skill set of information technology, website & social media management, IT network speciality, administrative abilities and will comply with data and privacy security.
I shall strive to bring purpose to my role with a hand-on approach coupled with my people friendly nature.


Dominic Sweetman (Hackney Resident)

Seconded by Dorothy Newton

I’ve lived in the Finsbury Park corner of Hackney since 1994, and with luck will stay here for many years more.  I’ve been active in the Wilberforce Gardeners group (treasurer & cakes) and the “Save
Wilberforce Road” planning campaign (website etc).
I am currently membership secretary and contact person for a fairly large choir (North Camden Chorus, c. 90 singers registered).  I have been on their committee for many years, and used to run the web site
From 1983-2007 I was managing director of a small and egalitarian computer company, with a turnover of £0.5-1M.  A colleague acted as treasurer, but we divided responsibility for financial planning.
I have a good working knowledge of small-organisation IT and IT management, too.
The role of treasurer will change significantly if the Forum incorporates, and from that time will depend a lot on what form that incorporation takes.  I’m open to the challenge…

Election of Steering Group

HACKNEY Residents

Susie Barson seconded by Elizabeth Lowe

I have lived in Finsbury Park Road (L.B. Hackney) for ten years; before that I lived in Stroud Green. I am an Architectural Investigator with Historic England.

Heritage, architecture and the built environment are my passion, and I would like to be in the group which looks at planning and development within the boundary area. Although much has been already determined in the three local authority Local Plans, I believe there is scope to identify sites and areas where tangible improvements can be made for the benefit of the local community. Together we can put forward ideas and proposals, many garnered during the boundary survey talks, to make Finsbury Park and Stroud Green a better place to live, work and interact socially and culturally.

Elizabeth Lowe seconded by Susan Lowenthal

I have lived in the Brownswood Ward (Hackney) for over 40 years and worked in a number of community initiatives. I have been involved with the FPSG Neighbourhood Forum from the very start in 2015. I believe that the Forum and the Neighbourhood Plan are essential to ensure that all 3 councils work together for the benefit of those of us who live or work within the area.

As a solicitor within private practice, major charity, industry and government I have experience engaging and working with a wide cross section of the community.

My aim is the creation of a Neighbourhood Plan that will shape and develop the living and working environment within the Neighbourhood Forum area and make it a green, sustainable, safe and great place to be.

Francesco Mellino seconded by Hugh White

I am a Senior Economist at Homes England, the UK Government’s housing accelerator. 

I am a member of Friends of Finsbury Park.

Since first moving to the area in 2015, I have lived in the Tollington ward (Islington), Stroud Green ward (Haringey) and Brownswood ward (Hackney), where I currently reside.

HARINGEY Residents

Matthew Spry seconded by Linda Royles

I have been a resident of the FPSG area since 2009 and live in Haringey. I am a qualified town planner and have worked at Lichfields – a planning consultancy – for ocer 20 years, initially in Newcastle and then in London. I carry out consultancy work for public and private sector organisations, and have had a particular focus on residential development projects, area-based regeneration, and helping local authorities with their plan making. In 2016, I was an advisor on the Government’s Local Plans Expert Group. I am a non-executive Director of Repton Property Developments, the company established by Norfolk County Council to develop its surplus land for housing. 


Adam Hardy seconded by Jonathan Ward

I’d like to be on the FPSG NF steering group because I think there’s a huge need for more environmental and ecological commitment from our three councils, and our NF steering group definitely needs to concentrate on such issues, e.g. climate change adaptation, air quality, natural resources, green space – things that will make our area cleaner, healthier and even beautiful. I’ve got an MSc in environmental technology and experience in campaigning and volunteering on green issues. I live with my partner and school-age children in the Islington Finsbury Park ward.

Edward Farleigh seconded by Hugh White

I am a local resident and architect with extensive experience in residential neighbourhood design in London. Having worked at a number of high-profile practices, including Karakusevic Carson, Alison Brooks and David Chipperfield, I recently founded my own practice with the aim of focussing on community led projects. Over of the years my work has required me to produce design-guides and parameters for emerging neighbourhoods as well as designing within various Plan’s, giving me ample experience of the effectiveness of local planning policies.

I believe that London can address the housing crisis without resorting to tower construction or widespread demolition. By working at the local scale and by thinking carefully about how we ensure development is targeted at those who plan to live and work locally we can densify neighbourhoods sustainably. I hope that working as a member of the Steering Group will allow me to contribute to the sustainable development of my own neighbourhood.

Susan Lowenthal seconded by Elizabeth Lowe

I have been involved with the working group for the Finsbury Park & Stroud Green Neighbourhood Plan since its inception, after the 2015 Finsbury Park Regeneration Conference. I have lived in the area for 35 years and brought my family up here.
What I would really like to see is a greener, safer environment for everyone who lives and works in the area. As a Chartered Landscape Architect, I have a depth of professional knowledge, including experience of Planning matters. I work for a leading engineering professional services company on urban realm and infrastructure projects, but I worked for Hackney Council for 16 years and was later seconded to Islington Council. 
It would be a great achievement for the FPSGNP area to become a healthy place where our whole community has decent housing, great local shops, cleaner air, green streets and parks, feels safe, and is proud to live/ work and spend leisure time.

Dorothy Newton seconded by Hugh White

I have been part of the group working towards setting up a Forum since it began.

I have lived in Finsbury Park for 50 years. My three children were born here and went to school locally. I am committed to our area and to developing planning measures which will enhance life and health for all our wonderful mix of people – using the Forum’s powers to stand up for our area within the three councils and other authorities, encouraging better working together on issues which affect us all – including air quality, the state of our streets and green spaces – as well as the built environment.

I am retired from paid work. I’m involved with various other local groups and activities, which will, I hope, as things develop, help to engage more local people in the work towards a Plan.


Note: we did not ask elected official candidates for personal statements.

HACKNEY Elected Official Member

nominee: Cllr Clare Potter Brownswood Ward

seconder: Dominic Sweetman

HARINGEY Elected Official Member

nominee: Cllr Eldridge Culverwell Stroud Green Ward

seconder: Lawrence Singha

ISLINGTON Elected Official Member

nominee: Cllr Asima Shaikh Finsbury Park Ward

seconder: Susan Lowenthal

Co-opted Members of Sub-Groups (for information: not elected)

The Steering Group has the power to co-opt people to sub-groups. Such co-opted members provide invaluable expertise as well as a great deal of work.

Co-opted at present are:

Oliver Gladstone (Hackney resident but no longer in Neighbourhood Area)

I am a local resident, I work as a highway engineer in the sustainable transport sector, I also have experience in community engagement and public consultation. My particular interests are in walking, cycling and inclusive accessibility. A Neighbourhood Plan has the opportunity to help create community spaces, strengthen community bonds, invest in public realm and it gives the community a chance to shape its future. I would be really keen to be involved in such an exciting project that has the power to change so much

Sarah Roth (Islington resident)

Jonathan Ward (Islington Resident)

I am a local resident, primary school governor, building engineer and sustainability consultant. I would be pleased to help shape our local planning policy to improve our local environment for all, while reducing our impact on the global environment. I am particularly interested in greening our public realm, improving the efficiency of our buildings, and helping to strengthen our local communities

Next Public Forum Meeting Tues. Nov. 16th

There will be a full meeting of the Finsbury Park + Stroud Green Neighbourhood Forum
on Tuesday 16th November via Zoom at 7pm

The link will be sent out to members just before the meeting.

We must elect/re-elect the Forum Officers and Steering Group members at this meeting. Elections will use a polling facility available on Zoom. Please submit nominations (seconded by a forum member) to the secretary by Friday 22nd October.

Nominations should be accompanied by a short personal statement from the nominee.

Officer Posts:

  • Chair
  • Treasurer
  • Membership Secretary
  • Secretary/Vice chair
  • Steering Group Members

Officers can be re-elected should they wish to stand.

The steering group has no more than 15 members. Of these three are elected official members, one from each borough. There are up to 4 members from each borough. Steering Group members can be re-elected should they wish to stand. Details of officer and steering group responsibilities and the present members of the steering group are on our website ( as are the election procedures we established in 2019. These are also available on request from the secretary.

The pandemic has seriously affected our progress particularly with consultation with the communities in our Neighbourhood Area. A great deal of consultation now needs to be done and we need a full steering group and co-opted members to tackle this.

Please attend! It will be very informative and since our quorum is 37, we need at least this number of members to attend to make the elections valid!

Parks and Overshadowing – a petition for London Plan petition – six hours’ sunlight for parks, playgrounds and wildlife

Currently the London Plan only affords 2 hours minimum.

Shallow Focus Photography of Gray and Orange Bird (could be a robin!) - Pixabay

The NLA London Boroughs Report 2021 has been published

London Boroughs Report 2021 website download link

First impressions – after a brief look at other pages, I went straight to the Area Index. My quick observations:

  • Islington – map p76 – shows growth areas and our Town Centre – no projects in the borough are listed
  • interestingly they don’t identify Andover’s masterplan
  • Haringey – map p61 – doesn’t identify our Town Centre or the Park as Metropolitan Open Land (as I far as I could determine)
  • Hackey – map p55 – doesn’t include our Town Centre – includes King’s Crescent Estate as a project.

The Planning White Paper

Few will have missed the publication of the Government’s white paper ” Planning for the Future”. The consultation remains open until 29th October and anyone can have their say. It suggests sweeping reforms of the planning system that would, among other things, remove the right individuals have now to comment on specific planning applications. Consultation would be at the level of commenting on reformed Local Plans that will designate areas for “growth”, “renewal”, and “protection”. It would be much easier for a developer to secure planning permission for a development in a growth or renewal area than at present. Design codes would be set in the Local Plan. These are to be streamlined and will not have policy statements – just area designations and design codes.

The White Paper is significantly short on detail and filled with jargon and lots of waffle. It can be viewed (and downloaded) from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government web page (

The Steering Group are preparing comments on it and we welcome comments from members of the Forum. The deadline for comments is 29th October: we would need to receive your comments by 26th October when the Steering Group will meet to approve our response.

Neighbourhood Plans are mentioned in the document but it is rather vague how they fit in and whether it would reduce their scope. It is possible that we would not be able to put forward sites for future development (“site designations”) and may have no influence on designating areas for growth, redevelopment and protection. It is all opaque! We have been urged not to pause plan preparation as implementing such changes is likely to be a very slow process despite the “this parliament” ambitions of the white paper.

Many other parties are commenting. The Woodland Trust see it as reducing protection for Ancient Woodlands and for trees in general (see Private Eye have pointed out that it makes no mention of designing accessible homes for disabled people. RIBA have concerns ( The more comments the better!

Islington Council and fashion co-operative launch innovative, ethical fashion store

Outside the FC Designer Collective store,(from left) Boaz Otudeko, Sarah Hill, Cllr Asima Shaikh, Fashion-Enter CEO Jenny Holloway and Tricia Blake

A retail experience like no other opened its doors today in Finsbury Park – the product of Islington Council’s commitment to creating an economy that works with and for local people, building a better Islington in the face of the current global pandemic…. follow the link to the Islington BC website.

Forum work during the pandemic

These are indeed “interesting times” : Covid 19 has made everything very difficult and often stressful. The Steering Group and Officers of the Neighbourhood Forum have been doing as much as they can online and are looking forward to the days when we can speak to residents properly.

         The Steering Group managed a single proper meeting on 11th March before lockdown guidance and regulations came in. After that meetings have been via Skype or Zoom. We have had 3 virtual meetings and 4 subgroup meetings. Many of us have attended other virtual meetings related to the work of the Forum. The Forum has been represented at the Town Centre Management Group virtual meetings. We made a formal objection to an application for an “amusement arcade” in Fonthill Road. The application was refused although there may be an appeal. There is a supplemental planning application for the Andover Estate. Members of the Steering group felt that the some aspects could be improved in terms of energy efficiency and reduction of CO2 emissions.

            The Steering Group can set up subgroups for specific tasks and can recruit other forum members to work on aspects of researching and generating the plan. We welcome volunteers!!

At the moment we have two Subgroups: Engagement and Planning. (Additionally we have a Communications and IT task force “COMS/IT that looks after the technical side of things, and a Planning subsubgroup on Transport.) These have proved an effective way of focusing on one stream of work at a time….

            Clearly Planning must be informed by Engagement and vice versa. Planning is looking after the research necessary to creating our plan. 

            As the name suggests Engagement is concerned with engaging with those who have an interest in  the neighbourhood area. 

It is really important to find out what all of the communities that make up Finsbury Park and Stroud Green think about their localities and want to see in the future: the business and retail communities, those who rent, owner occupiers, those in the small and large estates as well as those who live in conservation areas. Neighbourhood planning is not a very sexy topic and it is hard to get people interested. Some of the problems in the area can be directly addressed in a neighbourhood plan but other matters are more peripheral and we may, together, perhaps be able to aspire, influence and encourage change.

Lockdown has not been fun but many have appreciated the reduction in traffic and traffic noise and the cleaner air. The vital importance of green spaces, large and small, has become very clear. We hope that a new way will evolve that will keep and enhance these benefits. A greater community spirit has developed spearheaded by the many mutual aid groups that sprang up quickly and that have done such excellent work. We hope this community spirit will continue and we are making contact with mutual aid groups.

            We are stronger together – to make things happen, the Neighbourhood Forum needs more members! Suggestions for ways to recruit more people are always wanted. Your suggestions about ways we can engage with the communities in Finsbury Park and Stroud Green are needed: help us  to think outside the box!