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.