Meetings and events

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.

https://www.islington.media/news/fc-designer-collective-islington-council-and-fashion-co-operative-launch-innovative-ethical-fashion-store-in-grass-roots-economic-revival

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! 

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Next Forum Meeting Thurs Feb 20th 7:30pm with speaker

The next forum meeting will be held on Thursday, 20th February at 7:30pm at the Finsbury Park Trust, 225-229 Seven Sisters’ Road, N4 2DA (2nd Green Door via the bookshop).

We have a full agenda starting with a short talk by Henry Peterson the Chair of the St. Quentin & Woodland Neighbourhood Forum in North Kensington (see http://stqw.org/wordpress/). He will outline the experience and obstacles in the creation of a Neighbourhood Plan and will answer questions. Henry also works with Neighbourhood Planners London.

This will be followed by a short election to fill vacancies remaining in the Steering Group. Names of nominees will be sent to members before the meeting.

Next Forum Meeting Thursday 20th February

The next Forum Meeting will be Thursday 20th February at 7:30pm at

Finsbury Park Trust
225-229 Seven Sisters’ Road,
N4 2DA

Speaker to be confirmed

Full Forum Meeting – Minutes 30th October 2019

Finsbury Park & Stroud Green Neighbourhood Forum

Location: Finsbury Park Trust
19:30

(1) Present 25 members (7 Hackney, 6 Haringey, 12 Islington)

Apologies 4

Linda Royles (Chair)

(2) Note-taker: Hugh White

(3) Presentation by Maggy Mead-King on the Highgate Neighbourhood Forum. Maggie Mead-King was the first Chair of the Highgate NF and is now its Secretary. The Highgate Neighbourhood Forum covers parts of Camden and Haringey. They started in 2013 and had their first draft of the Neighbourhood Plan in 2015. This was revised and the second draft was ready in 2016 when it was submitted to both councils. They asked for some changes and it went for independent examination in 2017. This was followed by the required referendum. After an 88% “yes” vote the Plan was adopted “made” by both councils in 2017. The Highgate Neighbourhood Forum website has a copy of their Plan. Among the reasons they decided to make a Plan were:

  • a wish to be recognized as a community across the borough boundaries
  • to bring a diverse neighbourhood together
  • to protect the area from inappropriate development
  • to encourage development that would enhance the vitality and viability of their commercial core areas
  • to protect their green spaces, large and small.

Their Neighbourhood Area has around 18,000 people in 8,000 households. It is diverse with some very expensive housing, historic and listed buildings and residential estates with some social housing of low standard. Although some parts of their population are “hard to hear” and they fear they still do not represent everyone well they have put a lot of effort into consultation with residents, traders and people in the street. They even canvassed opinion in
local pubs using cards handed out to customers.

Their forum assumes that all people resident in the area are members. A committee is elected at an annual public meeting. They have about 1000 people on their list and some 1500 followers on twitter. They wrote their Plan using 5 working groups involving over 50 people. They did employ a professional planner to do the first draft. This needed a lot of revision and advice (professionals tend to give you what they do and not necessarily what you need). The cost for professional help was around £3000 a time. One of their successes was the Highgate Bowl. This was an area once used by drovers bringing cattle into London. It was tarmacked and derelict. The owners planned a development. The Neighbourhood Plan saw it as a potential open space. The owners became enthusiastic supporters of what is now Omved Gardens. They have been able to influence the spending of Haringey neighbourhood CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy). CIL is a charge on developments intended to pay for the costs the development creates (roads, schools, etc.). Part (25%) of it can be spent in the neighbourhood. In Haringey the
Neighbourhood Forum suggests priorities for spending. (In Camden this part of CIL spending falls to the councillors).

A good take-away message is that creating a Neighbourhood Plan is a long hard slog and it is hard to keep going. It was important to have fun during it! Maggie Mead-King was thanked for her presentation and for taking the
interesting discussion.

(4) Election of Treasurer – Notice of the election and a call for nominations was sent out 21 days before the meeting and a list of candidates sent to members 28th October 2019. Dom Sweetman was elected Treasurer

(5) Election of Steering Group – Notice of the election and a call for nominations was sent out 21 days before the meeting and a list of candidates sent to members 28th October 2019. Hackney residents elected to Steering Group:
(there were 3 nominations for 4 places)

Susie Barson, Edward Farliegh and Elizabeth Lowe were elected. One vacancy remained unfilled.

Haringey resident elected to Steering Group (there was a single nomination for 4 places) Luke Goodger was elected. Three vacancies remain.

Islington residents elected to Steering Group (there were 4 nominations for 4 places) Adam Hardy, Barry Herman, Susan Lowenthal and Dorothy Newton were elected.

(6) The Notes from the Meeting of 14th September 2019 were approved. They were available to members on request.

(7) Any Other Business

(8) Date of the Next Forum Meeting

Meetings must be at least every 4 months. Late February 2020 would be good. The Finsbury Park Trust “Regeneration Conference” was now to be rescheduled to February/March. It seemed best to wait until date announced to avoid having them close together. The date of the next meeting would be set as soon as possible.

(9) To note our THANKS to the Finsbury Park Trust for their support and use of the meeting room.

The election list of nominees follows as a record:

Election of Treasurer
nominee: Dominic Sweetman
seconded by Dorothy Newton
30th October,2019
Hackney Resident
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 havebeen on their committee for many years,
and used to run the web site
too.
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 LoweI have lived in Finsbury Park Road (L.B. Hackney) for ten years; before that I lived in Stroud
Green. I am on the FP&SG Neighbourhood Forum Working Group, the Board of Trustees of
the Finsbury Park Trust and the Management Committee of the Friends of Finsbury Park.
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.
Edward Farliegh
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.
Elizabeth Lowe
seconded by Susan Lowenthal
I am very excited by the creation of the FPSG Neighbourhood Forum and have been a
member of the working group since 2015. I believe that the FPSGNF is key to ensuring that
all 3 councils work together for the benefit of those who live or work within the area.
I have lived in Brownswood Ward for over 40 years and during that time have been involved
in a number of community initiatives. My work as a solicitor within private practice, major
charity, industry and government has given me the experience to work with regulators at all
levels – particularly on environmental issues.
My aim is the creation of a Neighbourhood Plan that will shape and develop the living and
working environment within the FPSGNF area and make it a green, safe and great place to
be.
HARINGEY Residents
Luke Goodger
seconded by Dorothy Newton
Hi, my name is Luke Goodger and, along with my girlfriend Jessica, I’ve recently moved into
Stroud Green – before that I’ve lived in Brownswood and Islington North too.
I’m working as a Project Manager for a music company based in Islington at the moment and
can bring organisational skills, enthusiasm and a ‘get stuck in, get stuff done’ personality to
the steering committee.I’m a big believer on how the built environment (and nature) can affect behaviour, culture and
wellbeing – not least because I love cycling and think everyone should be doing it, but also
how we can create really great living spaces for people in our neighbourhood and ensure
everyone is living happy, healthy and pollution free lives.
Thanks for considering me for the steering committee, I would feel very honoured to help the
community have their voices heard on planning and development of the area.
ISLINGTON Residents
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.
Barry Herman
seconded by Susie Barson
I am a homeowner in Islington N7 and I’m keenly interested in the future direction of the
Finsbury Park area as a whole.
I am a professional photographer, semi retired. I have run my own business successfully
since the 1980’s. In addition I have held part time directorships and company secretary
positions in modest property management companies and a photographic studio.
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 33 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 to enable the FPSGNP area to become a healthy place
where the whole community has cleaner air, green streets and parks, feel safe, and are 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.
28th October 2019

As part of the forum meeting and Steering Group elections this Wednesday 30th October at 7:30pm, Maggy Meade-King has agreed to give us a short talk on how the Highgate Neighbourhood Forum got to grips with constructing its Neighbourhood Plan, its vision and scope. She was the founding Chair of the Highgate Neighbourhood Forum and is now its Secretary.

The Highgate Neighbourhood Forum started in 2012 and their Neighbourhood Plan was approved in 2017. Their area covers parts of Camden and Haringey. Her talk will be very relevant to us and she is prepared to answer questions. Their website is impressive: https://www.forhighgate.org

Next Forum Meeting Wed 30th Oct 7:30PM – Steering Group elections

Our next Forum Meeting will be on Wednesday 30th October 7:30 at the Finsbury Park Trust.

Chief items will be election of Steering Group (and Treasurer).

Volunteers for Steering Group membership welcome!

After this Forum Meetings will be less frequent (probably every 4 months).