Neighbourhood planning is a right for communities introduced through the Localism Act 2011. Communities can shape development in their areas through the production of Neighbourhood Development Plans (often referred to simply as Neighbourhood Plans), Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Build Orders.
A Neighbourhood Plan is put together by a Neighbourhood Forum under the Localism Act 2011.
We are the Finsbury Park + Stroud Green Neighbourhood Forum – a group of local residents and workers who care about the future of Finsbury Park + Stroud Green Area, please see the area cover by us (here)
A Neighbourhood Plan forms part of planning policy, tackling issues such as:
• Pollution, trees, wildlife, climate change and the general environment
• Development of the scale, location, design, and height of new buildings
• Affordable housing
• Retail, leisure, business workspace and community facilities
• Transport, Traffic and Connectivity
• Historic environment and heritage
We first came together at the Finsbury Park Regeneration Conference in 2015, where we discovered we shared a common vision:
• to make our neighbourhood a sustainable, liveable and prosperous community
We developed and submitted an application to all three councils and in September 2018, Finsbury Park and Stroud Green could officially celebrate being designated as a Neighbourhood Forum by all three overlapping Local Authorities: Islington, Haringey and Hackney Borough Councils.
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 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.
The most powerful aspect of Neighbourhood Plans is that they are prepared by the local community – bringing together passionate community champions in the process. But this requires community involvement!