What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
Neighbourhood planning was introduced in 2011 through the Localism Act. Neighbourhood planning allows local residents and businesses to have their own planning policies in a neighbourhood plan that reflect their priorities, deliver tangible local benefits and have real weight in planning decisions.
Tell me more about Neighbourhood Plans
In very simple terms, a neighbourhood plan is:
- A document that sets out planning policies for the neighbourhood area. Planning policies are used to decide whether to approve planning applications
- Written by the local community, the people who know and love the area, rather than the Local Planning Authority
- A powerful tool to ensure the community gets the right types of development, in the right place.
A neighbourhood plan is an important document with real legal force, therefore there are certain formal procedures that it must go through. The role of the Forum and its Steering Committee is to ensure that procedures are carried out to the satisfaction of the approving body (local authority).
Benefits of a Neighbourhood Plan
- It can protect areas from types of change (such as too much of one type of business)
- It can include policies to influence new building design, or alterations to existing buildings
- It can protect or propose the creation of open spaces (allotments, play areas, parks and gardens, and important historic assets)
- It enables the local community to retain more of the money collected from development, to spend on local projects
- It gives us, the residents of the Roman Road Bow area, more say and control over our community
- It enables us to ensure we protect the things we value the most
- It enables us to manage change effectively and ensure they benefit our community
- It allows us to encourage developers to build what we believe our community needs and wants. (such greater numbers of affordable houses, developments more suited to elderly residents)
- It can say where and what type of development should happen (new housing, or for businesses)
Who else is doing this (as at March 2015)?
- 1,437 groups like us have applied to be recognised across the country
- 1,243 groups have been formally recognised by their local Council - this has not happened to us yet
- 225 groups have written a neighbourhood plan
- 130 have had their plans examined by an independent expert & 77 have passed so far
- 68 groups have had referendums, all voted Yes, average Yes vote 88%, average turnout 33%
- 6.1 million people live in a Neighbourhood Plan area
So what things could be included in a Neighbourhood Plan for Roman Road and Bow?
- Improvements to public realm (pavements, squares, pocket parks, underused spaces)
- Traffic and congestion (cycling routes, buses, one-way systems)
- A community building (a multi-use space run by the community for the community)
- Support the high street (fewer betting shops, protecting key services, look and feel, licensing, evening economy, WIFI)
- Preservation and celebration of heritage (East End, Wiley, Suffragettes, industry, protecting traditional housing stock)
- Security (lighting, policing)
- Art and culture (community events, street art, art installations)
- Eco inititiaves (green roofs, vegetable planters, pocket parks)