The Localism Act 2011, Section 61G (1) (a) on the meaning of “neighbourhood area” states that a relevant body has to apply to the local authority for an area specified in the application to be designated as a neighbourhood area.
The Roman Road Neighbourhood Forum is a prospective forum, and is a relevant body under this Act capable of designation. An application for forum designation will be submitted to Tower Hamlets Council, in accordance with recent local authority guidance, as it meets the following conditions of the 2011 Act
1. Agreed name
The proposed neighbourhood forum has an agreed name, ‘The Roman Road Neighbourhood Forum’
2. Written constitution
The forum has a written constitution;
3. Agreed map
The name of the neighbourhood area to which the application relates has an agreed name, ‘The Roman Road Neighbourhood Plan Area’, and a map is provided which identifies the area;
4. Two members of Forum made public
The contact details of two members of the proposed neighbourhood forum are made public through this application, in accordance with regulations 9 and 10
5. Supporting statement provided
A statement explaining how the proposed neighbourhood forum meets the conditions contained in section 61F (5) of the1990 Act will be included in the forum application.
We also confirm here that the following four conditions of The Town and Country Planning Act (1990) are met by the forum:
a) It is established to promote or improve the Iocal, economic and environmental well-being of its Neighbourhood Planning Area.
b) It has a membership open to everyone who lives in, works in or represents the area as an elected member.
c) Its membership includes a minimum of 21 people, each of whom lives in, works in or represents the area as an elected member.
c) It has a written constitution.
6. Support from local stakeholders
The Forum has been set up and funded by the Roman Road Trust C.I.C. Roman Road Trust (RRT) is an economic and community development organisation that has been running since 2013 and incorporated as a not-for-profit Community Interest Company since November 2014.
Roman Road Trust was set up following a consultation of the community where 300 local residents and businesses attended a workshop to contribute to a vision for the local area.
Over the last three or four years the Roman Road Trust has delivered many initiatives for the benefit of the community including regular community events (the most recent event attracted 12,000 people); dozens of petitions objecting to developments that threaten the health of the high street; digital marketing platforms that promote the high street and local businesses; and community cohesion initiates including the community market Roman Road Yard Market, business consultations and a digital camp to help train local businesses in digital skills.
Roman Road Trust now has a mailing list of over 1000, including 200 local businesses. Roman Road Trust publishes the local ‘high street’ website www.romanroadlondon.com which attracts 4,000 to 6,000 unique users per month. Roman Road Trust also managers five social media platforms that collectively have 10,000 followers.
Roman Road Trust consists of a Board of seven directors, two of which are members of the Forum’s steering committee. One of these Directors is Torange Khonsari, architecture tutor at Cass School of Archicture. Khonsari undergraduate students are studying Roman Road over the next year and will be working closely with local community groups to get their involvement in the Forum. Another Director on the Forum’s steering committee is Sarah Allan. Allan is a member of Hackney Council’s design review panel, a Design Council Cabe Built Environment Expert and a committee member for the National Community Land Trust Network funding panel. In this way, the Roman Road Trust will be able to continue to steer and support the Forum.
Tabitha Stapely is also on the Forum’s steering committee. Stapely founded the Roman Road Trust, was Chair and is now currently CEO of the Roman Road Trust. Stapely now works in an executive capacity for Roman Road Trust working on a programme of economic and community cohesion project.
The Forum will also be able to draw on the Roman Road Trust’s existing large membership. The close connection between the two groups means the Forum can use the digital platforms and attend the well-publicised local community events to reach out to local residents and get them involved in the Forum.