Hackney Cabinet rejects Neighbourhood Forums

On Monday 22nd July the Council’s Cabinet meeting voted to reject both of the controversial Neighbourhood Forum applications.  This is principally because the proposals would be damaging to community cohesion in the area.

However Leabridge Conservative Councillor Linda Kelly, who was chair of the rejected Stamford Hill Neighbourhood Forum, has threatened to revive the idea according to East London Lines.

The Council Cabinet went on to agree to establish a Neighbourhood Area. While Planning Watch had serious concerns about the declaration of a Neighbourhood Area, we were reassured by the commitment given to the Cabinet by Councillor Guy Nicholson, that it is the Council’s intention to go further and declare an Area Action Plan.

Under an Area Action Plan, the Council would continue to have democratic control over planning policy in the area, and would, perhaps for the first time, seek to develop an inclusive strategy for addressing the various needs in the area. This could include for example developing a strategic approach for community infrastructure (schools, places of worship, care for the elderly etc.

Planning Watch was not in favour of the declaring of a Neighbourhood Area, but we support the decision to move towards an Area Action Plan.

In short, we have successfully mobilised a community response to prevent planning policy in our area being handed over to an unelected and self-appointed forum that had made clear that it wanted to remove the little protection that current planning policies provided.

This would not have happened without the hard work and commitment of literally thousands of members of our community who spoke out and helped to alert our communities to the threats that were being posed to planning and community cohesion.

Well done to all of us!

What next

Once the Council begins the process of developing an Area Action Plan, we will need to actively engage with it. Hackney Planning Watch will be seeking to encourage maximum engagement from all sections of the community in finding long-term strategic solutions to issues that work for every section of the community. So get your thinking caps on!, More details to follow.

Thanks to everyone who has made helped over the last six months

When we get an opportunity to catch our breath, we will look to bring people together to reflect on this important step forward, and to have a small celebration of what we have achieved so far.

Sainsbury/Wilmer Place development

While the Neighbourhood Forums were undoubtedly the biggest threat to our area, there is still a big campaign to protect Abney Park Cemetery, the Stoke Newington Conservation Area, and the character of Stoke Newington from a massive over-development at Wilmer Place. This coming Saturday the community is coming together at 12.30pm for a ‘bug parade’ a fancy dress inspired event designed to highlight the adverse impact on the biodiversity of the cemetery if the proposed development goes ahead.

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