The Neighbourhood Plan
The neighbourhood plan is at the very centre of most of what the forum will be doing in the next phase of its existence. The production of this plan is a major task. It must encompass what Crouch Enders think and yet comply with national legislation. It must set out a vision for Crouch End which matches the ambitions of the area, and yet fit within the goals and constraints set by Haringey. It must be sufficiently tightly drawn to pass the scrutiny of planning experts yet sufficiently visionary to influence our neighbours and our planning masters.
No simple task.
As a first approximation the Forum will look at the plan under four very broad headings. We should, though, expect the unexpected, and rid ourselves of pre-conceptions. Our watchword is consultation. It is very probable that many of the ideas bubbling around in the heads of members will be substantially revised as work progresses. Watch this page for updates, on roughly a six month cycle.
Our six very broad headings are
- Design and character – design, conservation & heritage, public realm, accessibility, development design, shopfronts.
- Housing – housing supply, mix & quality.
- Environment – environmental sustainability, nature conservation, green & open spaces.
- Transport – traffic, public transport, parking, cycling, walking, getting around.
- Economy – economic activity, employment, shopping, town centres, leisure, art & culture, regeneration.
- Social and community – public infrastructure, health, education, child care, public houses, cultural facilities.
Consultation sits at the heart of what the Forum is trying to do. There is no value whatsoever in a self appointed clique of local busy bodies attempting to dictate to the majority what it is they should want. So the Forum asks questions of the community. The success of this approach is demonstrated by the approval granted to the Forum by Haringey. The self appointed clique would not have gained approval.
A key engagement with the community comes at the Inaugural General Meeting on February 7th 2016. At this meeting an Executive Committee will be appointed, in the full, harsh glare of the public. This meeting has been widely publicised on the internet and by means of printed cards handed out around Crouch End. During the meeting further consultation will take place in the form of a workshop.
Based on the feedback here yet more will be done, perhaps by means of online questionnaires, by the use of questionnaires in the Town Hall Square at weekends and during events such as the festival. Our mail shots (by email) will point to items on which we need feedback, and at some stage there will be a mass leafletting exercise to all households in the area. Our ultimate consultation will be on our finalised plan which will be put to a local referendum for approval.
Now that the Forum has been recognised by Haringey we have two major priorities.
By far and away the more important is to produce a Neighbourhood Plan. It is to create this that we are embarking on a programme of consultation with immediate effect. Completing the consultation on this Plan is our goal for 2016.
Secondly, we recognise that in the meantime that things will happen, so we have set up a Current Issues Group to look at questions that may arise, that are both urgent and important.
The Forum began in October 2014 at a meeting in a pub. It has taken just over 12 months to get to the stage where the Forum is formally and officially recognised by the London Borough of Haringey. This is not a bad rate of progress. In order to achieve this the volunteers have done a number of things:
- we have maintained a very good level of contact with Haringey, who in return offer us advice and support – this is a healthy relationship
- we have developed channels of communication – a website, Facebook and Twitter presences, an email circulation list of over 500, numerous face to face contacts in workshops, at public events and on walkabouts – we believe we have a healthy relationship with our public
- we have applied for and been granted public funds – the application process is properly onerous to ensure that proposed uses are appropriate, and the subsequent accounting for expenditure is detailed, but we have complied with the rigours and have now been granted a second round of funding – we believe that we have a healthy relationship with the central government funding body
- we have learned a lot about what Crouch Enders think about Crouch End, through our consultation process – we believe we have a healthy relationship with the way Crouch Enders think
- we have made and maintained contact with Neighbouring Neighbourhoods and plan to foster these relationships further
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