What do you think?
After seven years since the first public meeting was held to discuss the idea of a neighbourhood plan for Bow, the plan called the Roman Road Bow Neighbourhood Plan, has now been formally adopted by Tower Hamlets Council. The Plan now forms part of the borough’s development plan and is a material planning consideration in any applications within the neighbourhood planning area. Here, Mike Mithcell, Treasurer of the Roman Road Bow Neighbourhood Forum which oversaw the development of the Plan, thanks Bow East Councillors for their support.
I’m writing to thank you for your support in getting the neighbourhood plan adopted at last night’s Council meeting.
It will be seven years in February since the first public meeting was held to discuss the idea of a neighbourhood plan for Bow. A 2022 London Assembly report makes sobering reading, showing that in London it takes four years on average between Forum designation to plan adoption.
The Roman Road Bow Neighbourhood Forum was designated in August 2017 and its term expired in August 2022 as designation only lasts 5 years. The Forum submitted a fresh application for re-designation in the summer but was told that it would have to wait until the referendum before the statutory six-week Council consultation could be conducted.
A delay since the referendum means that the consultation will now need to be extended because of Christmas and New Year so will run from 17th November until 12th January. Thankfully, this does not impede the adoption of the plan, but indicates how daunting the process can be for a group embarking on the long process.
The complexity and bureaucracy of the plan-making process help explain why there are so few neighbourhood plans in force in the borough. There is little genuine community involvement in the local planning process. When there is community engagement, sadly this is sometimes divisive, as in the case of Liveable Streets.
There is an absence of local structures and experience of collaborative community engagement drawing on community development principles that exacerbates these tensions. Local groups such as the Roman Road Trust, Roman Road London and local arts groups are refreshing examples who do undertake meaningful community engagement. It is hard work, and many residents are struggling to keep their heads above water at present, so it’s very challenging to develop the diversity and active involvement of a broad cross-section of our community which we would all like to see.
The Forum will keep in contact and remains committed to working with you as our locally elected representatives for the benefit of all who live, work or study in Bow.
Thanks for all you continue to do to serve our neighbourhood at this difficult time.
A community-led Forum to develop a Neighbourhood Plan for Bow, meeting since 2016. Read more…