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No. 28  September 2020
What do the planning reforms mean for neighbourhood planners in London? 

Join our "virtual gathering" on September 30th
The Government has announced far reaching planning reforms but what do they mean for neighbourhood planning? Opinions vary. Some commentators see the relegation of neighbourhood plans to preparing design codes while others see a step change in community engagement with neighbourhood plans playing a much stronger role in defining the locations for development and engaging local people.

Find out more and share your views at our virtual gathering on September 30th (6-7.30pm). This will also shape any response from Neighbourhood Planners.London to the Government's proposals.

You can register free for the virtual gathering here or below.

Please let us know if you would like a two minute slot to give your opinion and/or whether you have any questions or issues you want to raise in advance.

Places are limited to the first 100 registrations. 
Planning reforms herald major changes - The Government's planning reforms have provoked unparalleled debate and divided opinion. There are precious few references to neighbourhood planning beyond being heralded as a lead force in democratising and localising planning, playing "a crucial role in producing required design guides and codes to provide certainty and reflect local character and preferences about the form and appearance of development", and that they "should be retained in the reformed planning system, but we will want to consider whether their content should become more focused to
reflect our proposals for Local Plans, as well as the opportunities which digital tools and data offer to support their development and improve accessibility for users. By making it easier to develop Neighbourhood Plans we wish to encourage their continued use and indeed to help spread their use further, particularly in towns and cities. We are also interested in whether there is scope to extend and adapt the concept so that very small areas – such as individual streets – can set their own rules for the form of development which they are happy to see
". Find out more in the Planning for the Future White Paper. 
Mayor Khan responds to neighbourhood planning report - The Mayor's response to the GLA Planning Committee's helpful report on neighbourhood planning has been published. Neighbourhood Planners.London gave extensive evidence to the Committee which also heard direct from a wide range of forums. The response does little to dispel concerns that the Mayor and his officers have not yet grasped the opportunities for neighbourhood planning to support delivery of the London Plan, support Good Growth and engage communities. It also shelters behind the Mayor's view that he deals only in strategic planning issues and it is for others to support neighbourhood planning - "As a strategic planning authority, the GLA must focus on spatial development issues that are of a strategic priority for London as a whole....Neighbourhood Forums should be supported by local authorities and appropriately funded by the Government to ensure that they can continue to make an important contribution to shaping growth in their local areas, building on the knowledge, insight and expertise of London’s communities". A symposium is promised and we will continue to engage with City Hall on the positive contribution neighbourhood planning is making.
Sydenham Hill Ridge - Congratulations to Sydenham Hill Ridge which has been officially designated as a new neighbourhood area and forum by Lewisham. It crosses the borough boundary and includes parts of Southwark. Interestingly the boundary of the designated neighbourhood area has been agreed with Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood which continues to make the case for a neighbourhood area spanning five different London boroughs.
Progress on plans - Neighbourhood planning continues to make progress across the capital.  Grove Park, Kennington, Oval & Vauxhall and Fitzrovia West have submitted their plans and Spitalfields is out for public consultation. There is emerging interest in Harrow, Wimbledon and the Lower Wandle Valley. Let us have your news.
Boost to Government grants and support - The basic grant available to neighbourhood forums under the Government's neighbourhood planning support programme has been increased to £18,000 from £9,000 and forums can access all the technical support packages which are available. Find out more from the website.
Overhaul of Use Classes  - Major changes to the Use Classes Order came into effect on 1 September. These include combining multiple town centre uses (including offices and shops) into a single Use Class, creating a new community use class (including small shops) and removing hot food take aways and pubs and bars from any Use Class.  A useful blog explaining the changes and some of their implications is here.
What's happening with CIL - Significant funds are now coming through the Community Infrastructure Levy where it has been introduced across the majority of London. While neighbourhood forums do not have the same direct control over its use as parish councils there is a variety of approaches being taken. One example is Westminster where with over £10m still available for local spending there is significant interest and this map based tracker provides a record of what's being spent where. The whole future of CIL is now being rethought as part of the wider planning reforms.
RTPI North West neighbourhood plan event - The Royal Town Planning Institute is running a webinar on "Why do some neighbourhood plan groups struggle to produce a plan" - it is free and anyone can participate. Register here for 7 October (4-5pm) to join in the discussion.
Our latest blogs - There are two new Neighbourhood Planners.London blogs since our last Bulletin. You can read Henry Peterson's book review of The Power of Neighbourhood Planning and Professor Gavin Parker's What is neighbourhood planning without volunteers? blog.
Green spaces and trees - New data sets and interactive mapping applications of potential use to neighbourhood planners are regularly becoming available. These include a new analysis by Friends of the Earth showing areas of green space deprivation and GLA maps showing individual trees (and species) and the extent of the tree canopy across the capital. They're beautiful too. Public Health England has also just published a review of the benefits of improving access the green space.
MAP and LIST - View the latest Neighbourhood Planning MAP and LIST with all the recent updates. Check your own area and let us know if anything has changed.

Neighbourhood Planners.London exists to support neighbourhood planners in London and raise the profile of neighbourhood planning in the capital.  Support us by offering your time or making a donation. You can find out more on our website, contact us by email or get involved on twitter using the links above.
This Bulletin is produced by Tony Burton on behalf of Neighbourhood Planners.London - we welcome feedback and please let us know of any errors

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