Graham Pycock, Vice-Chair of the Norwood Planning Assembly (NPA) has provided the following progress update for the new year.
Referendum target date: 7 May 2020
The NPA is aiming to submit the draft neighbourhood plan to a vote of the 35,000 electors in the designated NPA area on 7 May 2020 (the same date as the London Mayoral election). Lambeth Council is paid by the government to organise this referendum. The area covers most of the Norwood wards of Knights Hill, Thurlow Park and Gipsy Hill. The plan may include one or more “Neighbourhood Development Orders” which cover a collection of sites, usually industrial. Such orders are a radically different approach, granting planning permission by way of the referendum vote. A simple majority is required to approve the draft plan. The “made” statutory Neighbourhood Plan for Norwood, will be equally binding on developers and the council.
Norwood Design Support: the working document
A 94 page working document, called Norwood Design Support, supplies an analysis and options for redevelopment in Norwood. The report results from public workshops, stakeholder meetings and consultations over 2018. The focus is upon Norwood’s “Retail Heart” (around Norwood Road) and the “Business and Cultural Heart” (the large triangle bounded by the old High Street, Chapel Road and Knights Hill). The rationale is for a commercial and jobs revival, inward investment and improved design. There will be an emphasis on policies for build quality and architectural design including housing, with supporting transport, communication and other provisions. The report will be available on the NPA website later this month.
Funding and expertise
NPA is grateful for financial support from the two community groups to which it is accountable: Norwood Action Group and Norwood Forum. Gratitude is also due for anonymous donations from Norwood citizens. Otherwise NPA has received a total of £15,000 grant funding from the government over the four years since it started. Progress has been very slow due to limited funding and reliance on volunteers. Norwood is probably the largest neighbourhood planning area in England with complex urban development problems and an absence of support from Lambeth Council. NPA applied for and obtained technical expertise from consultants called AECOM, who facilitated and produced the Norwood Design Support report. This was funded by the government and further technical support has been requested for 2019.
Vision, options and consultation
NPA volunteers have regularly met local people at Feast market events over three years and attended school, neighbourhood watch and other meetings. Following two public workshops, a vision statement is about to be tested. A further set of workshops will be held to resolve and select from the options and, as before, the Station to Station business group will be consulted, together with land owners, council officials and the wider community. This is Norwood’s chance to shape its own future. NPA is keen to talk in schools, to tenants’ groups, churches, businesses, etc and to Norwood people as a whole. Deciding our own neighbourhood plan is a community right given by the 2011 Localism Act. Producing a well-debated and sound plan for Norwood with popular consent requires a collective effort. Please contact the NPA if you want a volunteer to talk to your group (scroll down to “Have Questions or suggestions?” Section). Otherwise please give your views, respond to consultations and contribute to the draft plan.