A series of well-attended meetings have been held, bringing together residents, developers, council officers and businesses. Ideas and draft policy positions for planning and land use have been recorded, with calls for an end to years of neglect.
The ‘Retail Heart’ of Norwood (the Iceland to B&Q side of Norwood Road) was considered on 28 November 2017. The need for inward investment is agreed but the problem of ‘site assembly’ with several owners involved, requires a more pro-active approach and possibly a ‘neighbourhood development order’. A public meeting on ‘Our Kind of Town’ on 25 April 2018, pooled local initiatives and aspirations for Norwood as the basis for a genuinely bottom-up vision for Norwood. Following a walk-about and ‘collaborative design’ workshop on 18 May comments and concerns were collected for the Cultural Heart (around St Luke’s) and the Industrial Heart of Norwood. Using the Council’s recent planning ‘Manual’ as an evidence base, it is intended that NPA and the Station to Station business group jointly develop a land use plan for Norwood’s industrial district.
All three meetings indicated a desire that the Norwood Planning Assembly should be the catalyst for change. A Neighbourhood Plan will give Norwood people and businesses the power to decide the shape of the town and its land use, and this will bind developers and the council. Progress is slow and still relies heavily on volunteers, so NPA will be seeking new funding to pay for specialist assistance.