Wednesday 15 February 2017

Roman Road Bow Neighbourhood Area Gains Designation

A map of Tower Hamlets detailing the area designated as the "Roman Road Bow Neighbourhood"

It's official: The application to designate the Roman Road Bow Neighbourhood Planning Area was approved on the 6th February 2017 by the Mayor in a Mayoral Executive Decision.

Roman Road Bow now joins the five existing areas in the borough designated as Neighbourhood Areas.

(For a short 2 minute video reminder on what this neighbourhood plan thingey is all about see this You Tube video)

A 44-page document details the application, consultation feedback received and the council's response. If you have time to read it then go ahead, but below I have selected some of the paragraphs that relate particularly to MEOTRA. In summary:

Paragraph 1.5: It is now going to be called Roman Road Bow following feedback from MEOTRA residents.
Paragraph 6.18: The council's core strategy calls the area Bow!
Paragraph 6.38: I will contact the council about this - they've got the border wrong (it should include Guardian Angels etc).
Paragraph 6.43: Good the railway line is mentioned. We can now try to include certain issues with the railway in the Plan.
Paragraphs 6.51-6.52: The Council Officers have noted the poor engagement with residents and indicate this must be put straight before proceeding to the next stages (having the Forum designated and then developing the Plan).

During the consultation a number of residents responded with concerns regarding the proposed Area's name (the Roman Road Neighbourhood Area). The concern expressed was that the name was too restrictive and did not represent the full Area proposed. They considered a more appropriate name to be the Bow Neighbourhood Area (a more detailed summary of the consultation responses is provided in Appendix 2). Following the end of the consultation period the Council informed the prospective forum of the consultation responses. The prospective forum considered it appropriate to address these representations and formally
requested that the Council rename the area, the "Roman Road Bow Neighbourhood Area", through the designation process. Officers consider this to be a suitable response to the consultation and considers it appropriate for the Council to rename the Area, as requested, through the designation process.
The specified Area aligns with the place of "Bow" in the Core Strategy, 2010
The Area as applied for only includes part of the Mile End Neighbourhood Centre and excludes the element of the Neighbourhood Centre stretching west beyond the
"green bridge" and on the southern side of Mile End Road. Whilst this does create some incoherence for businesses, the benefits of retaining the hard boundary of Mile End Road and Regent's Canal to provide distinct and clear boundaries, are considered to outweigh concerns about only including some of the Neighbourhood Centre.
An alternative southern natural boundary could have been the railway line which traverses the Area. The application identifies that whilst this was considered as an alternative boundary, there was strong local support for a more southerly boundary, to enable any future Neighbourhood Plan to help overcome any existing barrier to movement created by the railway. It is considered that this is an appropriate rational for not using the railway line as the southern boundary.
Paragraph 6.51 It is considered these objections and concerns, in particular those regarding consultation and engagement, including with local groups raise important concerns and provide useful feedback for the prospective Forum.
Paragraph 6.52 It is the officers' view that the Prospective Forum should engage with residents and these groups further to address these concerns before proceeding with their application to be designated as a Neighbourhood Forum and proceeding with developing a Neighbourhood Plan. This will be critical to ensure successful neighbourhood planning in the Area.

The number and classification of responses to the consultation make for quite pitiful reading. Only 18 responses were received (from a population of around 25,000): there were no letters of support; six neutral responses from statutory bodies such as the National Grid; seven responses defined as "concerned" and five objections.

Support Objection Neutral Concerned No comment Petition Total
0 5 6 7 0 0 18

It is clear that, moving forward, The Forum needs to massively improve communication with all those living and working in the Bow area. 

The next MEOTRA post will outline how, when and where you can get more involved, and yes the emphasis will be on what MEOTRA residents can get out of The Forum.

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