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Area Forum / Neighbourhood Forum - Local Plan - Power to the People

I went to a packed meeting on Tuesday of the Crouch End, Hornsey and Stroud Green Area Forum and Committee.

Packed in every sense of the word in that there were a great many people there (members of the public outnumbered presenters and officers of the council) and in that the agenda ran non-stop with no breaks and covered a great many topics.

One of the topics covered was the development of an Area Plan. Sorry, I can't tell you what an Area Plan is exactly, what areas it will cover, what powers it will give the forum/committee to do things (or prevent things being done), or what funds it will have at its disposal. The reason I can't tell you is that the Forum/Committee doesn't really know yet. I suspect the limits of the plan, and the powers and responsibilities embodied in it will only become clear as it attempts to exercise powers.

There was a brief Haringey website consultation on what we, the public think are priorities, for inclusion in such a plan, but that was only an attempt to define priorities not to decide upon any courses of action. The next step in determining courses of action is to hold a public meeting and to form a working of members of the public to come up with an action plan. The first meeting, to be attended by invitation only, has been scheduled for 7th February at 4:30 in the Union Church.

Some of the suggestions for inclusion in the plan included:

  • Introduce a bye law relating to the presence of the charity collectors around the Crouch End Clock Tower area, either to prevent their carrying on their activities there at all / make it much easier for them to gather charitable subscriptions (delete as appropriate)
  • make damn sure that CE, H and SG are well represented in bids for moneys arising from such funds as the Mayor's Outer London Fund - all three areas have missed out entirely in recent rounds, where Harringay and Muswell Hill have both received substantial funds.

I wonder how this ties in to the Localism Bill, some aspects of which will be implemented from April this year, one of the aspects of which is called 'neighbourhood planning' under which local people have the right to draw up their own local plans. This pdf has a synopsis of the Localism Bill as its second half. It gives me cause to wonder if the "Area Forum" is the same thing as a "Neighbourhood Forum" as defined in the Localism Bill, and if it is does that give the Area Forum more powers? or if it is not then should it be reconstituted to be.?

Tags: Area Forum, Local Plan, Neighbourhood Forum, Power to the People, localism

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Replies to This Discussion

I've just read this localgov.co.ukarticle on a PPP in Clapham. PPP is a public private partnership - which it strikes me we have the makings of in this proposed working group (see above). 

The Clapham scheme is very ambitious and involves the borough putting resources into the scheme to provide a library and council office space. This sort of investment is perhaps unlikely in Crouch End (I write about CE because that is what I know - Stroud Green and Hornsey should not be excluded) - Haringey has systematically denuded the area of almost all council facilities in favour of housing - but there are facilities in CE in public ownership which might be the target of our attentions. Park Road Pool is much loved. The lido is hugely popular and generally has its opening periods extended, but it is also much derided for the poor quality of some of the ancillary facilities and the quality of its refurbishment.

The polyclinic was I think closed down - presumably it is now under used. 

Hornsey Town Hall is currently undergoing a refurbishment (admittedly work has yet to start) using largely public money but private entrepreneurial skills.

All these buildings could form part of a coherent area plan.

Another article from localgov.co.uk - this time about the 2012 legacy - pointing out the importance of parksand  how important community facilities are to people’s participation in sport and fitness and therefore what a key role they will play in establishing the legacy from London 2012.

The area plan should definitely contain a section on this legacy

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