Building a Neighbourhood Plan for Bermondsey

Building a Neighbourhood Plan
for Bermondsey
John B. Corey, Jr
ISG Acting Chair
Bermondsey Neighbourhood Forum
The Neighbourhood Plan:
– triggers for action
• Concern following Southwark Council’s
consultation on an SPD for the area
• Recognition of development pressures in the
• Established concerns wishing to preserve
historic nature of Bermondsey Street Area
A community push for action
• A variety of groups and individuals from Bermondsey
came together at a public meeting
• Common concern to preserve the ‘special and
different’ nature of the area
– historic buildings and areas
– the social and economic mix
• Agreed a group would take Neighbourhood Plans
Our area
• Bounded by Borough High Street, Tower
Bridge Road+, New Kent Road and the river
• Includes the London Bridge ‘opportunity area’
and extended to keep neighbouring
residential communities together
• Includes:
major employers (e.g. Guys Hospital, Southwark Council)
riverside office and tourist areas
significant private residential redeveloped areas
large social housing estates
schools and other community facilities
How we are building the plan
• ‘Crowd Sourcing’ of ideas and concepts –
including through traditional public meetings
• Structured engagement of individual
community groups using consultants
• Gap analysis of communities/demographic
sections contributing
• Specific reengagement of ‘missing groups’
• Filtering and balancing – producing final plan
Transparency and accountability
• Significant use of digital media channels
– Facebook page and Twitter news feed
– Using pictures and video to save time writing up
– Recognition of the limitation of a digital-led approach
• Recognition of the value of
face-to-face engagement
– going to groups in their own settings
– Acknowledging weakness of mass-meetings & write-in
Issues for the Forum
• The unrepresentative nature of motivated group
– overwhelmingly professional middle class
– a group with an inherent focus on process
– a predisposition to the top-down formal consultation
model – as used by the council
• The challenges of pre-existing local campaign groups
– limited issues motivate people to be involved
– these groups can dominate public meetings and written
– those not motivated can be alienated and broader ‘softer’
interests can be sidelined or feel excluded
Solving the representation issue
• Specific skills or domain knowledge is needed
– The specialists who get things done
– Local ties are less important than specific skills
• Leadership needs to come from a broad
representative group
– Senior elders, community leaders, special interest
groups in the area
– Local ties are critical plus breath or reach into the
Jigsaw puzzle
• The Representatives Group (RG) sets the tone,
owns the decisions
• The Steering Group (SG) does the work,
implements the decisions and offers expertise
• The Community is the ultimate source of the
wants and needs of the community
Localism does not ignore strategy
• We live and work in a context
– The national, greater London and Southwark
Borough strategy plans plus regulations take
• A neighbourhood plan fits under or within the
strategic plans
• We are talking about planning
– We can aspire & set a tone slightly wider
Where are we today?
DCLG Front Runner Status
Constitution in place; DCLG funds available
Partnered with Southwark Council
Actively engaging with community groups
Reaching outside the community to similar
‘localism groups’ in other areas
• Facebook page, website, multiple documents
capturing progress so far
Active work on-going
• The project plan shows the main streams of
– Communication
– Identifying one or more of the DCLG funded
consulting firms to assist
– Recruiting volunteers and activists to complement
the professionals
– Liaising through Simon Bevan to stay on track
Project Plan
• refer to project plan
– copies to be emailed to those who request one
Taking a first step as
• Do you want to engage as the representative
for your group?
– Yes
– No
• If yes, there are a couple more things to do
If Yes
• The SG has been an interim group with the
sole purpose of jumpstarting the process.
– The SG needs a mandate to continue for 30-60
– As the project evolves, the SG should evolve to
reflect the skills needed. This is a RG decision.
• Once one or more recommended professional
organisations are identified, a decision needs
to be taken to sign an engagement contract
ISG Membership
• refer to profile PDF
– copies to be emailed to those who request one