The Forum held a successful Annual General Meeting last night, despite competition from other events.
About 60 members gathered to hear a report on the first year of the Forum’s work from from its chair, Matthew Bennett. Although progress had been slower than expected, the Forum is moving forward thanks to the voluntary efforts of members who have been involved in the steering group and the working groups, with support provided in various ways by local businesses. The questionnaire we plan to circulate is the next important step in our public engagement.
There was good discussion about how members could be more involved in the process of making the Plan for Soho and some concerns were raised about the possible influence of developers on the neighbourhood plan. Matthew Bennett emphasised the need for the business and residential communities to work together under the constitution that Westminster Council put in place.
Mike Fauconnier-Bank reported on the Forum’s finances. During the coming year the Forum hopes to appoint a part-time administrator to facilitate its work. Some businesses, including Nimax Theatres, New West End Company and Shaftesbury, have already made donations towards this, but we would like to generate a wider level of support from individual members and businesses. No donation is too small! (See here to give.)
Finally, Michael Case introduced the Plan for Soho Questionnaire. During July and August we will be aiming to get as much feedback as possible on the key issues we should be tackling. The questionnaire is based on responses already given to the Forum and developed by the working groups. Residents, workers and businesses will all be asked what they consider is most important, and there will be an opportunity to add issues that we may have missed.
The questionnaire will soon be available on this website, but we want to get it out to as many people as possible and we will be asking members to help us with this.