Thirty Forum members met in two workshop groups on 28 September to begin to get to grips with writing a neighbourhood plan.
Led by Angela Koch from Imagine Places, we were given a brief presentation of the results of the Soho Survey 2016 (full details will available soon). Then work began on some of the issues supported in the survey.
Most lovers of the area have strong views about what they would like to change or to keep in Soho. Angela directed us to the important question of which of these things could be the subject of specific planning policy, as many of our aspirations could not be achieved by this means. (That doesn’t mean the Forum can’t respond to these aspirations, just that they are not appropriate subjects for a plan.)
Then we learned about the importance of data. Any policy in our neighbourhood plan must be supported by evidence to show why and how it will make a difference. The starting point is Soho as it is now, and we discovered that while a great deal of information is available from a variety of sources, it needs to be sifted through to find what is relevant. There may also be some gaps we need to fill.
There was some lively discussion, and work began to fill out the introductory section to the draft plan. However, this was just a beginning.
The process which was started at the workshops will continue in the autumn through new Policy Development Teams. More information about these coming soon!
(The Forum is grateful to Shaftesbury plc for generously providing a venue for the Facts and Figures Day at one of their Carnaby Street properties.)