The Forum held it’s second Annual General Meeting on July 5th, with over 60 members attending to hear a progress report on the second year of the Forum’s work from its chair, Matthew Bennett. Members also voted in our new resident member: we are delighted to welcome our new resident member, Farida Dungarwalla and would like to thank all who submitted applications.
The Forum continues to move forward thanks to the voluntary efforts of members who have been involved in the steering group and the working groups and with support provided in various ways by local businesses.
As a reminder, after last year’s AGM we quickly established short weekly progress meetings and we launched our first public consultation to survey community opinion on the core issues for the Soho Neighbourhood Plan to focus on.
The survey told us that Culture & Heritage, the creative industries, scale/style of development, Housing, the Environment, including Air quality were rated the most important issues and we see some differentiation within independent ratings with all housing issues being notably more important for residents, and nighttime economy/entertainment and cycling provision being of more interest to worker/visitor groups
Policy Development Teams Once the Steering Group had received the results of the key issues survey we set up three Policy Development Teams to focus on: Heritage and Commerce, Housing and the Environment. Each group met frequently to gather ideas as to the sorts of policies and aspirations that would need to go into the first draft of the plan.
Aspirations Public Consultation Plan for Soho asked visitors, residents and workers to feedback on our draft aspirations with over 540 responses received many of them with detailed comments.
Looking to the Future We have achieved a lot in the last year and now, with the confidence behind us of two consultation exercises, we will be progressing with drafting the first full version of our plan ensuring it is in general conformity with the National Planning Policy Framework, the Mayor’s London Plan and Westminster’s City Development Plan.
We will start on drafting the first full draft of the plan from July to November this year. This will include getting the views of Westminster Council on the draft plan.
It is only with the help of all the Steering Group and of many volunteers that we have come this far. We would like to say thank you to all involved without whose support we would not have progressed to this point.