Welcome to the Grove Park Neighbourhood Forum
The Baring Hall Hotel and Grove Park Town Centre in the early days
Everyone who lives or works in the Neighbourhood Forum area is entitled to become a member and we want as many people as possible to join in our activities, as we try to shape Grove Park’s future. Please email us for more details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Local communities are now entitled to have more of a say in the development of their local area by forming a Neighbourhood Forum and drawing up a Neighbourhood Plan. This plan, under the Localism Act 2011, must be in tune with existing planning rules and will help all of us in the local community to influence the future of Grove Park by choosing what we think is important for the area in terms of buildings, planning, design and environment.
The-designated area of the Forum includes all of Grove Park ward and some small, but important, related areas of Downham and Whitefoot Wards – see the designated area map for details.
The neighbourhood plan has now been submitted to the London Borough of Lewisham. It will now undergo a Reg 16 consultation for a minimum of 6 weeks and then an independent examination by an external planning inspector. This will make sure that the proper legal process has been followed and that the plan meets the basic conditions, including general conformity with strategic local policy.
Following on from this, some minor modifications may be required.
In due course everyone living in the neighbourhood area will be able to vote for the neighbourhood plan through a local referendum. We will post more information about this in due course.
HOW THE NEIGHBOURHOOD FORUM STARTED
In 2011, when developers applied to demolish the historic Baring Hall Pub (built in 1882) in the centre of Grove Park and replace it with a block of flats, many local residents and campaigners came together with the Grove Park Community Group and the campaign successfully saved the pub from demolition.
The process of saving the Baring Hall Hotel highlighted the general absence of an overarching planning policy for Grove Park and the lack of a vision for improving the town centre.
This was greatly exacerbated by the fact that there was a long-running dispute between Network Rail and other bodies over who was responsible for maintaining the deteriorating bridge that supports Baring Road over the railway line.
The Prince’s Foundation
In what was to be the first of a series of community and stakeholder meetings, the Community Group invited The Prince’s Foundation to facilitate a Community Design Workshop in February 2012 for the area around Grove Park station in response to a number of issues:
- Grove Park’s potential to be a thriving local centre
- The quality of the public spaces and provision for pedestrians, people with disabilities and cyclists
- The vacant Baring Hall Hotel and parades of shops
Over 100 people attended and took part in the Workshop.The Design Workshop provided a basis for taking our plans forward which included steps to improve the appearance of the town centre and the setting up of a Neighbourhood Forum. It is the forum which is creating a Neighbourhood Plan that must tie into existing national, regional and local authority planning policies.
Baring Road and Downham Way Public Realm Improvements
The results of the Community Design Workshop enabled us to successfully lobby for the council to apply for £1.2m from TfL and the Community Benefit Fund for significant improvements to the town centre. Lewisham Council were able to then prepare a consultation document called Baring Road and Downham Way Public Realm Improvements which provided a basis for consultation on improving the street scene. Detailed drawings are being drawn up and we are now waiting for their implementation.
Neighbourhood Forum to date
Of course, another key result of the Community Design Workshop was the agreement to begin the process of setting up a Neighbourhood Forum and creating a Neighbourhood Plan and in the summer of 2014 a consultation leaflet went to every home in the area. Basing his decision on the consultation, the Mayor of Lewisham designated Grove Park as both a neighbourhood forum and a neighbourhood area at the Mayor and Cabinet meeting of October 22nd 2014.
For more information on The Neighbourhood Planning process see document: Quick Guide to Neighbourhood Plans