Statement from John Langley, Chair.
Many local residents in the Lambeth part of the neighbourhood have been contacted with an invitation to be involved in something called a CLIP – Lambeth’s ‘Cooperative Local Investment Plan’. Lambeth have drawn boundaries across the borough and are asking the people within that area what their priorities are locally. This exercise is to determine how the proceeds from building developments (known as Community Infrastructure Levy) should be spent.
For those who have been involved with the writing of the neighbourhood plan over the last few years, this will sound familiar. SoWN have already carried out just such an exercise, organising walks, debates, dances, a stall on Lower Marsh Market and written and online questionnaires. The responses we received helped us develop the six themes in the neighbourhood plan and the local vision and policies which flowed from that. It has been an open and democratic process in which thousands of people participated across four years. Now the plan – your vision for the way the area develops in the next 15 years – is finally finished.
So you may be asking why Lambeth Council is re-running this same exercise.
A phenomenal amount of volunteer hours have been put in to the neighbourhood plan by local people and it is disappointing that Lambeth does not acknowledge this in its CLIP paperwork. Indeed, many of the people that participated in SoWN’s neighbourhood planning would have been potential respondees to the CLIPs process. But members of the SoWN steering group have been contacted by locals who are concerned that the CLIP is an attempt to undermine a community-led exercise in favour of a council-led one, and will either refuse to participate, or direct the council to the South Bank and Waterloo Neighbourhood Plan as the locally-endorsed vision.
The Council should both welcome the Neighbourhood Plan, representing as it does the work of people who give up their time to make the area a better place for everyone, and enter into a dialogue with SoWN about how locals can have a formal say in how development should be planned and CIL spent.
Those who live and work in the area know better than anyone what needs to change – they suffer the impacts of poor planning, not the Council. They must take the lead on this.