Residents and businesses developed and voted for the plan

Anyone who lives or works in the neighbourhood can join SoW Neighbours. More than 500 people were involved in the plan, and 91% of residents and businesses voted for it in a referendum.


It began with an ambition to take up the powers of the Localism Act 2011, enabling communities to create neighbourhood plans which have legal force in the planning application process. Ideas came together across workshops, public debates, walking tours, social media, school assemblies, social events and more. At a stall in Lower Marsh Market, a giant map indicated what’s best and worst about living and working here, as well as hopes and dreams for the future. We asked how streets could be designed differently, how developers could help vulnerable people and, against soaring property values, who’s being priced out of the neighbourhood. The answers were whittled down into themes and priorities discussed. Then we produced the plan.

Lengthy discussions with both local councils – Lambeth and Southwark – followed, and finally an independent examiner pored through the detail. Some things were lost along the way. For example, you had wanted stronger commitments on affordable housing and SoW Neighbours deciding how Community Infrastucture Levy from big developments is spent, which the examiner removed. But the plan remains a major step forward.

Ideas became policies...

Click on the themes below to see notes from the consultations which fed into the SoW Neighbourhood Plan

These aspirations were reflected in the examination version of the plan

Consultees responded, then an independent examiner made amendments

...then the policies were put to a referendum

Residents vote

Yes 758 (91.77%)

No 68 (8.23%)

Business vote

Yes 32 (91.43%)

No 3 (8.57%)