Deciding what went into the plan involved hundreds of people

This huge democratic exercise is what makes the South Bank & Waterloo Neighbourhood Plan the most comprehensive and authoritative expression of what local people, businesses and organisations want for the South Bank and Waterloo.


Anyone who lives or works in the neighbourhood can join SoW Neighbours, and more than 500 people helped set the boundary, our constitution and to decide what the plan should cover.


It all 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 – as residents and businesses recognised in referendum voting.

How 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

Finally we reached the policies for the referendum

And on Thursday 24 October 2019, 91% of residents and businesses voted YES

Morley Radio interview

Before the examiner’s report, SoW Neighbours Secretary David Clarson was interviewed at Morley College

This interview refers to South Bank & Waterloo Neighbourhood Forum, an alternative term for SoW Neighbours overall not to be confused with the similarly-named South Bank Forum, the regular gathering to discuss local issues funded by SoW Neighbours.

Additional official papers are available on the Lambeth Council website