Following Lewisham Council’s decision not to renew Deptford Neighbourhood Action’s (DNA) designation as the body responsible for neighbourhood planning in the area in October 2021, Lorraine Hart has been given a brief to try and bring together community groups in Deptford, Evelyn and New Cross to establish how people would like to influence Developments in the DNA Neighbourhood Plan Area. (see link to brief here)
Lorraine is independent of the Council and a charted Town Planner. This work is being funded by Locality – a non-profit organisation that specialises in supporting community groups. While some in the community disagreed with the decision not to re-designate Deptford Neighbourhood Action, it also received support from some local groups and individuals. Given the decision, a new way forward needs to be found to help people in Deptford, Evelyn and New Cross influence planning in their area.
The role of planning in Deptford, Evelyn and New Cross is essentially the policies and decisions made by Lewisham Council with regards to the approving or refusing of planning applications for changes to land and buildings in the area. DNA know that Local people in any area often have strong views about this and over 190 of you took part in the DNA consultation on our draft neighbourhood plan policies. 99% of which were also supported by Lewisham Council Planners!
DNA feel that some of the objections to our re-designation were purely political, and some of the objections were also not objections about the Neighbourhood Plan but caused by misunderstandings of how the policies would affect certain areas – e.g. within the small part of Brockley ward, contained within the DNA Neighbourhood Plan Area for example; some objections may have been because our consultation asked people how they would like to see the community Developer contributions (called CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) used. Some groups were keen to get their projects funded and may have (wrongly) perceived the Plan as a threat to this.
The only way to ensure that Local voices are taken into account in planning is to have a Neighbourhood Plan – this is the only legal route to ensuring that the community will be heard and listened to in local planning issues. For this to happen the Neighbourhood Forum needs to be re-designated so that the Reg 16 (final Neighbourhood Plan) can be submitted to the Council and then to an Independent Planning Inspector and then to a PUBLIC REFERENDUM. If the Plan gets 51%+ support at the Public Referendum it becomes Planning Law for the DNA Designated area and all developments will have to comply with the policies such as Child Friendly Planning etc.
If you would like to take part in this discussion please contact Lorraine at: firstname.lastname@example.org