In early 2015, DNA grew out of Old Tidemill Garden Friends group; volunteers and community activists who were concerned about future plans to obliterate Tidemill Garden – a unique, community garden which had been created by parents and children of the Old School along with Local residents some two decades previously.
Additionally, the group knew that there were other local residents near the Garden who would like to have more say about planning decisions – so the idea of setting up a Neighbourhood Forum began.
Locality, the organisation responsible for enabling communities to set up Neighbourhood Forums under the Locality Act 2011, provided DNA with a consultant, Angela Koch who helped guide and support our initial consultations to establish an agreed boundary for the Neighbourhood Forum Area; constitution and objectives. The aim of DNA is to encourage, empower and enable local residents, businesses, and workers (both paid and voluntary) as possible to write a Neighbourhood Plan.
Following a six-week consultation by LBL which took place in the autumn of 2015, DNA gained Designation from the Mayor of Lewisham in Early February 2016. A Neighbourhood Plan sits under the Lewisham Local Plan, the London Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework.
In 2016, DNA used funding from Locality to put on consultation events at the Armada Centre; Evelyn Community Centre, and co-hosted a Vietnamese Cultural event at CAC 2000 and held its Inaugural General Meeting (IAGM) in October and established 5 working groups to develop policies in November:
- Local Economy
- Green & Open Spaces (Green Infrastructure
- Health and Well-being (including aspects of transport)
In 2017, the working groups worked on the views gathered from the consultant events to create Neighbourhood Planning policy ideas. We were supported by evidence gathering by UCL students in 2016 & 2017.
Draft policy ideas were circulated and worked upon by Our Consultant to begin to create the first draft of Deptford’s Neighbourhood Plan. This was put up in Deptford Lounge at the time of our AGM in October 2017.
Work on the Neighbourhood Plan is on-going and will likely take until the summer to complete as the National Policy Planning Framework has just been amended and as we know the London Plan is still out for consultation too.
DNA is run by volunteers, of which more are needed to complete the Neighbourhood Plan.
Once complete LBL will again consult local residents on it and it has to go to a local referendum before being passed.