Roman Road Trust held its first General Meeting this week, to update the community on current projects and launch its new voting membership. Membership offers a great opportunity for people in the community to lend their voice to Roman Road Trust, and help steer on what projects should be undertaken. [Find out more about becoming a member here]
During the meeting, Roman Road Trust board members presented updates on projects the group is currently involved in.
Civic Engagement Director Irene de Lorenzis spoke about the project to develop a team of ‘place experts’ from key organisations in the Roman Road area – such as schools and faith groups – in order to ensure that the trust is meeting the needs of all corners of the local community. This group will meet quarterly, to give input on RRT projects.
Director of Architecture and Public Realm Eddie Blake spoke about the Roman Road Trust engagement with local planning applications, and commitment to supporting or objecting where appropriate, mentioning the recent objection to Shoe World being turned into flats, and the support of an A3 licence for Table des Saveurs.
Director of Planning and Development Sarah Allen sits on both the RRT board and the Neighbourhood Plan committee. She spoke about the Neighbourhood Plan project, which provides an opportunity to take a more strategic approach to planning and development. This is a long and formal process which is currently only a quarter of the way through, but so far the boundary for the plan and the forum have been successfully approved. The next few months will focus on a series of consultations to try and engage people about what the focus of the plan should be.
Commercial Director Nick Morgan spoke about the program of community events, which have always been at he heart of RRT. These events are very resource heavy, however, and therefore RRT needs to carefully consider which will be the most beneficial in terms of growing footfall and developing the profile of the road. This year the hugely popular Christmas market will be returning, on the 16th December.
Community events have also provided an opportunity to trial the use of different areas of public realm on the road. This process identified that the carpark on Roman Road East has huge potential as a community space, and it is now envisaged by the Trust as a ‘Common’ for Roman Road. This area also houses the Roman Road Common Room (formerly the Interact Hub), and one long term ambition of the Trust is for it to become a CLT. There is currently a GLA bid underway for a feasibility study to explore this.
Tabitha Stapely and Neba Sere spoke about the Globe Town project. Following the success of projects on Roman Road East, the council approached the Trust with an offer of funding to expand this work into Roman Road West. So far, this has involved a series of workshops (with more to come) aiming to help the community of Roman Road West define their own needs and vision for the area.
A workshop on Community Infrastructure was held in which participants were asked three questions: i) what existing community infrastructure on Roman Road do they value? ii) what community infrastructure is missing? iii) what community infrastructure is the highest priority for improving Roman Road?
Participants expressed the market, Post Office, St Pauls Old Ford, Idea Store, and the playground as important points of community infrastructure in the area. Notably, when asked what is missing, many responses expressed the need to develop the evening economy as well as event spaces and green spaces & trees. Following from this, participants prioritised the evening economy as the area of community infrastructure requiring most urgent development.
New members present at the meeting also got their first opportunity to cast their vote, as the Trusts revised articles of association were approved. These revisions included extending the trusts area of activity to incorporate Roman Road West, and an updated company objective to reflect the Trusts focus on community – as well as economic – development.