The Roman Road Bow Neighbourhood Forum, which was founded in February 2016, is a project that fosters community involvement as a way to mould a better future for our neighbourhood. The forefront of their mission is to protect local heritage, promote the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of Bow and present a unique opportunity to build a neighbourhood plan for the area constructed by the local community – rather than local authority.
The Neighbourhood Plan was adopted in October 2022 after seven years of work to agree the plan area, gather and analyse evidence, research policy areas and write a neighbourhood plan. A local referendum was held in October 2022 to approve the Neighbourhood Plan. The turnout was low (12.28%) but 70% (1,743) of those who did vote supported it.
Due to neighbourhood planning regulations set up under the 2011 Localism Act, Neighbourhood Forums have a five-year life. The Roman Road Neighbourhood Forum’s five years ended in August 2022. Consequently, they submitted a new application to the Council. The decision-making procedure had, however, been postponed until November. The 13-week deadline passed with no decision from the Council.
Despite the Forum’s efforts to contact the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, no response was received. This prompted a Bow Council councillor to submit a written request to enquire about the missed statutory deadline and the Council’s commitment to the Neighbourhood Plan.
The Forum then received a response from the Mayor that expressed concern about limited engagement of residents and emphasised the need for a more diverse Forum. The Mayor also sought additional legal advice on the regulations regarding the designation of a Neighbourhood Forum. The Forum believes they have met all legal requirements for the application, including obtaining the necessary 21 residents’ names. The decision on their application was finally made at a cabinet meeting on 21st June 2023, and the council has refused formal recognition of the Forum due to the membership and committee lacking diversity.
However, the Mayor has agreed to help the Forum address the issue of lack of representation and diversity. The Roman Road Bow Neighbourhood Forum are now encouraging people to join their Forum and are inviting you to attend their Annual General Meeting being held on Saturday, 15th of July 12-1pm. The Forum welcomes and would benefit from an increase in diversity, and can provide a supportive setting for anyone new to planning. Your support and engagement would be greatly appreciated as the Neighbourhood Forum navigates this process and strives to make a positive impact on our cherished community.
Annual General Meeting:
Date: Saturday 15th July 2023
Time: 12pm – 1pm
Location: Bow Idea Store, Lab 3, Gladstone Place, Roman Road Bow, E3 5ES.
For more information about the Roman Road Bow Neighbourhood Forum and to join the Forum please visit their website.