The next two years – from plan to reality
PHASE 1 – Becoming a recognised neighbourhood forum
The Group has, over the past two years or so, given considerable thought to the important question ‘What is the Wimbledon neighbourhood?’ It is much more than Wimbledon town centre. A good starting point was a circle of 1 mile radius from the old Wimbledon town hall (now Tesco’s). Following an initial consultation process the border became increasingly defined. We are now in a more comprehensive process of consultation with various bodies, including residents’ associations, people involved in businesses in Wimbledon and various individuals, to refine the border. The group is anticipating completing this consultation by late spring/early summer. We will also register as an incorporated body. We will then seek the approval of Merton Council as the Wimbledon Neighbourhood Planning Forum responsible for preparing a neighbourhood plan for our area. This will provide an opportunity for a further general meeting of our membership.
The work on this has been progressing well and we have been very well received at all the meetings where we have made presentations. However, this form of consultation with residents and business people is very difficult if not impossible in the current circumstances. We cannot risk the health of those who volunteer for us (and we are all volunteers) or those we wish to talk to, by meeting larger groups of people or even individuals about our aims, their planning concerns and their willingness to give us support. In order to make some progress we are now asking for your help. The map here (opens in a new window) shows where we think the border should be. If you find you have time to spare, do look at it and, especially if you live near the border, let Jonathan, our secretary, know via email to firstname.lastname@example.org whether we have drawn it in the right place and if not where it should be, giving your reasons why it should be changed.
While doing this you could take a further step and invite a friend to become a member by sending them a link to the application form.
PHASE 2 – Preparing a neighbourhood plan
This is an extensive process requiring technical expertise and a significant financial investment. The government has established a fund specifically for this purpose and we will be applying for a grant. There is also the possibility of requesting free technical assistance from the Government. We will almost certainly make use of this to supplement the technical advice we have available to us locally.
The plan will be developed after extensive and detailed consultation with all communities with an interest in the environmental, social and economic well-being of the area. This will include residents, businesses and employees who work in the area.
Once finalised, the plan will be submitted to the local authority for approval.
PHASE 3 – Referendum
The approval process will include seeking approval through a referendum of all communities within the area. This referendum will be organised by the local authority and could involve separate referenda of businesses and the residents. Thereafter, if approved, the Plan will have legal authority within the planning process for the area.