Dear all,

We have been unable to meet in person for some time but there are a range of issues that we need to discuss so at 7pm Thursday 26th November 2020 we will have an online meeting via Zoom (details below) to discuss a range of issues. It will also include an Annual General Meeting for this year.

The issues that we need to discuss in the coming months are as follows;

  • The referendum on the Neighbourhood Plan due on the 6th May 2021 next year at the same time as the London elections and the status of the Neighbourhood Plan as it now carries significant weight in the planning process, see below;
  • The long term future of the Forum as our 5 year recognition ends in early April 2021, do we renew, restart or finish our work? what do we do next? what issues should the Forum get involved in (if any), see below;
  • An update on the Councils own plans including the Community Development Panel and new Supplementary Planning documents, see below;
  • An update on the governments own Building for the Future consultation which may affect the creation of the long Neighbourhood Plan;
  • An update on development including that our area is about to retake the crown for having the tallest residential building in the UK.

But first an update from the GLA who recently published the Isle of Dogs and South Poplar Integrated Water Management Plan written by AECOM. The Executive Summary starts by saying;

"The scale of growth planned for the Isle of Dogs and South Poplar to 2041 poses a significant challenge for the delivery of water services infrastructure in the area. Much of the existing infrastructure is close to, or already at capacity; and flood risk and water quality are key concerns in many parts of the area."

The full set of reports are here and we may come back to these issue in more detail as they exemplify our concerns over infrastructure provision locally.

Referendum Vote

On Thursday 6th May 2021 those eligible to vote in local elections will have four ballot papers, one for a new Mayor of London, two for new members of the London Assembly and a fourth simple yes/no ballot paper on whether or not to adopt our Neighbourhood Plan. That vote should already have happened had not COVID delayed all elections/referendum until next May. 

But in the interim, the Neighbourhood Plan already carries 'significant weight' in the planning process thanks to a decision by Mayor John Biggs earlier this year.
Details here
As a result, our focus in the referendum will need to be on education and less on turnout, making sure that voters know what the Neighbourhood Plan is and why they should tick yes. 
How we do that will be discussed in the coming months as we will need your help to talk to your neighbours and residents associations. 

Our recognition ends on 6th April 2021

Neighbourhood Planning Forums are recognised for five year periods at a time and those five years are up in early April 2021. In that time we have completed two Neighbourhood Plans and would have had a referendum had COVID not delayed it. 

The original plan had been to start work on the long and more detailed Neighbourhood Plan but the government's consultation on their proposed new planning system Planning for the Future is still unclear about what role Neighbourhood Plans will have except possibly for a role in drawing up Design Codes. This does not affect the basic Neighbourhood Plan itself, if you vote yes in a referendum it becomes part of the Council's own planning policy for which they are responsible. 

So we have a range of options to discuss including possibly;
1. Renewing our recognition before the 6th April 2021
2. Letting it lapse but then re-applying once it is clear what role Neighbours Plans have in the new planning system and working on a Design Code in the interim.
3. Letting it lapse and not write a long Neighbourhood Plan
4. Focussing on other areas like Blackwall removed back in 2016

The Forum itself can still continue as a group of volunteers but can only submit Neighbourhood Plans and apply for technical assistance from government-appointed consultants if recognised. 

Other Forums have stayed in existence to help monitor implementation of their plan and as a sounding board on other planning changes. 
Tower Hamlets Council also plan to launch soon a Community Development Panel, a recommendation from the GLA's OAPF whereby residents could volunteer to join a panel that would be formally involved in the planning process, more on this later. 

Tower Hamlets Council Planning Update

There are several pieces of work the Councils planning team are working on that are relevant to us.

Development Update 

Will update fully at a later date but in summary with the 75 storey Landmark Pinnacle almost complete, plus the 60 storey Newfoundland, the 55 storey Wardian and 53 storey Madison we will shortly have the four tallest residential buildings in the UK on the Isle of Dogs. Good Luck Hope in Leamouth and South Quay Plaza 68 storey on Marsh Wall will also shortly complete. 

Westferry Printworks - stuck waiting for a decision from MHCLG on next steps, whether to be done by email or through a planning inspection, and which Minister will make the decision is still unclear. Has been decided that the secondary school will be taken by the Department of Education for Canary Wharf College. 

ASDA - waiting for a decision.

225 Marsh Wall - proposed 8 storey height increase in height to the existing approved planning application, site recently demolished opposite Skylines, will require a new planning application. 

Cuba / Manilla Ballymore - new residential tower planning application for a 52 storey tower. Details here

30 Marsh Wall - red brick offices opposite Britannia hotel, proposed 48 storey student housing in consultation.

Ensign House, Marsh Wall opposite Nat West bank - pre-application discussion for a new 53 storey residential tower with 505 homes.

OHG schemes - 4 in total including Byng/Manilla street 

The Big Fish aka Billingsgate Fish Market - City of London and Tower Hamlets Council have decided to sell their interests in the site to a 3rd party

Annual General Meeting 7pm Thursday 26th November 2020

The formal notice and proxy forms will follow but the Zoom log on details are:

Join Zoom Meeting by simply clicking on this link at 7pm Thursday 26th November 2020.

Please let us know in advance via email or via the Zoom chat function on the night or verbally if you want to ask any questions or say something. 
We will record the meeting so if you have any issues with that let us know in advance.

Meeting ID: 885 7554 3267
Passcode: 326976
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