As part of the Localism Act 2011 the Government has given powers to local communities to draw up a Neighbourhood Plan for their area. The Dartmouth Park Neighbourhood Forum has been set up to draw up a plan for the local area.
The Forum has an organising committee of volunteers who live or work in the area. Other volunteers are welcome to get involved in particular activities or sub-committees.
The Dartmouth Park Neighbourhood Forum Area is outlined on this map.
Highgate and Kentish Town have also formed Neighbourhood Forums.
What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
A Neighbourhood Plan will contain planning policies for the Neighbourhood Area which will have to be taken into account by the Council’s planners when making planning decisions affecting land within the Neighbourhood Area. The Neighbourhood Plan forms part of the statutory development plan for the area, and will therefore be part of the planning process, sitting alongside national, London and Camden policies.
What sort of things can be included in the Neighbourhood Plan?
A Neighbourhood Plan can deal with a wide range of social, economic and environmental issues. However, because the Neighbourhood Plan is a planning document, it will focus on issues that come up in a planning context. This covers a wide range of issues related to land use. Some examples are:
- What sort of development should be allowed in the area?
- Where should development be located within the area?
- Should particular sites be allocated for particular types of development?
- Do we need more open space?
- Do we need more affordable housing or accommodation for the elderly?
- Do we need additional community facilities and, if so, what activities should be catered for?
Are there any limits on what can be included in the Neighbourhood Plan?
Because it is a planning document, the Neighbourhood Plan only has force in respect of planning issues. There are other issues of importance to the quality of the area that do not normally arise in a planning context. Although these may be addressed in the Neighbourhood Plan, they will not be binding on the Council as part of the planning process. It may be possible to establish projects, to be pursued outside the planning process, to address some of these issues which are important to the community. However, they will not be a formal part of the Neighbourhood Plan. Examples of some of these issues are:
- What can we do about litter in the area?
- How do we stop anti-social behaviour?
- How can we make existing buildings in the area more energy efficient?
- Can we get Boris bikes in the neighbourhood?
In addition, the policies included in the Neighbourhood Plan must not be inconsistent with those already included in national, London and Camden planning policies. It is not possible, for example, to provide that there should be NO development in the Neighbourhood Area. The draft Neighbourhood Plan must go through a review process before it comes into effect to determine whether it is consistent with the national, London and Camden planning policies.
What is the process for developing the Neighbourhood Plan?
The DPNF was established in February 2013 and recognised by Camden Council in September 2013. We are now carrying out a programme of consultation and engagement with residents and organisations in the area, seeking to identify themes and issues to be addressed in the Neighbourhood Plan. We will then prepare a first draft of the Plan, which we currently hope to complete by June 2016. Following a period of informal consultation, we will update the draft and prepare it for a formal consultation. There will be a 6-week public consultation on this second draft Plan, which again will be amended if necessary in light of the consultation. The Plan will then be submitted to Camden Council, who will check that the DPNF has followed all the necessary processes and will arrange for an independent examination to check that the Plan meets all the legal requirements. After any necessary modifications, the Plan will be submitted to a referendum. This will allow all local residents to vote on the adoption of the Plan. If more than 50% of those voting in the referendum vote ‘yes’, then the Neighbourhood Plan becomes part of the Development Plan for the area.
What is the timetable?
The current programme provides for the formal consultation draft of the Neighbourhood Plan to be drafted by the Autumn 2016, for consultation to be carried out in November and December 2016, and for the Plan to be submitted to Camden Council in March 2017. The referendum might then be held in Summer 2017. This programme is provisional and subject to change.
What will happen to the DPNF after the Neighbourhood Plan is completed?
The function of the DPNF under the current Localism Act will be complete when the Neighbourhood Plan has been adopted. It does not have a formal role in implementation of the Plan. However, it may be possible and desirable for the forum to continue in some form to address some of the non-planning issues identified during the consultation process. That will be considered once the Plan is finalised.
How can I get involved?
You are welcome to come to any meetings of the organising committee; the dates and locations are announced on the DPNF website. There are also a number of sub-committees dealing with specific issues, such as Housing, Neighbourhood Centres and Transport and Streets. You are more than welcome to volunteer to participate in one or more of these sub-committees. If you want more information about any of these sub-committees, please contact us [using the contact tab above]. Any time you can contribute will be appreciated. We are particularly keen to encourage volunteers who have specific skills such as data analysis and graphic design to assist with preparation of the draft Neighbourhood Plan.
How can I find out more?
You can send an email to our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition, a folder with papers on the DPNF and its activities is held on a shelf at the Highgate Library.