Thank you to all the many Forum members who attended our second annual general meeting on 5th March 2015. Your support and participation are vital to the success of our community effort to build a Neighbourhood Plan for Hampstead and South End Green. We're also grateful to Rachel Allison and Simon Briscoe of the Highgate Neighbourhood Forum for coming to tell us about their experiences so far.
Janine Griffis, Forum chair, gave a rundown on our progress so far. View the slides here.
Well over 100 of the Forum's 800 members attended the meeting. Those present included three of the Camden councillors who are ex officio members of the committee: Siobhan Baillie, Tom Currie and Stephen Stark.
Last autumn, we obtained many responses from residents and businesses on the Vision document that we had circulated. With the help of this substantial feedback, we are now building the policies that will form the Neighbourhood Plan.
This is a long process, for the good reason that at every stage we must get input and feedback from the community. Highgate Neighbourhood Forum is about one year ahead of us: they have produced a Plan and they are now consulting on it. So it was very helpful indeed to hear from Rachel Allison and Simon Briscoe, members of the Forum's committee, about their experience of the process. They offered many useful tips: one was not to let it go on too long! It represented a huge time commitment on the part of the committee and other volunteers -- and this is Hampstead's experience too.
It was important, Rachel Allison said, to find the right balance between building a broader vision for the area and setting out policies in the language of planners. They emphasised the degree to which they had been engaging with their community -- in pubs, cafes, schools, and with postcards and leaflets. Simon Briscoe commented that the process, while it had its boring aspects, was also rejuvenating. 'It brings a bit of freshness into community activism.' Rachel and Simon answered many questions from Forum members. We're very grateful to them.
We are grateful to St Stephen's Rosslyn Hill for providing the venue and to Sally Platt for the photographs above.