Understanding the Neighbourhood Plan for Roman Road Bow

NPLAN Roman Road Neighbourhood Plan

The Roman Road Trust initiated a Neighbourhood Plan for Roman Road. Mike Mitchell went to the Inaugural Public Meeting in February 2016 and decided to get involved. He kindly agreed to come and talk to the Geezers about the plan and what would happen if people vote in the referendum to have the council adopt it. The plan pdf is a long and complicated online document. Some of the Geezers have no online access or skills, having left work before the digital era. It was very useful to have Mike along to explain things.

The newly setup Neighbourhood Forum in 2016 first had to decide what area the plan should cover.

Roman Road & Bow neighbourhood plan area
The area covered by the Roman Road & Bow neighbourhood plan

Then not being in an existing parish or covered by a town council they had to setup a Neighbourhood Forum. Then they asked local residents for input, asking what local issues mattered to them. A draft plan was created, and local residents asked for their views on it. The plan was submitted to an independent examiner to make sure that it met the basic conditions. It did.

So now we are at the final stage where it is currently being put to a local referendum on Thursday 13th October 2022.

Everyone who is a registered voter in the plan area will be able to vote. If a majority vote in favour, the plan will be adopted by the Council and used to determine planning applications from then on.

Mike started his presentation by showing us the short 2 minute video below.

Understanding Neighbourhood Planning

In conversation Mike said that the video gives a simplistic view of what happens. But it does give you a good overview. The MEOTRA website has a useful short explanation here of our local Roman Road plan.

Mike said, “The plan isn’t going to transform Bow, but it does mean local people will have a voice.” He said, “What the law says is if this plan is adopted (people vote yes in the referendum) then it will be a ‘material consideration’ in considering planning applications.” That means an important consideration.

I had been very skeptical before the meeting, but this reassured me. Mike helped me to properly understand how the Neighbourhood Plan would work.

The Geezers raised various issues about the Bow area including the total lack of police to be seen walking our streets. This came up after some of the Geezers raised the problem of idiotic, uninsured cyclists, riding through red traffic lights, along pavements and the wrong way down one-way streets. With no police on the streets there can be no enforcement of the law. Mike said, “The neighbourhood plan can only deal with land and the use of land.” It does not cover issues such as rubbish collection or policing. “It’s a series of policies which have to be taken into account when the Council makes decisions on planning applications.”

The Neighbourhood Plan is quite separate to the Liveable Streets program.

The plan devotes space to getting people walking and cycling. I pointed out to Mike that many of the Geezers are no longer too good at either. What would matter more to them would be lift access to the platforms at either Bow Road or Mile End Stations. Mike was on top of all the detail in this plan. He said that he had approached TFL about improving access at Mile End and then discovered that disabled students at Queen Mary University had submitted a petition about this. With the District Line, the Metropolitan Line and the Central Line all running through this very busy station, you might have thought access would be a priority for TFL. But nope was the answer.

Something which the plan does mention is the lack of meeting spaces for groups in Bow. The Geezers had to pay the Idea Store to hire the room you see in the top photo. We needed to connect a laptop to the screen and have the use of wifi. We were able to show the NPLAN to the Geezers who were seeing this for the first time. We would have a use for a setup like this almost weekly, but can’t afford to hire this otherwise excellent room.

Mike Mitchell was an excellent speaker and was able to guide us through the local Neighbourhood Plan, and answer all of our questions.

Alan Tucker

Update 14th October: local voters have chosen decisively to adopt the Roman Road Neighbourhood Plan – 1743 votes in favour vs 736 votes against.

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