Barbican and Golden Lane Estates propose City’s first neighbourhood forum

Residents on the two major estates in the north west of the City have made the bold move of proposing a forum with powers to develop its own plan for the neighbourhood.

The City of London has accepted the application and set up a formal online consultation process which says “neighbourhood planning gives communities power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area”.

Neighbourhood Forums are established under powers given in the Localism Act (2011), and enable communities to influence development of their areas through Neighbourhood Plans, Development Orders, and Community Right to Buy Orders. More on the consultation site , and in some notes I prepared.

The move seems to me interesting on several fronts:

  • The Barbican Estate and Golden Lane Estate have decided to combine forces, with some 4000 people or 49% of the City’s total residential population. They have set up a joint liaison committee.
  • The proposed Neighbourhood Area includes the now vacant site of the London Museum, where the Barbican Association is leading a campaign against the City’s plans for a major office development at London Wall West. Backstory here.
  • The new Business Improvement District for the north west cultural district included a community forum in its plans. More here. The Neighbourhood Forum only covers part of the BID area.

The proposed Neighbourhood Area

The Business Improvement District

My first thought was that the forum is a well-orchestrated move by the Barbican Quarter Action campaign to create a more powerful base for its challenge to the City’s plans for the Museum site. However, although some of the residents proposing the forum are BQA organisers, I’m told it is not a BQA initiative.

As I wrote earlier, the BID may offer some benefits for residents – but only if there is clear governance and community engagement.

I’ll make some enquiries.

Update: I gather that the timescale for setting up the forum and any neighbourhood plan is likely to be lengthy, and by then decisions are likely to have been made on London Wall West.