Neighbourhood Forum a first for the city
Residents in Hove have successfully gained approval from Brighton & Hove City Council for a Neighbourhood Forum. The move will enable them to have a bigger say in plans for their area.
The Hove Station Neighbourhood Forum is the first to be established in the city and it means that residents and businesses have won the statutory right to draw up their own Neighbourhood Plan which will be taken into account when deciding planning applications.
It is the first time a community has applied to take forward local development in Brighton & Hove through a Neighbourhood Forum. Applications to develop neighbourhood areas are usually produced by parish or town councils – in 2013 Rottingdean Parish Council successfully gained approval for the first neighbourhood area in the city.
Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, chair of the city’s economic development and culture committee, said: “This is a victory for people power and the council’s planning team has been supporting residents through the process. The Forum will give people living and working around Hove Station more control over what is built in their area. There is a lot of interest in this part of the city and local people want to make sure their voices are heard.”
The City Plan, which sets out planning policy for Brighton & Hove, says that the area adjacent and to the west of Hove Station should be largely retained for business use. It seeks to keep the area’s focus on providing jobs, with some shift into office use, but also earmarks it for an additional 525 residential units in order to meet the future needs of the city and its increasing population.
Nigel Richardson, Chair of the Hove Station Neighbourhood Forum, said: “We have had great support from local people and are now geared up to ensure that the regeneration planned for this area takes the maximum possible account of the needs and priorities of residents and businesses.”
Hove Station Neighbourhood Forum will be working on the Hove Station Neighbourhood Plan in 2015. Once approved, their plan will become a formal part of the planning system and will be considered alongside other policies when the local planning authority decides planning applications for the area.
‘Neighbourhood Planning’ was introduced by the Localism Act 2011 and enables parish councils or resident-led forums to draw up a plan for their neighbourhood. Once a Neighbourhood Plan is approved it will be used to help decide the outcome of planning applications in the area. The Neighbourhood Plan sits alongside other planning policy (like the emerging City Plan).