Westminster Cycling Campaign News - May 2017

Neighbourhood Forums: what do they mean for cycling?

The powers to create a Neighbourhood Forum were introduced by the Localism Act 2011 and Neighbourhood Forums remain in their infancy. Neighbourhood Forums don’t control highways, but they are relevant to cycling for two reasons:

  1. Each Neighbourhood Forum will produce a Neighbourhood Plan that will become development planning policy in that area, which will then be given weight by Westminster City Council town planners when determining planning applications. The Neighbourhood Plan must be in “general conformity” with Westminster City Council and Mayoral planning policy. But nevertheless each draft Neighbourhood Plan consultation is an opportunity for us to push for policies that encourage new buildings to provide reduced or no car parking, and to provide increased cycle parking, particular for visitors/customers where current policies fall short.
  2. Each Neighbourhood Forum will, in agreement with Westminster City Council, decide how 25% of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) money from new buildings its area is spent. Each draft Neighbourhood Plan consultation is an opportunity for us to push for CIL money to be spent on cycle parking such as residential bike hangars, which we know are positively received by the local community.

Sixteen Neighbourhood Forums have been created in Westminster. Often they are closely linked to existing local amenity societies and resident associations:

  • Belgravia
  • Church Street Ward
  • Churchill Gardens
  • Fitzrovia West
  • Hyde Park & Paddington
  • Knightsbridge
  • Maida Hill
  • Marylebone
  • Mayfair
  • Notting Hill East
  • Pimlico
  • Soho
  • St James’s
  • St John’s Wood
  • Victoria
  • Westbourne

Additionally there is Queen’s Park Community Council, which is a Parish Council and differs in some respects such as having more direct control over CIL money.

Neighbourhood Forums are ‘hyperlocal’, with their neighbourhood area being typically a ward or just half a ward. Consequently Westminster Cycling Campaign must depend on its members in each neighbourhood area to represent the interests of people who cycle. So please, make your views heard in your local amenity society, resident association or Neighbourhood Forum. A supportive approach to cycling from these groups could make things a lot better for local people who cycle, and send a strong message to Westminster City Council that your local community supports cycling.