As part of the local elections on 6th May you may or may not be aware that one of the voting items included is a referendum on local planning for the Isle-of-Dogs. There is limited information available on what exactly this is about and the voting pack that has been recently sent out to postal voters contains no information either. This has left many voters unsure on what they are actually voting for and which way to cast their vote. The referendum does potentially have major implications on the local area.
In 2014 residents came together to form a neighbourhood planning forum for the Isle-of-Dogs. Forums allow local residents to write their own planning policies to help decide planning applications. After various problems, obstacles & delays, residents developed a 2nd Neighbourhood Plan. However, according to Parliament, in order to have full legal weight it first needs to be approved or rejected by voters via a referendum, which will happen on the 6th May.
Essentially if you vote yes then a range of policies will then have the same weight in law as the Councils Local Plan which Councillors voted on last January. If you vote no, then the policies and the Forum will disappear. Planning applications will then be solely decided based on policies written by the Mayors of London and Tower Hamlets and not include any policies written by residents.
Below are a summary of the policies (taken from the Isle-of-Dogs Neighbourhood Planning Forum website). More detail can be found on the website: https://www.isleofdogsforum.com/what-you-are-voting-for.html
If the majority vote YES this means:
- It means developers will need to produce an Infrastructure Impact Assessment as part of any planning application, this is to ensure that infrastructure like new schools, GP surgeries, sports facilities etc. are considered in the planning process, policy D1. In addition Policy D2 says developers must prove that if they want to build really dense developments that the homes are of a high design quality;
- Developers are encouraged not leave sites empty and unused but to use them for a social purpose if their development is stalled, policy ES1;
- That you as residents are consulted about any changes to construction management plans, policy CC1, that developers must inform in advance local residents of any change they intend to make in working hours, policy CC2, and to reduce noise & dust policy CC3;
- Developers are further encouraged to meet the highest level of sustainability standards for new buildings, policy SD1;
- Planning has to be done using the latest 3D model technology policy 3D1;
- That in any demolition of existing homes that the housing association is encouraged to bid for GLA grant money which means they need a resident’s ballot first and will also be able to build more affordable homes, policy RB1. We have also made some recommendations as Community Aspirations and on how to spend the Community Infrastructure Levy from page 29 of the Plan.
Further information can also be found on this Nextdoor post from Tower Hamlets councillor Andrew Wood.