Commenting on the Royal Borough of Greenwich Draft Core Strategy is hard work. It’s not just that the Strategy itself is 235 pages of planner-speak, but there are also a large number of supporting documents, such as the Sustainability Appraisal and the Tall Buildings Assessment. Some of them, like the Areas of High Archaeological Potential document and the Biodiversity Action Plan, are quite interesting but still a lot of information to try to assimilate.
But it has to be done, even if these consultations seem to be cynical. The Core Strategy and other documents that make up the Local Plan will be the basis of planning decisions in Greenwich until 2028 ao it’s important that they are right. The strategy is wide-ranging. For example it proposes building an additional 32,235 houses in the borough by 2027 – the population is expected to increase by 22.5%, more than a fifth, from 2010 levels to 288,000 by 2027. It also enshrines support for the Silvertown Tunnel in policy C3, critical transport infrastructure. But it doesn’t mention betting shops anywhere.
The current consultation is the last opportunity for public involvement in deciding the planning strategy before it is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate. The Planning Inspectorate will then chair a formal “Examination in Public” (EiP), which is likely to be a number of round table hearings depending on the volume of comments. However only people who have made comments at this stage of the process, and who have indicated that they want to attend, will be able to participate.
The London Tenants Federation have been holding workshops to help tenants and other community groups to influence planning policy. For example, providing guidance on how to make comments on the Greenwich Core Strategy: they should be on the basis of whether the plan is a sound document, which means:
- Positively prepared – the plan should be prepared based on a strategy which seeks to meet objectively assessed development and infrastructure requirements, including unmet requirements from neighbouring authorities where it is reasonable to do so and consistent with achieving sustainable development;
- Justified – the plan should be the most appropriate strategy, when considered against the reasonable alternatives, based on proportionate evidence;
- Effective – the plan should be deliverable over its period and based on effective joint working on cross-boundary strategic priorities; and
- Consistent with national policy – the plan should enable the delivery of sustainable development in accordance with the policies in the Framework.
The LTF will be holding a workshop on 7th May which will provide guidance for community groups who want to make written responses to the consultation. Jenny Bates from Friends of the Earth will provide analysis of the environment & climate change and transport sections of the strategy. It will also cover topics such as Housing, Economic Activity and Employment, Regeneration and Transport. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
The closing date for comments of the Greenwich Core Strategy is 14th May 2013. You can do so through the Greenwich Consultation Portal.