Woodlands applies for neighbourhood forum status

Residents of Woodlands in Hammersmith & Fulham have joined their neighbours from Kensington and Chelsea in a bid to become the first neighbourhood forum in the borough.

The Woodlands residents aim to join with St Helen’s Residents’ Association across the border in RB Kensington & Chelsea to form the St St Quintins and Woodlands Neighbourhood Forum. Neighbourhood forums were introduced by the government last year under the Localism Act as a way of giving residents the opportunity to write a development plan for their area.

The residents have now contacted H&F Council and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to formally apply to become the St Quintin and Woodlands Neighbourhood Forum, and have submitted a map showing the proposed area.   The group wants to focus its plan on the area that stretches north from the Westway to Dalgarno Gardens, east to St Helen’s Gardens and St Mark’s Road, and west to Wood Lane.

It includes the former BBC Woodlands site being redeveloped by Imperial College. The residents group has shown itself to be opposed to aspects of the development before, including the proposed 35 storey tower.

Both councils are now consulting residents and businesses in the area, as well as residents living nearby on the forum’s creation, asking if they think the proposed area should be changed or is acceptable as it currently stands.

If designated, the group would be the first of its kind in Hammersmith & Fulham, and the second in RBKC. Residents, businesses and other groups would be given the chance to take part in preparing the forum’s neighbourhood plan, before its submission to the councils for formal consultation, independent examination and eventually a local referendum for a final decision.

Cllr Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler, LBHF cabinet member for transport and technical services, said: “We are interested in hearing what people think about this idea, especially as it is such a new concept and the first application in the borough.

“We are keen to improve our links with local groups and community organisations, and it is commendable that residents have rallied across borough borders to work together and look at their area’s future.”

Councillor Tim Ahern, RB Kensington and Chelsea’s Cabinet Member for Planning, said: “We are great supporters of Neighbourhood Planning and were one of the first councils in the country to give the thumbs up to an application.

“This is our second application, and it’s possibly another first as it straddles two boroughs and involves our neighbours in Hammersmith & Fulham. The two boroughs must now consider the application and we will report back in due course.”

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