It's official. NPA has been designated under the Localism Act as the neighbourhood planning forum for Norwood. The Lambeth Council cabinet confirmed the NPA area as applied for, and that NPA met the statutory requirements as a Qualifying Body. At the cabinet meeting on Monday 3 July, Graham Pycock, NPA chair, spoke in support of a Norwood Neighbourhood Plan. He noted the appetite for local planning in Norwood to improve the run-down High Street, to bring the college site back into use, enhance Norwood's retail centre, improve housing quality and so on. He said neighbourhood planning presented a major opportunity to reach out to involve all sectors of the community. Norwood people would be able to shape the future with their own local plan.
Cabinet members commented before agreeing the application. Councillor Peck, Council Leader, said she did not recognise Graham's description of Lambeth's planning as being "top-down". Councillor Imogen Walker, noting that data was not available to enable a full "Equalities Impact Assessment", said that NPA should take advice from the council on how to involve Black, Minority and Ethnic communities. Councillor Jane Pickard complimented the Norwood Action Group and Norwood Forum and thanked NPA volunteers for all their hard work. Councillor Sonia Winifred also insisted that NPA must seek advice from the council in how to involve BME groups. Councillor Anyanwu commented that in the past Conservative councillors in Norwood had promoted their own interests.
The NPA Steering Group has already prioritised the Norwood Industrial Area (KIBA) and Norwood Road retail area (site 18) for early draft plans.