Since we last reported in December, a neighbourhood development plan is being developed to tackle many of the issues raised by South Bank BID businesses.
For the past year, a group of 430 representatives of local business and residents and other volunteers have been working together to develop a neighbourhood plan for the area. This is a major undertaking, involving a wide-ranging consultation across the business and residential community, meetings and workshops. The neighbourhood plan will set out the vision for South Bank & Waterloo development over the next decade to twenty years. South Bank Employers’ Group is administering the process for SoWN because we believe that the residential and business community share a firm connection and ambition for the area, and that neighbourhood planning provides a major opportunity to help shape its future according to local needs.
The plan, which will in due course be put to a referendum of residents and businesses , will if approved set out policies which Lambeth and Southwark’s Planning Committees will have to take account of when deliberating on planning applications. Working groups have been developing ideas for policies, including:
- How to ensure the local retail mix is appropriate to residents as well as workers and how to help with the rising cost of operating a business in Waterloo
- How we might ensure a balance between different uses, particularly addressing the increasing shortage of office space
- Providing an environment which is welcoming to enterprise and those starting a business
- Investigating the potential for free cloud based wifi across the South Bank area
- How to ensure development doesn’t place additional pressure on valuable green space
- What funding which comes from developers should be spent on
Many of the issues reflect those that businesses in the area raised when we undertook the BID consultation.
Once the plan is written, a task which is expected to be completed by the summer of this year, it will need to be formally consulted upon and it will be independently examined to ensure the policies within it are legal. All businesses and residents will then have the chance to vote on the plan in a local referendum.