Approximately 25 local residents from Forest Hill and Sydenham met last Tuesday (Sept 3rd) in the community room at Forest Hill Pools to discuss Neighbourhood Planning. Chaired by Forest Hill Society member Hilary Satchwell, an architect and planner, the meeting followed up the ‘One year on’ event held at the Horniman Museum on 21 August. Topics discussed included Kirkdale, where ad hoc planning decisions have blighted the streetscape on the eastern side between Willow Way and Dartmouth Road, to long-term ideas for Forest Hill town centre and the possibility of a conservation area in Honor Oak Park. In addition, issues of parking, air quality and traffic (both on the ground and overhead!) sparked lively debate.
During the meeting an email from John Miller, Lewisham’s Head of Planning to Cllr Chris Best, was quoted. It says:
“We [the Council] are certainly happy to have discussions on planning decisions and the actions of individual owners in respect of Kirkdale. We can also discuss the way forward on the Willow Way area. To do that discussion justice, we need to pull together some initial joint officer input on the planning and property fronts and, given that a number of people are away at present, I don’t think this could realistically be achieved during the course of the next week. Can I therefore suggest that, at this stage, we confirm that we will have those internal discussions when the relevant officers are available and have had the chance to prepare a background note on the current position.”
At the end of the meeting it was decided to form two action groups – one to look at Kirkdale and another to look at Forest Hill town centre. Both groups will meet within the next month and will report back to the coordinating group in November. At a later stage, groups whose activities overlap with the first two may also be formed – their remit could involve cycling and the pedestrian experience plus mapping the area.
Please watch this space for dates of the next meetings. If you would like to get involved, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org