RBWM has opened the public consultation on Maidenhead Neighbourhood Forum's application for Designation. It runs from 25th November until Monday 6th January 2020. Visit RBWM's consultation portal.
We encourage organisations, businesses and individuals to submit their views on two questions:
- Is the area applied for appropriate?
- Is MNF the right group to prepare the NP?
We believe the right approach is for MNF to “listen first, listen widely”, then develop and test the policies in public. The legislation for neighbourhood planning was framed in the pre-social media age and is silent on the use on online consultation. We intend using a mixture of online and postal surveys and public meetings to involve the public widely. Yet we expect some resistance from RBWM planning officers who can give no weight to techniques not mentioned in the legislation.
There are other distinctly unfair hurdles put in the way of grassroots planning forums that are the fault of the legislation, which we will address via our MP post-election. For instance, unlike parish and town councils preparing NPs in parished areas, we have:
- No paid staff
- Limited access to Borough officers, and only though written requests submitted via the planning policy team
- No direct access to Ordnance Survey mapping data covered by the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) which we all pay for centrally.
We are in receipt of some limited central grant funding, which pays for meeting venues, advertising and the like, but there's no doubt this will be a challenge for a group of volunteers.