Chatsworth Road forum hopes to overcome problems of gentrification
PUBLISHED: 12:42 22 February 2013 | UPDATED: 12:42 22 February 2013
Chatsworth Road is the latest area in Hackney where locals have united in a bid to shape the future of their own community, and people have even expressed hope that they might be able to counteract the area’s gentrification by dictating how affordable new homes would be.
Following hot on the footsteps of the Stamford Hill Neighbourhood Forum, around 30 people in Lower Clapton are discussing how to take advantage of the coalition government’s Localism Act, by forming the Chatsworth Road Neighbourhood Forum.
Forums will produce neighbourhood plans, setting out planning policies which will be taken into account by councils when assessing planning applications.
The area around Chatsworth Road has been transformed over the last few years with the reopening of the Sunday market, with many independent shops and cafés springing up.
But not everyone is positive about the change, with rents for homes and shops and property prices rising steadily.
The group behind the forum wants to see their plans for housing, shopping, jobs, transport and amenities adopted in a neighbourhood plan, meaning developers, the council and future business owners would have to abide by them.
They hope to influence the types of shops that can open and how affordable new homes will be.
Chairman Euan Mills believes the area is at a crossroads because of its popularity. “There are lots of benefits, but we have to make sure that the area offers a future to everyone who lives here,” he said.
Discussions so far have led to a consensus on the proposed forum’s area being based on a 10-minute walk from Chatsworth Road, stretching from Lower Clapton Road in the west over to the River Lea, and from Homerton High Street in the south up to Leabridge Road.
Leabridge ward councillor Ian Rathbone, who has been part of the discussions, said: “As residents and traders we’ve already shown that we have made the market work and it would be good to use that regeneration for further improvements in the area.
“Whether we can make homes affordable is a question that can’t be answered yet because nobody has actually tried it.
‘‘Hopefully as a forum we will be able to help to make sure that all kinds of housing can be built in the area.”
“The consultation has raised a lot of issues where there hasn’t been a forum to have that kind of discussion before, like developing more of a social hub, trying to deal with loneliness and alienation and trying to improve the physical environment.”
Workshops to allow everyone to share their ideas for a neighbourhood plan will take place on Saturday, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm, at Nye Bevin Community Hall, Overbury Street, then next Wednesday February 27, from 7pm to 9pm and Saturday, March 2, from 10am to 4pm at Chat’s Palace, Brooksby’s Walk.
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