Launch of second contentious Stamford Hill planning consultation - but proposers urge people to reject it

Consultation on a second proposal to create a new planning body in Stamford Hill began this week.

Campaign group Hackney Planning Watch (HPW) has suggested creating the North Hackney Neighbourhood Forum as a counter-proposal to the Stamford Hill Neighbourhood Forum.

The coalition government has created neighbourhood forums as new statutory bodies through the Localism Act, giving them powers to influence change in their area.

Forums will produce Neighbourhood Plans, setting out planning policies to be taken into account by councils when assessing planning applications.

However, HPW believes that devolving planning powers to either of the proposed forums – including their own – would simply exacerbate pre-existing conflict over planning, and the group is urging people to sign a petition opposing both proposals.

“Put simply, the issues of planning are too divisive in the area for a neighbourhood forum to work,” said HPW Secretary Jane Holgate.

“More than 80 per cent of our supporters believe that planning issues in the north of Hackney are so divisive that planning should remain a direct local authority responsibility.

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“We are therefore petitioning the council and the relevant minister, urging them not to grant a Neighbourhood Forum in this area.”

Hackney Planning Watch was established by local residents in 1998 when Hackney Council had devolved planning decisions to neighbourhood committees.

The area saw many extreme developments which are not now permissible, like high loft conversions and home extensions which could take up entire gardens.

Not long after Hackney Planning Watch took out a judicial review against the council over one extreme incident of malpractice, planning was re-centralised.

Hackney Council will decide whether to designate either planning forum in September.

To sign HPW’s petition you can go to