Camden Council has approved an application to designate Fitzrovia as neighbourhood area for neighbourhood planning under the Localism Act. Phil Jones, Camden’s cabinet member for sustainability, transport and planning, approved the application last week after a period of public consultation. In approving the area known as Fitzrovia East which is entirely within the London Borough of Camden he also rejected an application for a cross-borough area which was submitted to both Camden and Westminster.
Camden’s neighbourhood planning officers had worked with their counterparts in Westminster before agreeing the neighbourhood area designation. Early in the week a Fitzrovia West application was approved by Westminster City Council.
However, unlike Fitzrovia West which was designated a “neighbourhood business area” because it is “predominantly business in nature” according to Westminster City Council, Camden decided that the larger Fitzrovia East area is mostly residential.
“While the area does have a considerable business element, it is considered that the proposed area is predominantly residential and therefore, the Council does not consider that it should be designated as a business area in this instance,” stated the Camden report.
Camden carried out a public consultation on the proposals between 31 October and 13 December 2013. The Fitzrovia application was broadly supported by community groups within Fitzrovia.
Objections to the application were received from The Bedford Estate who complained that the boundaries proposed cuts the Estate Portfolio in half.
University College London (UCL) also objected. The Camden report noted UCL’s comments: “In addition to objecting to the proposed boundary, UCL raised concerns about the relationship between any future Neighbourhood Plan that may come forward, and the Fitzrovia Area Action Plan (FAAP). They consider that the two documents should be complementary and not contain conflicting policies. They raised concerns about the hierarchy of the plans (an adopted neighbourhood Plan has the same weight in deciding planning applications as any of the Councils own development plan documents).”
The neighbouring Bloomsbury Association objected saying that their proposed neighbourhood area overlapped along Store Street and the southern part of Tottenham Court Road. (A Bloomsbury and Holborn Neighbourhood Forum is at the early stages of development.)
The planners’ report stated that under “the Localism Act 2011, while neighbourhood areas cannot overlap, modifications to designated neighbourhood areas can be made. If a subsequent Bloomsbury application were to be submitted, the Fitzrovia neighbourhood area boundary could be amended with some streets being moved into the Bloomsbury neighbourhood area, provided the subsequent application attracted compelling local support and was deemed suitable and appropriate”.
However, in coming to their recommendation Camden’s neighbourhood planning officers considered the Fitzrovia application to be sound with regard to boundaries.
“It is considered that the proposed boundary is consistent with the relevant regulations and that the eastern boundary as submitted is appropriate. The Council considers that incorporating both sides of Tottenham Court Road (a designated Central London Frontage) and Store Street (a designated Neighbourhood Centre) in a single neighbourhood area rather that splitting them between forum areas is a sound approach on planning grounds,” stated the report.
The Camden report said that the council expects neighbouring forums to work together in areas of common interest. Planning officers from both Westminster City Council and Camden Council assessed the application for the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Area.
Wesley Skow who made the application on behalf of the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Forum Steering Committee told Fitzrovia News he was very pleased with the outcome.
Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Area application, report and decision.