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Hackney Council is currently consulting on an application to formally designate a neighbourhood forum for Stamford Hill and set the boundary of a neighbourhood area.

You can see a copy of the application along with details of how to have your say here.

The deadline for comments is 4th February 2013 and I would encourage as many of you as possible to respond.

The Localism Act 2011 introduced a new right for communities to come together to shape development in their local area through neighbourhood plans. These plans can set general planning policies for the development and use of land in a designated neighbourhood area.

Under the new laws neighbourhood planning can be taken forward by two types of body - town and parish councils or neighbourhood forums. A neighbourhood forum is a community group designated by the local authority to take forward neighbourhood planning in areas without parishes.

This particular consultation concerns an application to the Council to formally designate a neighbourhood forum for Stamford Hill and the surrounding area. If approved, the forum would begin work preparing a neighbourhood plan for the area.

Any neighbourhood plan, however expressed, requires the support of a majority of voters in a referendum of the area before it can be formally introduced. Furthermore, neighbourhood plans must have regard to national planning policy and must be in general conformity with strategic policies in the development plan for the local area.

It is important to note that Hackney Council is required by legislation to consult for at least 6 weeks on any application it receives for a neighbourhood forum or area, so long as the application meets minimum conditions set out in law. It is very important therefore that you take the opportunity to have your say.

When responding it would be very helpful if you could think about how inclusive and representative the current proposals are, particularly in relation to the makeup of the Forum and the area it proposes to cover. Furthermore, you should consider whether the proposed neighbourhood area (the wards of Lordship, New River, Cazenove and Springfield) makes sense in planning terms.