HFRA on draft programme
Carmel Edwards of the EiP secretariat responding on 27 April to the Haringey Federation of Residents Associations:
Dear Mr Morris
Thank you for your email and attached comments. I can assure you that the inspectors took on board the comments about the percieved imbalance of participants and are looking to include more voluntary and community sector groups in the final list of participants, as well as acknowledging the important role that can be played by umbrella groups such as the Just Space Network.
The draft list does not exclude groups, it was only a draft and it is never possible to include everyone who makes a representation. We welcome requests at this point to help us identify those who feel strongly about appearing so we can produce a more focused final list.
Ultimately it is for the inspectors to decide who they invite, based on the representations , but we will endeavour to accomodate requests.
As was established at the PEM, Friends of the Earth were omitted due to an adminstrative error that was rectified as soon as it was discovered.
Regards, Carmel Edwards
To: London Plan EiP Panel Secretary
From Respondent 314 Haringey Federation of Residents Associations
General introduction to our responses (7 specific responses, included with other Just Space responses)
1. The HFRA made a substantial response to the consultation (January 2010), but has so far not been called to contribute.
2. There is a need for much larger numbers of voluntary and community sector groups to attend and debate at the EiP. If anything, they should be in the majority of those invited to attend.
3. HFRA is applying to be invited to debate on certain policy areas relevant to our original response to consultation (12.1.2010), both as an affiliate of the London Tenants Federation (respondent number 91) and in our own right where we have points to raise of our own based on our original submission in January 2010 and any subsequent written submissions.
General comments regarding participants chosen to attend the EiP
4. The Haringey Federation of Residents Associations (HFRA) is shocked at the imbalance of participants invited to take part in the EiP of the Draft Replacement London Plan. For almost every matter of discussion, particularly relating to strategic issues there is heavy predominance of authorities, service providers and those with business and financial interest in the London Plan. For many issues there are no community/voluntary sector groups at all, or just what might be seen as a token presence. This may appear to many people to be perverse and unacceptable, and may reinforce public perceptions of the London Plan being a developers charter . There is a need for much larger numbers of voluntary and community sector groups to attend and debate at the EiP.
5. If anything, they should be in the majority of those invited to attend, as planning policies are supposed to be there to protect the interests of the public for whom all planning and development is supposed to be benefiting. The public don t have the resources or powers to directly implement or refuse development, and the only influence they have over development and over specific planning applications are planning policies which explicitly protect their interests. Hence their views on such matters are crucial. This is doubly important if the EiP is expected to evaluate evidence of the realities of what is actually happening on the ground rather than believe the self-serving PR from many of the institutional and commercial sector respondents.
6. There is a clear lack of equality of arms – especially the imbalance in time, money and resources available to voluntary and community groups compared to the other sectors – in the consultation over the EiP and planning policies generally. Institutional and commercial sectors have full time officers and can hire PR and lawyers to put their case systematically and at length.
7. Despite unsuccessful lobbying (eg by the Just Space Network) for administrative and financial support for the active participation of the voluntary and community sector so they can better take part in the whole EiP process, a number of such organisations have managed to respond with their views. This has been a big challenge for us, and there must be thousands of other voluntary and community groups who would have liked to have responded on these important matters if they had had the time, resources, encouragement and support to get through what is a very complex process. Despite the efforts of those who did respond, many organisations must have been demoralised to have been rejected as participants at the appropriate sessions. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of them have not felt able to respond by today – we ourselves have just about managed to only because we have benefited from the advice and support from the under-resourced London Tenants Federation and the Just Space Network
8. We fervently hope that this situation can be rectified at this stage. One way of doing that would be to ensure that umbrella bodies like the London Tenants Federation and the Just Space Network have the maximum possible input into all the sessions they have sought to attend.
9. Finally we were amazed that Friends of the Earth (Jenny Bell [Bates – ed]) were missed out of the list of participants. As climate change is the number one issue we all face we strongly support their particpation in all the sessions they seek to attend.
sincerely, Dave Morris, Secretary, HFRA