WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

We, the people of Church Street, should be fully involved in the plans for its future

15 September, 2017

• WE, the Church Street ward community, have always welcomed Westminster Council’s offer of regeneration for our neighbourhood, a place that, although neglected, over time has survived and grown into a wonderfully diverse and energetic area.

Therefore, and because of our belief that our neighbourhood is special, we have, in good faith, generously thrown our volunteer efforts over many years into supporting the council along this path of much-needed renewal.

We note with grave concern, however, the decision by the council to develop a masterplan for the Church Street ward with almost no resident or stakeholder involvement – a typical top-down planning approach which denies the earlier promise of commitment to inclusive involvement with the local community and which flies in the face of the public vote in May 2013. We are very disappointed.

The council has announced a so-called “public consultation period” but we note that this is meant to commence today (September 7) after an apparently exhaustive, and undoubtedly expensive, process, while the masterplan has been thoroughly researched and fully developed.

We feel input from local people would have contributed greater value to the project and the process would have been more inclusive and respectful of the original work processes promised by the council.

The Church Street Ward Neighbourhood Forum (CSWNF) will examine the masterplan on offer very carefully, with the needs and interests of the whole Church Street community in mind.

We will use our extensive first-hand knowledge of the area and release an update to this statement soon – an update which will explain our next steps as we see them to be required, and as agreed with the community.

We are asking the city council finally to start engaging with residents and stakeholders in a meaningful way, taking into account the priorities of what they want to see happening in their neighbourhood in a way that is open to genuine modifications of the masterplan now presented.

ACHIM VON MALOTKI
for and on behalf of CSWNF

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