December 18th, 2020
Sudbury Town Residents Association
It has been my great pleasure this year to work with STRA on a couple of occasions. In September it came to notice that despite putting in considered submissions to the Brent Draft Local Plan consultations, STRA had not been notified about the forthcoming examination in public and therefore did not know about it. By the time they did come to know about it, their time for making submissions to appear and make representations had expired. We fought hard to be allowed to participate in the examination. And would say thanks to the administrator for recognising the importance of community representation and also fighting our corner with the Inspectors for late admittance – we understand this is not always the case. ELF was able to instruct Michael Brett a fantastic junior barrister at FTB who helps ELF a lot at considerably reduced fees for a 3 week examination. STRA had a lot to make representations on, with the result that they participated in 85% of the examination. This has been to the great benefit of the local community, amongst many local policy improvements for the community they were able to strengthen local policy on protecting important green community space from development creep, including Maybank Open Space and Vale Farm.
STRA were the only community voice in the entire 3 week examination of the draft local plan for Brent. Brent’s population is over 350,000 people and includes Wembley and Kilburn. They were a single voice. But through their effective participation, with good representation, they were able to significantly influence local policy for Sudbury and that is what a community voice has the power to do. With the Government’s proposed changes to the planning system, removing individual planning applications and thereby an important layer of community participation in decision making, with the ambition that there is total shift to good community consultation wholly at the plan making stage, it seems to me that they have a long way to go and significant resources will need to be made available to communities.
ELF would also like to express thanks to STRA for their generous pledge last week to ELF at The Funders Network and Environmental Funders Network life pitch event. Their generous support allows us to continue the work that we do.