The Pimlico Neighbourhood Plan has now passed its Examination Stage and is now ready for the referendum which will bring it fully to life
Importantly the independent Examiner has concluded that, with some modifications that she has set out, the Plan meets the requirements to proceed to referendum. As mentioned below the Plan aims to ensure the village feel of the area is maintained particularly in relation to the heights of any new buildings.
The Plan is required to
- set out policies for the sustainable development and use of land in the designated Forum Area,
- reflect the wishes of the local community after broad consultation both with residents and a wide range of interested parties notably Westminster City Council (WCC), and
- be in line with the WCC’s City Plan, the Mayor of London’s London Plan and National Planning Policy.
With some modifications to the final draft all these conditions have been met. In her overview the Examiner says
“I congratulate the Pimlico Neighbourhood Forum for producing a Plan which covers an extensive range of issues for this intensively developed and historical area within Central London, with its vibrancy and diversity.”
The modifications required are to ensure the Plan is not in conflict with WCC’s City Plan. Indeed some had been negotiated between the Forum and WCC during the preparation for the examination phase and then accepted by the Examiner. All these suggestions are accepted by the Forum Steering Group who agree with the Examiner’s conclusion that the final Plan will be
“… sufficiently robust to influence and manage the development of Pimlico over the next 18 years.”
The Examiner’s report and the definitive Plan will be available on line and we will publish the links when available. In the meantime here are some key recommendations:
- The policy on building heights in Pimlico has been left as submitted with only minor textual changes. This means that, in considering developments within Pimlico, WCC must have regard to the average height of the locality as set out in the Plan and restrict development in excess of this, so that, in the words of the Examiner:
“… the character of Pimlico … is protected.”
- Mansard Policy – the Plan proposed simplifying the rules that apply when considering mansard development to existing buildings. The Examiner accepted WCC’s arguments that, being prescriptive, these rules conflicted with the City Plan – instead they will be factors to be taken into account in any particular case. While the rules, which were broadly welcomed by residents, have not been entirely lost, it remains to be seen how this will work out in practice.
- The Wilton Road/Warwick Way public realm policies have been agreed subject to modifications negotiated with WCC which strengthen them. This should be helpful in relation to ongoing discussions with WCC on this issue. The Examiner noted:
“Policy PIM 22 [concerning] Wilton Road/Warwick Way public realm, should enhance the Central Activity Zone Retail Cluster [this is the retail and hospitality area around Witon Road, Warwick Way and Churton Street] and make it a more attractive destination for shoppers and visitors. I strongly support the aims of the policy…”
Overall, we believe that the Plan, as agreed by the Examiner, will help to deliver for residents the Vision for Pimlico agreed at the outset whenever WCC has to decide local planning issues and is therefore fully fit for the purpose residents have endorsed.
Working with WCC we will include the Examiner’s comments to produce a definitive Plan. WCC will then set a date for a referendum of all the persons on the Electoral Register within the Forum Area. A positive vote will mean that WCC must take the Plan into account when deciding planning applications.
The referendum will hopefully take place in early Summer. We will keep you posted and whenever the referendum is held please VOTE YES for the Plan.
Update on progress of the Pimlico Neighbourhood Plan
We are now getting closer to the referendum on the Pimlico Neighbourhood Plan. The Plan aims to deliver the Vision for Pimlico agreed in 2017.
- In October 2021, the Independent Examiner, Jill Kingaby, was appointed to consider the draft Plan and whether it conformed to National, London and Westminster City strategic planning policies.
- On 10 February 2022, PNF and Westminster City Council jointly submitted a “Statement of Common Ground” responding to comments made on the Plan when it was consulted on last Summer.
- We expect shortly to receive the Examiner’s report and we hope and expect her to say that the Plan is fit to proceed to a referendum, subject to any specific modifications that she has decided. This is standard for a Neighbourhood Plan that has reached this stage.
- We would then expect a referendum to take place in June.
Every resident in the Forum Area on the Electoral Roll will be able to vote and we hope that you will support us in getting people to vote for the Plan.
As announced in the previous newsletter, our 2021 AGM will be held on Tuesday 5 October 2021 at 7.30pm at St Saviours Church Hall in St George’s Square
We look forward to seeing our members there and to updating them on progress with developing a Plan for our area. Here are the papers for the meeting:
- Minutes of the 1st May 2019 AGM
- 2020 Annual Report
- 2020-2021 Accounts
If you are a member and haven’t done so already, could you please confirm by email whether you expect to attend, so we can make suitable arrangements for social distancing?
Subscribers who are not members also receive this newsletter for information only. If they live, work or own a business in the Pimlico Area they are welcome to join the Forum.
Latest news on Pimlico Planning!
A short update on 3 areas of interest for our Neighbourhood Forum.
Consultation on draft Pimlico Neighbourhood Plan
Westminster City Council’s Reg 16 Consultation on the draft Pimlico Neighbourhood Plan ended on 23 August. The responses received can be found here; we were pleased and grateful for the many supportive messages of residents. The Forum steering group is now considering these responses, in particular whether and how any comments require any change. The next formal stage is the appointment of an Independent Examiner to consider the Plan in the light of the consultation.
Public Realm scheme in Warwick Way
Having launched a study as part of a wider “Pimlico Placemaking” on a longer term vision for the central area of Pimlico, the Council is now consulting on whether to extend the temporary al fresco dining arrangements in Warwick Way beyond the end of September as a further temporary measure. It is also consulting on continuing arrangements in those areas outside Pimlico where there is interest in longer term schemes.
The draft Neighbourhood Plan makes clear that the public realm in Wilton Road and Warwick Way (our central shopping and dining area) has not received significant investment or capital maintenance and needs improving to support the environment for shops, restaurants, pubs and other businesses.
The consultation ends on 26 September and we would like to encourage residents and local businesses to take part.
We intend to hold our 2021 Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 5 October at 7.30pm at St Saviours Church Hall in St George’s Square: please hold the date, members will receive soon the full agenda and papers for the meeting. In order for us to make suitable arrangements for social distancing, could those expecting to attend please let us know by email? Thank you!
Warwick Way / Wilton Road / Denbigh Street public realm
Following last Summer’s hospitality scheme for Warwick Way and Wilton Road, which has been reinstated this Summer, Westminster City Council has started to consider how the public realm in the central area of Pimlico – Warwick Way / Wilton Road / Denbigh Street and adjacent streets – can best be improved. This is within the context of a larger piece of work on “Pimlico placemaking”.
For the central area, as we see it there are three core objective and priorities:
- Improving public realm to make the shopping and dining experience of the central area more attractive and to improve the environment for business;
- Reduce harmful effects of through traffic in our area, in particular improve air quality, because it is very largely residential; and
- Better manage and reduce antisocial behaviour which businesses have told us is a serious concern of theirs at the moment.
Beyond the central area, we are keen to see improvements in public realm and planting which enhance the four conservation areas and the green and other open spaces while respecting our special architectural heritage. Westminster has committed to consult on specific options for the central area and to consult on and develop a range of projects for wider Pimlico (including Churchill Gardens) before anything is implemented.
Formal Neighbourhood Plan Consultation 28 June to 23rd August
On 29 May we told you that the Pimlico Neighbourhood Forum had submitted the revision of its Neighbourhood Plan to Westminster City Council. The Plan is intended to deliver the vision for Pimlico with policies particularly suited to ensure development conserves and enhances the “village” and its amenities. Westminster is now consulting formally on the Plan under Regulation 16 of the Neighbourhood Planning Regulations 2012 (as amended). Representations should be made by email no later than 5pm on 23 August 2021 (we would be grateful if you could also send us a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org).
We expect the next steps to be:
- Late August: Independent Examiner appointed by Westminster Council
- Around End 2021: Examination concludes
- February / March 2022: Referendum of residents in the Forum Area. If adopted, the Neighbourhood Plan will become part of Westminster’s statutory Development Plan and will be used alongside the Council’s own planning documents and the Mayor’s London Plan in determining planning applications in the Pimlico Neighbourhood Area.
Pimlico Neighbourhood Forum Steering Group has submitted the revised draft of the Neighbourhood Plan to Westminster City Council. This means that we have started the home run to get our Neighbourhood Plan completed.
This is the culmination of four years work with local residents and businesses and you can find the revised draft Plan and associated documents on a new page of this website.
We expect Westminster to begin its formal consultation on our Plan by the end of June 2021 and hope that we will be able to get to the referendum stage by February/March of next year.
We’d be delighted to come and talk further to Residents Associations about the Plan and its policies (email us) and would like to thank you all for your help in getting to this stage.
As you may have noticed, Westminster City Council has recently (January 2021) withdrawn the one-way system and removed the outdoor seating arrangements for pubs, cafes and restaurants in Warwick Way.
This was done in the light of the need to consider certain knock-on traffic impacts and taking account of the winter weather, the second lockdown and the requirement to relocate Tachbrook Market temporarily.
Residents and businesses have told us that the interventions last year were a big success in the extremely difficult circumstances of the aftermath of the first lockdown. The Pimlico Neighbourhood Forum is working with the Residents Associations and local Councillors to help the Council devise a plan to repeat this success as soon as circumstances permit. Following the success of the temporary arrangements the same groups are working with the Council to look at what could be done permanently to reflect the Forum vision of a vibrant commercial area supporting our community.
In the meantime, it would help the Forum if members could quickly give us some feedback about what worked and what didn’t work with the Summer 2020 arrangements and what improvements would help (bearing in mind that the barriers were very much what was functional and available at short notice). Please get in touch via email@example.com.
1st MARCH UPDATE
Thank you to all members of the Forum and readers of this announcement who sent us their feedback! We forwarded all the responses (suitably anonymised) to Westminster City Council to help inform their thinking, along with a summary position from the Forum.
Despite Covid-19 and after one more technical consultation, we hope to be able to finalise the Neighbourhood Plan for approval by referendum in the second half of 2021!
We are delighted to announce that Pimlico Neighbourhood Forum has been re-designated for a further 5 years. This means that your organisation will be able to continue its work on finalising the Neighbourhood Plan.
We have revised the draft Plan that was consulted on in Summer 2019 and we expect to start a technical “screening” consultation with statutory bodies very soon, ending in late February. We hope that the Plan will pass muster at this stage and that following that process we will be able to submit the Plan to Westminster for consultation with the local community so that it can proceed to examination by an independent examiner and then to a referendum of voters in our area.
The Plan will help deliver the Vision for Pimlico agreed by the Forum in 2017.
While the environment for the businesses based in Pimlico and those serving our Neighbourhood has changed in the last year, we think the vision still holds good and if anything even more describes what we aspire to for our “village”.
The Steering Group would be very pleased to talk to any residents associations or individual residents or businesses in our area to explain more about the Neighbourhood Plan and the process it has to go through: please drop us an email!
Finally, in these very strange and challenging times, we would like to send wishes for a Happy Christmas, and a healthy and safe New Year!
Because of Covid-19 we have been unable to hold our Annual General Meeting in person, as we had hoped, and we now want to update you on progress with the Forum since the last AGM.
The 2019-20 Annual Report is now published on this website and is also available as a PDF. We also publish our Annual Accounts.
Here is a very short outline of the Annual Report’s content:
Progress with Developing our Neighbourhood Plan
In late July last year we launched our first draft consultation of the Plan. It was met with general approval from residents and local Councillors. The Vision, and in particular the emphasis on vibrancy of the commercial centre, as well as protecting our heritage, the conservation areas and the preservation of the very limited amount of green and open space was strongly supported.
We are currently revising the Plan to take on board detailed comments and the next stage is a technical consultation with statutory bodies (e.g. Natural England and Historic England) to find out whether we need to undertake a full Strategic Environmental Appraisal or a Habitats Regulation Assessment. This is, we hope, a largely theoretical exercise given that Westminster will have done similar analysis in developing its own City Plans.
We would then hope to submit the revised Plan to Westminster around the end of the year for a further consultation and independent examination with the referendum taking place in Summer 2021.
Planning applications and other developments
The Forum can’t comment in detail on planning applications, but following the consultation on our Draft Plan, we may respond to major applications where there is already a clear and relevant view expressed by Forum members and the agreed Vision. Policies in the Plan will only have force after a successful referendum, but we have commented on the major application for the Wilton Road block opposite Sainsbury’s in respect of the height of the building and the extent of public realm (which is in short supply and in poor condition in that area).
In that vein, when the Council asked Neighbourhood Forums for their suggestions for transport and public realm improvements to help the hospitality and retail sectors recover from lockdown, we put forward an idea for discussion for Warwick Way/Wilton Road produced by one of our members. The issue of resolving competing demands for road and pavement space is accepted by our local Councillors and there is clearly a need for some significant improvement. The temporary scheme that the Council has delivered seems to have facilitated a re-opening of business which was far from certain and to have helped the small independent operators that are key to the character of Pimlico.
For the Steering Group
Peter Ruback, Chairman
The PNF Steering Group is pleased to report that Westminster City Council has now engaged with the ideas submitted by the Forum for a temporary transport scheme in the Warwick Way / Wilton Rd area to help local business recover from the Covid-19 lockdown.
In May the Council sought ideas to help the bounce back from lockdown. Our suggestions (23 May) were well received by the local community and our local Councillors have supported the sense of urgency about needing to widen pavements and reduce traffic to provide better conditions for shops and restaurants, customers, residents and local businesses.
On 16 June, the Council came back to the Forum with proposals that take into account and build on our ideas with their own plan: they want to remove one lane of motor traffic from Warwick Way between Guildhouse Street and Upper Tachbrook Street, allowing larger pavements for shops and the hospitality sector.
We welcome the move and look forward to a rapid roll-out of a scheme that helps Pimlico. We understand that in stage 2 of the Council’s Movement Strategy, which aims to help the hospitality sector recover from early July, there may be further developments and improvements across Westminster.
Supporting local businesses
Now more than ever it is important that we give the independent businesses that make up the Pimlico Village our support. Many restaurants and cafes have takeaway or delivery options and the market stalls and shops have stepped up to offer home deliveries. The most comprehensive local website with details of what’s on offer is here (scroll down to the shops). We also encourage businesses to sign up for the Shop Local map.
For the Steering Group
Peter Ruback, Chairman