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
Temporary transport schemes for Pimlico
– Our Draft Neighbourhood Plan has already identified that improving public realm in the Warwick Way and Wilton Road business area is a priority to help the area best meet the needs of residents, shoppers and diners. The lockdown is likely to end in early June for “retail” and early July for “hospitality”, but social distancing means action is needed even more urgently to help shops and restaurants reopen successfully and businesses and the community to bounce back.
The Department for Transport has helpfully set the way for local authorities to fast-track temporary measures to accommodate growth in pedestrian and cycling traffic. Westminster City Council has already published its thinking about the general steps it might take, but there are no specific proposals in Pimlico as yet.
The Pimlico Neighbourhood Forum Steering Group has put forward its own ideas, based on feedback when we consulted last year on our draft plan. We are very grateful for help from a Forum member who is a professional Transport Planner and modeller.
We wanted to tell members about this idea and seek your support and ideas on how to move it forward.
Temporary scheme proposal
The main idea is making Warwick Way one way – allowing only eastward journeys between Guildhouse St and Upper Tachbrook St (or Vauxhall Bridge Rd) for motor vehicles – and widening the pavements for pedestrians and restaurants and shoppers, perhaps separated from the road by planters, while allowing space for loading/delivery and cycling which is bound to increase. Wilton Road pavements, which are narrow near the junction, would also be widened. This would deal with the pressures from social distancing in our area as well as reducing through traffic (both starting and ending outside Pimlico).
This is not a final worked up scheme, but we think something like this could help deal with what will be serious pressures on public realm in the coming months.
We have sent the attached proposal to Westminster City Council officers so that Pimlico’s voice is heard as they develop their strategy and would be delighted if you could let us know what you think so we can continue to ensure input from our area. Please email us: email@example.com.
We were just about to write to our members with a “save the date” for early May for our Annual General Meeting…. that now seems premature in the light of the latest Government advice, so…..
First of all, we hope that you and your families are well and coping with these exceptional times.
Secondly, we will in the next few weeks be finalising and circulating the reports including an update of progress in the last year that we had hoped to be able to present to you at the AGM. In particular, we wanted to share with you how we were dealing with the responses we received in our consultation last Summer and the updating of the Neighbourhood Plan.
Thirdly, we recognise that many of our members are in those groups who have been asked to take particular care to avoid contracting Covid 19/Coronavirus and that some of you will be limiting your contacts. Westminster has a web page with more information and contacts should you need help or be concerned about anyone who might need help. There are also links to the NHS pages containing advice on who should stay at home and what that means in practice.
We know that many of the residents’ associations are organising their own contact arrangements and setting up networks to enable assistance with shopping and other matters should the need arise. This newsletter can also be found on our website, and we may update this 18 March 2020 Announcement with other useful links.
Pimlico’s special quality is that it is a village and we are sure that the village will want to offer both practical and moral support, so do please volunteer if you can or ask for assistance for yourself or a neighbour if you think it may be needed.
For the Steering Group
Peter Ruback, Chairman
We have received over 100 responses from local residents and from statutory consultees: thank you!
Our consultation on the draft of the Pimlico Neighbourhood Plan started on 31 July and ended on 10 October. We delivered postcards to residents in our area and posters in shops and public places helped to raise awareness about the plan. Thanks go to the shopkeepers and other local businesses for putting up our posters. Members of the Steering Group also held briefing meetings with local residents’ associations.
The overwhelming majority of the responses supported the preparation of the Plan and the vision for our area developed by the Neighbourhood Forum.
The Steering Group is now considering the detail of the responses and how they will be reflected in the Plan and the policies contained within it. We will report back early in the New Year.
We are also pleased to announce that as a result of the consultation, we now have 50 more members of the Forum. Welcome to all!
This is to confirm that the first statutory consultation on the draft Plan is open until Thursday 10 October 2019.
Comments can be made by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It would be helpful if you could input either to the draft Plan in general and/or by reference to the such of the specific Policies on which you wish to wish to comment.
Thank you for your interest and support!