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Ham and Petersham neighbourhood forum meets
The people of Ham and Petersham have been formulating the future of their neighbourhood.
About 100 turned out for a meeting this week, in which ideas were put forward in 12 key neighbourhood categories, including health, travel and community.
The area is the first in the borough to press on with a neighbourhood forum that will shape the future of their area, subject to a referendum.
Suggestions from the meeting at Grey Court School on Tuesday, September 10, included a new post office in Ham, boat services to Richmond and Kingston, more affordable housing and a Ham credit union.
The forum’s committee, made up of voluntary groups, residents, businesses and service providers, was confirmed at the meeting.
Vice-chairman of the Ham United Group Andrew Beedham, who has been fronting the forum’s progress, said the forum would be approved at a Richmond Council cabinet meeting on October 17.
Mr Beedham said: “What is quite unique about this forum compared with others is that we are linking the voluntary community sector with service providers and it’s that synergy between the two that will make this work.”
Ideas will be drafted into a neighbourhood plan, which needs to be in line with both national and local planning policy.
The Government has allocated £6.5m of funding for neighbourhood forums, with a maximum of £7,000 allocated to each.
Councillor David Williams, who represents the Ham and Petersham ward, said: “The community cohesion that we are developing is really good.
“I’m really delighted with the enthusiasm for planning our own future.”
Neighbourhood forums are rapidly catching on nationally, with more than 400 already designated and 750 communities engaged in neighbourhood planning.
Headteacher of Grey Court School Maggie Bailey, who chaired the forum meeting, said it was a perfect opportunity for community involvement.
She said: “This is about creating a brilliant neighbourhood forum with different people who have different voices and something that everyone feels they can contribute to.”
The process will likely take between 18 and 24 months and will end in a referendum.
The next meeting will take place on Tuesday, December 10, at 7pm at Grey Court School.
For information, visit hamandpetershamforum.org.
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