Speaking to a reporter from Planning magazine about the recent London Assembly planning committee's study into neighbourhood planning, Stephen Tapper, the Society's Local & Neighbourhood Planning Subjct Specialist, said that councils differ over the degree to which they promote neighbourhood planning in their areas.
Tapper, who is also a former President of the Society, added that the Society always expected that neighbourhood planning would not be easy in urban areas. Creating neighbourhood forums within "complex, diverse and sometimes very poor neighbourhoods" is going to be difficult because communitoes are not so clearly defined. "The designations have taken a long time in London boroughs. It is hard to do, because these are overlapping communities with overlapping interests and in some places are very competitive."
Mike Kiely, Chair of the POS Board and Director of Planning at the London Borough of Croydon, commented that neighbourhood plans outside the capital have often aimed to influence where development should go. However, Kiely added, because London is largely brownfield land, the key planning issue is often the design of a scheme rather than its location. "For this reason there is much less neighbourhood planning activity," he said.