Proposals to draw up a neighbourhood plan for the South Bank and Waterloo will take a step forward next week when an application is submitted to Lambeth and Southwark councils.
Neighbourhood plans – introduced by the coalition Government's Localism Act – are policy documents drawn up by local residents and businesses.
Once approved in a referendum, a neighbourhood plan becomes one of the criteria against which planning applications are decided by local councils.
Nearly two years have passed since the South Bank was designated as a 'frontrunner' for neighbourhood planning by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Now South Bank Employers' Group has brought together representatives of local businesses and community groups and interested residents to form the South Bank and Waterloo Interim Neighbourhood Forum.
This week the 80-strong group confirmed that it plans to apply as soon as next week to Lambeth and Southwark councils for designation as the neighbourhood forum for the area bounded by Blackfriars Road in the east, Lambeth Road in the south and the River Thames to the north and west.
The area west of Blackfriars Road, north of The Cut and east of the Lambeth/Southwark border has also been proposed for inclusion in the adjacent Bankside neighbourhood forum area.
Cllr Fiona Colley, Southwark's cabinet member for regeneration and corporate strategy, is faced with deciding between the competing proposals.
With a decision by Southwark on the boundaries of the Bankside neighbourhood forum area thought to be imminent, South Bank Employers' Group has already objected publicly and privately to the inclusion of the disputed area in Bankside rather than the South Bank.
Southwark Council has also been forced to grapple with overlapping proposals for neighbourhood forums in Bermondsey. Under the Localism Act a given piece of land can only be covered by one neighbourhood plan.
From the wider membership a steering group will be formed, composed of representatives of the following groups:
• Employees of large businesses (over 250 employees)
• Employees of small and medium-sized enterprises (1-250 employees)
• Representatives of tenants' and residents' associations
• Employees of large charities, cultural organisations or public services
• Employees or representatives of neighbourhood organisations
• Ward councillors
• Members of Parliament