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Council reopens consultation on Bermondsey neighbourhood planning

Southwark Council has reopened the official consultation process on proposals to draw up a neighbourhood plan for the Bermondsey area.

Between January and March 2013 the council held a six-week consultation on the conflicting proposals submitted by the Bermondsey Neighbourhood Forum and the Bermondsey Village Action Group for designation of 'neighbourhood areas' under the Localism Act.

Both groups want to draw up a neighbourhood plan – a planning policy document against which applications for new developments are assessed – but have proposed overlapping and mutually incompatible boundaries.

Now – a year later – the council has reset the clock on the consultation period.

"There was an error in the previous consultation mail out letter and therefore we are carrying out a further six-week consultation to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to submit their comments on the applications," said the council in a statement on its website.

According to correspondence from the council published online by BVAG, a barrister advising the council discovered that the letters sent out by the council to interested parties in January 2013 gave the wrong dates for the original consultation period.

A further consultation on both applications began on Friday and runs until Friday 21 March.

Last month the Bermondsey Neighbourhood Forum warned that the ongoing delays to the council's decision-making were "squeezing the life out of the process" of neighbourhood planning and made it difficult to keep volunteers enthused.

The final decision on the boundaries for a future Bermondsey neighbourhood plan is likely to coincide with the third anniversary of the Government's announcement that Bankside and Bermondsey would be 'frontrunners' for the coalition's flagship localism initiative.

Any neighbourhood plan will be subject to a referendum before it can be adopted as planning policy.

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