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Highgate community lay foundations for development at first meeting

PUBLISHED: 16:06 18 January 2013 | UPDATED: 23:32 21 January 2013

Highgate Neighbourhood Forum public meeting at Channing School. Pictured: Elspeth Clements, Maggie Meade-King and Simon Briscoe.

Highgate Neighbourhood Forum public meeting at Channing School. Pictured: Elspeth Clements, Maggie Meade-King and Simon Briscoe.

Archant

Parking woes and tribal alliances dominated the agenda at the first meeting of a new neighbourhood forum for Highgate - as the results of a survey conducted last year were put to the public.

Highgate Neighbourhood Forum public meeting at Channing School. Green stickers on the Ideas board show agreement and Red stickers show disagreementHighgate Neighbourhood Forum public meeting at Channing School. Green stickers on the Ideas board show agreement and Red stickers show disagreement

The Highgate Neighbourhood Forum, which was set up under the new Localism Act, will in the next few months help draft a development plan for Highgate.

It is the first such group in the area and will forge ahead with a ‘neighbourhood plan’ that will be funded in part by the Prince’s Foundation and local government.

At a meeting on Wednesday (January 16), attended by more than 80 residents, the forum’s analyst Simon Briscoe talked about the results of a survey carried out last year.

He detailed changes the community would like to see alongside a ‘Tribes of Highgate’ map to illustrate diversity in the area.

The map described eight distinct “tribes” and Mr Briscoe used the idea to highlight the importance of involving the whole community in the project.

“What is interesting about Highgate is that there are the extremely wealthy and then people on negligible income, living in poor housing,” said Mr Briscoe.

“That’s why a map is useful – when we’re thinking about moving a bus route or new shops, it’s useful to understand that people have different needs.”

He added: “The map is quite light, but once it is put together with the data and the survey and the suggestions, it will show that we are asking for the right things because we have thought about the whole community.”

Residents also set out their priorities for the future - in a list that was topped by parking, making better use of Pond Square, and making the high-street more friendly to those on foot.

Maggy Meade-King said that this is the first step of many in drafting a development plan and that the group will continue to receive input from the community.

She said: “We came away from Wednesday’s meeting with posters covered in post-it notes with suggestions.”

The next Neighbourhood Forum meeting will take place on Monday, January 28 at the Murugan Hindu Temple Hall in Archway Road.

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