Roman Road Bow Referendum Question

We’ve had a few messages asking how should residents vote this Thursday regarding the Roman Road Bow Neighbourhood Plan Referendum. The short answer is: we would never tell folk how to vote! We all have our own views. Have a read below and “do a Google”.

Most people in the area were surprised to receive a polling card for the referendum through their letter box a few weeks ago. Actually this referendum has been a long time “in the oven”.

The idea of the plan was first put forward in 2016 by the Roman Road Trust and it has taken tonnes of effort initially from the Trust, but then the local forum consisting of residents putting the man hours in to get the plan together and to go through all the necessary governmental hoops. The council and an independent inspector have examined it and established it meets all the regulatory requirements.

This referendum asks the simple question:

“Do you want the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Roman Road Bow to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”

You can find out more on the council website, including viewing the neighbourhood plan and the notice of referendum.

What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

In simple terms, a Neighbourhood Plan is a document that sets out planning policies for the neighbourhood area (in our case Bow). The plan’s policies are used to decide whether to approve planning applications in the area. It’s written by the local community, the people who know and love the area, rather than the Local Planning Authority, and it is a powerful tool to ensure the community gets the right types of development, in the right place.

The key is that it helps give the people of Bow a greater voice in planning applications.

The main themes of the plan are:

  1. A thriving high street and local economy
  2. Green streets that encourage walking and cycling
  3. Beautiful public spaces
  4. New life for our local heritage
  5. High quality affordable housing
  6. A resilient and well-networked community infrastructure

The full plan can be read here. Although the neighbourhood plan is 48 pages long, it is well laid out and full of lots of photos and graphics and so is not as imposing as it sounds.

Former Isle of Dogs Councillor Andrew Wood has written a pretty neutral and informative twitter thread about the pros and cons. It is well worth a read.

If you live in Bow West or Bow East, then regardless of whether you are for or against it, then get out there and vote this Thursday in the Roman Road Bow Referendum..