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Topic: Local civic activist recognised as a Woman of Influence

Local civic activist recognised as a Woman of Influence
23 Mar 2021 16:19 #5942

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"Jane gives back and really cares about communities having a voice in the planning system" (Excerpt from the citation for Jane Maggs in The Planner's list of Women of Influence)

A local civic sector activist has been named as a Woman of Influence by a professional planning journal in view of her contribution to the development of an innovative method of involving the wider community in shaping local development proposals.

Jane Maggs, vice chair of  Southgate District Civic Voice (SDCV), was included in its annual list of Women of Influence by the specialist journal The Planner in recognition of her leading role in organising a community planning weekend in 2019. This gave the local community an opportunity to come together to discuss and respond to the proposals for a 17-storey tower block close to Southgate station.

The controversial plans for redevelopment of Southgate Office Village were eventually turned down by the council's planning committee. The principles employed in the community planning event have since been recognised by the government, which has included community panels and civic societies in national planning guidance.

Women of Influence 2021

women of influence logo"Jane gives back and really cares about communities having a voice in the planning systemOver the last 18 months, Jane was instrumental in organising a community planning weekend to encourage the wider community of Southgate to come together to discuss and respond to a particularly controversial large development proposal in Southgate town centre, called Southgate Office Village. Concerned that the planning application for a 17 storey tower was becoming increasingly contentious locally and political, Jane approached Civic Voice to see if we could help her to facilitate a series of workshops to reduce the temperature of the debate locally, explain what’s actually being proposed and encourage the local community to ‘have their say’.

"Civic Voice helped to facilitate the sessions, but Jane led the organisation, publicity and developed excellent working relationships with local councillors, MPs, local authority officers, businesses, and community groups to ensure a good attendance and discussion on the day and at the follow up feedback session. The sessions were held in June 2019 and had over 250 people participating. All organised in less than six weeks for approximately £300, with greater public participation than the developer’s PR consultants had achieved. The weekend gave local residents, politicians and anyone interested time to understand, raise and discuss the implications of the planning application and consider alternative ideas.

"Since this, Jane has presented her work and an overview of the process the society undertook to other civic societies at various Civic Voice events over the last year. Her work on the Southgate Office Village inspired us at Civic Voice to see the potential of ‘community panels’ and a role for civic societies in encouraging the wider community to get involved and shape local development proposals. This has led to us successfully campaigning for community panels and civic societies now being named in National Planning Guidance."

Source: www.theplanner.co.uk/features/women-of-influence-2021#Third

Links

Southgate Office Village redevelopment: Sounding out the wider community viewpoint Palmers Green Community 26 June 2019

Jane Maggs Southgate District Civic Voice named by Planning Magazine as a Woman of Influence Civic Voice website, March 2021

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Local civic activist recognised as a Woman of Influence
25 Mar 2021 09:49 #5943

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Skims over the disastrous impact of her activism on SOV. Whole thing now getting developed anywhere into rubbishy flats, creating just as much pressure on local services and schools (including the one my toddler will be competing to get into) yet with NO s.106 and NO CIL payments. So we get a shed load of flats. More pressure on local services. More competition for school places. More stress on our creaking road system and NO financial compensation to tackle these issues.

All 100% predictable.

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Local civic activist recognised as a Woman of Influence
25 Mar 2021 16:44 #5945

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David Eden wrote: Skims over the disastrous impact of her activism on SOV. Whole thing now getting developed anywhere into rubbishy flats, creating just as much pressure on local services and schools (including the one my toddler will be competing to get into) yet with NO s.106 and NO CIL payments. So we get a shed load of flats. More pressure on local services. More competition for school places. More stress on our creaking road system and NO financial compensation to tackle these issues.


David, the recognition was for her role in allowing local people to influence planning, not for the particular outcome. Do you not believe that people should be able to express their opinions? You're pretty good at expressing your own, and often in a rather unpleasant way. Do you think that developers should be able to do whatever they want regardless of the consequences for people living in and passing through an area? I personally believe that despite the attack on the concept of the commons over recent centuries there is such a thing and that "ownership" of a bit of the earth's surface does not give the "owners" carte blanche.

You only have to visit the US to see how ugly towns can be when money (ie biggest bang for the buck) and "ownership" trump aesthetics. I don't believe that local people should have a veto on what can be complex issues, but there should be a meaningful dialogue and the sessions that Jane arranged provided an improved way of facilitating that dialogue.

And it is also helpful when it comes to the planning committee system, which to me seems flawed. So much depends on the handful of councillors on the committee, who may be prejudiced or open-minded, stick in the muds or imaginative, lazy or conscientous. (Having said that, I don't know what the alternative might be.)

As it happens (and at the risk of becoming persona non grata locally), my personal view is that the Southgate towers would not have had a negative visual impact (though I have reservations about the suitability of tall buildings from the residents' point of view and from a sustainability angle about demolishing so many buildings and using large quantities of concrete, which is a significant source of greenhouse gases). The new towers might also have drawn the eye away from the hideously ugly building at the top of Chase Road that completely ruins the appearance of Southgate Circus when looking northwards. The other major problem with Southgate Circus and Chase Side is that its aesthetics are spoilt by an infestation of cars. Contrast how it looks now with photographs of the wonderful tube and bus stations taken in the 1930s.

(The tower blocks proposed for Enfield Town are, however, another matter - completely unsuitable for the centre of an ancient market town.)

However, none of this detracts from Jane's valuable work.

Nor does it alter the fact that, despite several warnings, David's post contains an unpleasantly phrased personal attack. I am therefore banning him for six months, after which time any repeat will mean an immediate permanent ban.

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