The idea of creating a Neighbourhood Plan for Knighton arose from a discussion at the Knighton Ward Community Meeting on 15th December 2014.
An initial meeting was held at St Guthlac’s Church on 20th January 2015, chaired by Councillor Lynn Moore. This was attended by about 30 people, including all three councillors, and there was a majority of those present who felt that the possibility of developing a Neighbourhood Plan should be explored. A small working group was formed to find out more and report back. The report-back meeting was subsequently set for 24th March 2015.
The working group met a number of times, considered the area for the Neighbourhood Plan and organised a meeting on 24th March 2015 at Knighton Parish Centre, which was publicised by posters in shops, public buildings, places of worship, schools and on lamp-posts in the Knighton area, as well as to those who had attended the January meeting.
The meeting on 24th March 2015 was attended by 47 people. Members of the working group reported back on what they had found out about Neighbourhood Planning and how it works, including an example from Exeter. There was considerable discussion at the meeting about the area, and strong feelings that it should include the catchment area for the Overdale Schools and that it should include the area of West Knighton to the west of Welford Road. It was agreed to go ahead with the formation of a Neighbourhood Forum, and enough people signed up to be members of the Forum to meet the requirement of 21 people who live, work and are councillors in the area. (The actual membership of the Forum will be finalised once the area has been formally designated by the City Council and the Forum is properly constituted, so it is still very much open to people who want to get involved.)
A meeting of the group to create the Neighbourhood Forum was held on 20th May 2015, and a revised area was discussed. After some discussion, the area was accepted by the meeting with no objections. This area was sent to Leicester City Council Planning Department as the proposed designated area and was the subject of the consultation starting on 1st September 2015.
A subsequent meeting was held on 23rd June 2015 at which the draft constitution was discussed. Members of the group creating the Forum attended the Overdale Schools’ Fete on 27th June 2015 to publicise the emergent forum to a wider audience.
A meeting on 25th August approved the constitution. The group had a stall at Knighton Park Fun Day on 6th September to raise funds and to talk to as many people as possible about the idea of creating a Neighbourhood Plan.
The City Council held a consultation on the Neighbourhood Area in September and October. The consultation resulted in some minor changes to the boundary of the area as a result of comments in the consultation. The agreed area was approved at the meeting on 24th November 2015, at which arrangements for the election of officers and steering committee were also discussed.
In December 2015 the Forum applied to the City Council for designation as the Neighbourhood Forum for the approved designated area.
A launch meeting was held on 26th January, addressed by Sir Peter Soulsby, the City Mayor. Around 80 people gathered to hear Sir Peter support the development of Neighbourhood Forums in Leicester and welcome the launch of Knighton Neighbourhood Forum. A Steering Group was elected at the meeting.
In February and March, three meetings were held at schools in different parts of Knighton to give people across the area a chance to discuss topics of interest to them.
A workshop on Writing Effective Policy was held on 5th April 2016, and the Steering Group met shortly afterwards to begin the process of identifying potential themes for consultation.
The City Council began a consultation on the designation of the Forum in May 2016, which finished on 4th July 2016. We finally heard that the formal designation of the Forum had been approved in September.
Fabian Best and Rachael Mkanza of the City Council spoke about the relationship between the Neighbourhood Plan and the City’s Local Plan at the September meeting. Since then we have responded to a consultation on the Scoping Document for the Local Plan.
TheTransport Working Group was launched in October and has met twice.
The Open Spaces, Sports and Leisure (OSSL) Working Group started meeting in January and the AGM took place on 28th February. At the AGM the existing Committee was re-elected with the addition of Matt Stevenson as Treasurer.
During 2017, the Transport and OSSL Working Groups have continued to meet. A meeting was held to launch a working group on the Local Economy, but no members attended, so this has not been taken forward. In the late summer, the City Council launched a consultation on aspects of the Local Plan for Leicester, and the Forum has been reviewing the documents and will respond to the consultation.
A baseline report on Knighton has been prepared using census and other data, and will be launched in the autumn.
Knighton Neighbourhood Forum has received funding from Leicester City Council through the Ward Community Budget and from Locality through the national scheme to support the development of Neighbourhood Planning.