The first Annual General Meeting of the Forum took place at International Students House on Thursday 28th January 2016.
The primary purpose of the meeting was to elect the Forum Committee to manage the creation of a neighbourhood plan on behalf of members, residents, businesses and the working population of Marylebone.
In excess of one hundred members attended for what proved to be a lively and occasionally acrimonious discussion which highlighted matters of concern to members.
The meeting commenced with a brief review by Kevin Coyne (Acting Chair) of the original thinking behind the formation of the Forum and a description of the three years of work which had been necessary to achieve designation.
The election of the Committee followed. As there were 20 candidates for a maximum of 26 positions on the committee it was agreed (after some debate on the subject) that the resident and non resident candidates should be proposed as panels. Both groups were adopted by a substantial majority.
The following committee members were proposed and confirmed by a majority show of hands:
Simon Loomes – Portman Estate
Kay Buxton – Marble Arch London (BID)
Andrew Wilson – Howard de Walden Estate
Canon Rev Stephen Evans – Faith Groups
Kevin Coyne – Educational establishments
Steven Medway – New West End Company (BID)
Michael Meadows – British Land
Penny Alexander – Baker St Quarter (BID)
Matthew Rivett – Oriental Club
Kerstin Bowers – Ridgeford Properties
The following Officers were proposed and confirmed by a majority show of hands
Chair: Kevin Coyne
Secretary: Andrew Wilson
Treasurer: Hugh Small
A presentation from Tony Burton followed. Tony is one of the leading lights in the Localisation movement and provided an update on progress across the UK with particular reference to London where we heard that Westminster was one of the leading boroughs for neighbourhood planning, with virtually the whole borough covered by neighbourhood forums or applications pending for them. The point was made that all of those in central Westminster have been designated as “Business” areas –requiring close cooperation between residents and local business to achieve success. A copy of the presentation can now be found on the Marylebone Forum website here.
A presentation was then made by Brendan O’Neil of COH – Town planning specialists with particular experience of neighbourhood planning. There have already been employed by the Forum to carry out initial scoping work on the possible areas of focus for the Neighbourhood Plan. Brendan talked about their findings and outlined ways in which a plan could be helpful to Marylebone. A copy of the presentation can now be found on the Marylebone Forum website here.
Following this questions were taken form the floor on the presentations and this moved on to a more general question and answer session. Amongst the concerns highlighted were:
– Some aspects of the current Constitution
– The significance of “Business” designation
– Improved proactive communication
– The Chair undertook that the Committee would revue these concerns now that it is in a position to move forward
– The Chair concluded by thanking members of the working party /steering committee for their work over the past three years , the local Councillors for their support and all of the Members present for their interest and involvement.