Community Voice, Representation and Dialogue

Community Voice, Representation and Dialogue

 

Competing local pressures around physical space redevelopment, commercial need and the cost of housing have combined to play a role both in the ongoing division and inequality within the Fitzrovia community and also the relationship of Fitzrovia to other, surrounding areas. 

While both Fitzrovia and neighbouring communities have access to a range of amenity societies, residents associations and consultative groups aimed at offering local people a say in their local area, the position of the neighbourhood across local authority and commercial district boundaries, and the fragmentation alluded to above, have combined to leave the area with a lack of unified voice and hence facing a number of barriers to shaping or resisting development. The national Localism agenda has added an additional dimension to this issue by allowing for the establishment of Local Area Forums with limited powers around planning and development in self-defined neighbourhoods. Currently Fitzrovia Centre sits in an area claimed by at least three of these proposed forums, all with markedly different ideas as to how Fitzrovia is demarcated and how it might or should develop into the future.

Fitzrovia Centre and the wider commercial, resident and voluntary organisations representing the area might usefully come together to establish issues around which joint representation might be feasible, and to negotiate area-wide positions (or at least positions based on valid an inclusive local research) which might be voiced on behalf of the neighbourhood as a whole. This work could extend to identifying differences and conflicts and working together with residents and workers from all sections of the local community to attempt resolution. While this activity would require buy in from a range of bodies, Fitzrovia Centre could take a lead by encouraging regular opportunities, both formal and informal – or standalone and ties to existing activities - for individuals and representatives to feed in to local debates and shape the debate.