Fitzrovia voice - part 2

Fitzrovia voice - part 2

Wendy Shillam is a member of the Fitzwest steering group

I’ve lived in Fitzrovia since 1997 worked here since 1986.  I continue to live here and run my business from home. I don't think the area has changed as much as some people seem to feel.  I found it quirky and friendly when I moved here, and I still do.  The changes have been more numerous and more interesting retail and cafes, which I personally welcome. For me the jury is out on whether the new developments will improve or dilute the area.  I welcome the fact that a bit more money is being spent around here, and I recognise that comes from the developers.

I think the mix of uses, and the diversity of the people is good. Inevitably I focus on the environmental issues, as that is my personal specialism. I find the general state of pavements particularly disagreeable. The conflict between car and pedestrian or cyclist use, and the lack of green space are negative yet there is no support for sustainability initiatives - why aren't we a transition area for example?. I think this area needs a place to meet and congregate. We need to welcome and integrate new residents and businesses; and support smaller, local and independent business.  I welcome the new community facilities.

In short, FitzWest has been convened in order that the neighbourhood can produce a neighbourhood plan under the powers of the Localism Act.  The founding members believed that it was important for an area undoing such change to take advantage of the new legislation, and we are currently consulting on our vision and objectives. FitzWest believes Fitzrovia should be a vibrant, prosperous, creative and connected neighbourhood, where people from all sectors and communities enjoy wellbeing, and work collaboratively to ensure that their living and working needs and interests are met in an inclusive and equitable manner.

Our mission is to ensure that Fitzrovia develops as a habitable, sustainable and neighbourly community through all means available including planning, collaborative working and community enterprise. We want to produce and help to implement a Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Development Plan that delivers the vision of the Forum and the wider community; to promote the social, economic and environmental well-being of the people of Fitzrovia with Westminster Council and other relevant bodies; and to help foster community spirit and encourage local democracy and civic pride.

Personally, I think the Community Centre is a fabulous resource and I'd like to see it supporting and hosting as diverse a series of events as possible, making use of the skills, knowledge and resources of people and businesses within the community.  Unlike many communities we have capacities here that should be engaged and used as resources. There is a patchwork of different organisations here and I'd like to see them working together more collaboratively.