Who Has The Power In The Planning System?

Civic Voice

is the national charity for the civic movement, working with communities to make conservation areas more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive.

They ask “Who has the power in the planning system? Is this a true reflection? What do you think? Is the lack of trust in the planning system related to where the power sits? Should we rebalance power?”

Housebuilders/developers have 40% of the power in the Planning System! Joan Humble, Chair of Civic Voice said: “Recent research undertaken by Grosvenor Britain & Ireland found that the public has a significant distrust of the planning process. Just 2% of the public trust developers and only 7% trust local authorities when it comes to planning for large-scale development. We can either ignore this research and carry on as we are and continue to face the same challenges in building the homes the nation needs, or we can accept that the system is not working for local people and do something about it.

Our call is simple. We are calling for an Accessible, Balanced and Collaborative Planning System to ensure everyone has a meaningful voice to shape where they live.

Civic Voice is also calling for the Government to:
• Introduce a ‘pre-application community consultation stage’ and a ‘limited community right of appeal’ into the planning system.
• Strengthen Statements of Community Involvement (SCIs) so that the statements set out, in accessible Plain English, how the local authority and developers will be expected to meaningfully engage with local communities on planning.
• Introduce an ‘Office for Public Participation’ to oversee standards and consistency in public consultations. For major developments it would be an independent ‘honest broker’ to carry out the pre-application consultation with the local community, removing any perceived conflict of interest for the developer.
• Utilise planning technology in decision making so that we go from talking to the ‘already engaged’ to having ‘everyone engaged’ in shaping our towns, cities and villages.

Ian Harvey, Director of Civic Voice, suggests “We have a planning system that may not be completely broken, but it certainly needs re-balancing and fixing to work better for communities. Doing so will ensure we build a modern planning system with communities at the heart. With these changes, we believe we can build the homes that we need and ensure that everyone in England can say, ‘we care about where we live’.”

Remember when there was 96.3% support for the Burscough parish poll rejection of the Yew Tree Farm housing development, and the 4,000 signatories to the Parliamentary petition against it? That was a civic voice! It went ahead anyway! And remember that Newburgh Tory Cllr Pope lives in Lathom, an area not known for raw sewage rising up from inadequate drains. Borough Cllr since 2006, is now a recently elected County Cllr for Burscough, (which IS known for raw sewage rising up from inadequate drains) and Rufford. He’s not a Burscough civic voice!

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