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Civic Voice opposes fresh planning reform

Campaign group Civic Voice is the latest organisation to speak out against the government’s plans to further reform the planning system

The national body called on the government to scrap its proposals at its annual general meeting.

Policies announced last month as part of a drive to boost house building included doubling permitted development rights for home extensions and allowing large schemes to be fast tracked to the planning inspectorate.

Delegates at the AGM voted unanimously in favour of the motion which urges the organisation’s 75,000 members to petition MPs to put pressure on the government to cancel the reforms.  

Opponents to the new planning reforms already include several local authorities, the Local Government Association and the London Assembly while earlier this month Johnson warned the policy could lead to more ‘garden grabbing’.

Civic Voice chair Paula Ridley said: ‘Civic Voice members reject the notion that good planning is a brake on the economy. On the contrary the best designed places are also the most economically successful. The barrier to house building arises from borrowing restrictions and economic uncertainty, not planning. Investors need certainty and introducing uncertainty through sudden changes to planning has negative consequences.’

She added: ‘Local communities have everything to lose. Neighbours will be pitted against each other which could leave everyday England bearing the brunt of damaging development.  We need a fair planning system that respects community views and protects everyday places while giving everyone a voice. These proposals are the antithesis of Localism.’

Steve Graham, director of Civic Voice, said: ‘If the Government is serious about Localism, they have to listen to the concerns coming forward from civic groups, resident associations and local councils. We agree with the Government that getting the economy moving is essential, but this proposal is not the answer.

‘Our members have today voted for us to coordinate a nationwide campaign to contact MPs informing them about the civic movement’s concerns. As the civic movement is the most numerous participant in the planning system, we hope the Government will listen to our concerns, and we will be carrying that message to Ministers in the next few weeks.’

 

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