Press Release

9th March 2018

Civic Voice publish results of a website poll asking “What should be the priorities for reforming the NPPF?”

Civic Voice President to speak at APPG for Civic Societies meeting on March 13th

Ahead of an All Party Parliamentary Group for Civic Societies meeting on Tuesday 13th March, Civic Voice – the authoritative voice for the civic movement - has today published results of a website poll asking, “What should be the priorities in reforming the planning system?

The poll can be accessed here and will continue to run until the start of the APPG for Civic Societies meeting on March 13th. Registration to attend is here

The website poll started on Monday 6th March to coincide with the launch of National Planning Policy Framework consultation. After 458 votes, 35% of respondents say that they want to see green spaces given better protection; followed by greater protection for the green belt with 23%. Not surprisingly and linking with the Civic Voice campaign on conservation areas, third highest is stronger protection against inappropriate development in a conservation area with 9% of votes.

Ian Harvey, Civic Voice said “We have started reading though the draft new NPPF to spot matters of possible relevance to Civic Voice and local communities. In general, it is welcome, but we do have areas of concern with issues such as the proposal to define centrally the scale of house building needed in each area. Some areas will have to build more, some less. It is a very blunt instrument, but we accept the present methodology is far from perfect. We are concerned at proposals to punish councils by making it harder for them to resist development and stopping bonus payments to them where the delivery of houses falls below certain targets. It is often outside Council control how quickly development is delivered. During the financial crash a few years ago building almost stopped and this was something Councils could not have prevented.

Harvey added “We very much welcome the statement that the concept of conservation should not be devalued through the designation of areas that lack special interest. This is something we have been calling for as it devalues the concept of conservation areas and means that the limited resources for positive conservation work are spread too thinly. Civic Voice is encouraging better conservation through our Big Conservation Conversation, so we are not surprised to see conservation area as a high item on this poll”

Based on the survey of 458 votes cast so far, the results of the Civic Voice poll so far find (in order) communities wanting:

  1. Green space better protected (35.33%)
  2. Greater protection and clarification on “exceptional circumstances” for development in the green belt (23.33%)
  3. Stronger protection against inappropriate development in a conservation area (9.11%)
  4. Plan positively for high quality design (7.78%)
  5. Stronger brownfield first for housing policies (7.11%)
  6. Other (6.22%)
  7. Community Right of appeal against granting of planning permission (5.78%)
  8. Stronger curbs on out of town development (3.33%)
  9. Earlier involvement of local communities through collaborative planning/neighbourhood planning (2%)

Ian Harvey, Civic Voice finished by saying “We issued this poll on Monday to get an early snapshot of what people see as the priorities for the NPPF consultation. Civic Voice wants to hear the experiences of the planning system at a local level and I call on civic societies, resident associations and town and parish councils to respond to the national review. We look forward to debating the NPPF with the APPG for Civic Societies and others. We will be sharing a full briefing on the NPPF with our members.”

Craig Mackinlay MP, Chair of the APPG for Civic Societies said:

“The revision of the National Planning Policy Framework implements around 80 reforms announced last year by the Government and retains an emphasis on development that’s sustainable and led locally, but with a stronger focus on both greater freedoms and greater responsibilities for councils to deliver for their communities.

“It includes an even stronger drive for increasing density, particular in areas where housing need is high, but not at the expense of quality, something Civic Voice strongly campaigns for.

“The APPG for Civic Societies look forward to this debate and I encourage people to respond to the draft NPPF consultation."