Civic Voice responds to the Government National Model Design Code and NPPF consultation

Civic Voice – the national charity for the civic movement with 76,000 members – has today responded tn the Government's National Model Design Code and National Planning Policy Framework consultation. 

Our response is available here.

Ian Harvey, Executive Director of Civic Voice, said: "Whilst we warmly welcome the National Model Design Code and its aims for good community  engagement within the local design code/guide process, we are more concerned with the wider reforms to community participation in the planning system. We know that civic societies add value to the planning process. Civic societies still remain the best route into the planning process for serious community involvement and engagement – and that role needs to be recognised somewhere."

The key issues are:

  • We are concerned that the delivery of high quality design will be undermined by the widening of permitted development rights preventing a planned approach to our town and city centres and by limited local authority resource, capacity and skills
  • Community engagement doesn’t have to be world class, it just needs to be meaningful. We fear the NMDC will be undermined by the PWP proposals for reformed community engagement in planning 
  • We welcome earlier engagement, but communities must still be given the right to consider and respond to individual planning applications.  Until an LA adopts a local guide/code, the local community must be able to continue to make representation on all individual planning applications.
  • Other design tools, in addition to design codes, are available and beneficial, but Government seems fixated on codes.

Ian finished by saying: "Our aim must now be to respond to the consultation, but to then prioritize thinking ahead of the Planning Bill in the Autumn. The planning system as we know it is changing, we must make the case and show the role that civic societies and community groups can play in a modern planning system." 

We expect a planning bill to come forward in 2021. Will you now join Civic Voice to help us position the civic movement as the driving force in’ local democracy and local involvement in planning. Join us today.