Civic Voice the national body to which many Civic Trusts belong, including the Guildford Society, have been reviewing the use of Statements of Community Involvement (SCIs).
As part of a research partnership between Civic Voice and the University of Reading a report (See link below) on the state of the SCIs has now been published.
SCIs are part of the Planning System but often ignored or not kept up to date. The report highlights there are significant issues to be addressed to make them meaningful documents
The government as part of the 2020 Planning White Paper proposed an aim of having a ‘world-class civic engagement and proactive plan making’.
Ian Harvey chairman of Civic Voice summed up the findings as:
"We need to be more honest and say that too many local authorities are developers are not good enough at engaging in a meaningful way. We need a system that champions community engagement, a system that ensures communities are involved in an early, continuous, and transparent process. A system that makes it easier for communities to hold local authorities to account over what they will say they will do. This report can help us move towards that system.”
The current SCI for Guildford is 10 years old (See link below). It could be improved to provide more detail on local resident groups that need to be consulted. This may mean agreeing a Heads of Agreement between the group and council on the consultation process. The Society believes it is important that local groups are properly recognised and included in the consultation process.
Help us make Guildford better
We want our town to be vibrant, attractive and liveable. We support development that brings a sense of place and enhances the best aspects of our town. If such aims can be embraced, we believe Guildford has the chance to lead the way in enabling sensitive and sustainable development.
Pressures for development are increasing. Planning rules are being eased. The Society’s commitment to standing up for Guildford is needed more than ever.
Getting involved allows the society to continue its work. We welcome new members, from every age and background. Membership provides an opportunity for you to contribute to the continued health of the town and surrounding area, and to meet other people who care about Guildford.