Last week, Chair of Civic Voice, Joan Humble led a delegation of civic society volunteers to a national conference hosted by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
We were offered ten places to attend by MHCLG to ensure that communities had a voice in the debates throughout the day. Our director, Ian Harvey, was also asked by the Government to host a session on ‘Meaningful engagement with communities’. Our attendance at this conference was very timely and another success for Civic Voice as we were offered more places to the conference, than any other organisation, outside of Government. We allocated the places to individuals from civic societies that have donated to our fundraising campaign, or are involved in our working group. All representatives are Civic Voice members.
In response to a question from Joan Humble, Sir Roger Scruton, who is leading the Building Better Commission said; ‘We will be calling Civic Voice to give evidence to our work. It is important that we have the voice of the community involved.’ Our delegates had the opportunity to talk to senior Government officials and key individuals involved in the delivery of housing. Our message was clear, we need more effective and more meaningful engagement in the planning system.
Our attendance at this event was quite timely, as last week, we started the first of our round-tables on the Building Better Commission and we have now received over 750 responses to our survey This is giving us a significant steer to inform our response to the Government’s review, but we now make an urgent call to all civic societies.
This is our time to make a difference. We can make a difference if we come together as a movement. It is important that we take it. If we believe in a better built environment, we need to work together to achieve it.