asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that local authorities are receiving for approval plans of new buildings, notwithstanding that construction is not permitted during the war; that such approvals would normally be valid for the next three years and that these plans are being lodged in order to defeat such decisions as Parliament may make with regard to future planning; and what steps he has taken to safeguard the public interest?
I am aware that applications are sometimes made for permission for development for which the applicant would not be able to obtain a building licence, but I have no evidence that this practice is widespread. The present obligations of local authorities as regards interim development are under review in connection with proposed legislation from the point of view of preventing prejudice to future planning.
There is another side to that. The fact that a developer may put his plans before the local authority now, although he knows that he cannot get a building licence at present, does not necessarily mean that he is trying to overcome possible planning restrictions. It may be due to a desire to clear away formalities so that he may commence building as soon as circumstances permit.