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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether he has yet considered all the comments and criticisms sent to him regarding the draft Regulations for the control of outdoor advertisements which he circulated last year to a number of organisations; and whether he will make a statement.
I must apologise for a somewhat long Answer. I have now considered the comments of the bodies representing amentity and other interests, local authorities, the advertising industry and retail trade, to whom I circulated draft new Regulations last year. The draft Regulations, besides seeking to consolidate the existing code, proposed changes of substance on three main topics—advertisements on business premises, the advertisements permitted in areas of special control, and the machinery of control.
On the second and third of these topics, the comments reveal a sufficient measure of agreement for me to proceed with proposals which I think will command fairly general assent. Some further detailed consultations will be required, after which I hope to lay the necessary amending Regulations.
But on the proposals about advertisements on business premises there are such strongly held opposing views that I do not think the draft Regulations will do as they stand. I propose therefore to invite certain of the organisations and interests principally concerned to send representatives to a joint meeting with me, in order that I may see if I can find a basis for agreement.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that his efforts to reconcile normal business interests with the desire of many of us to prevent the display of unsightly and misplaced advertisements will be very much welcomed?
In the areas of special control, the existing Regulations have been too tight, and they have therefore dissuaded planning authorities from seeking to declare areas to be areas of special control. I think that there is general agreement that some loosening of the Regulations will achieve better preservation of the countryside.