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Oral Answers to Questions — Local Authorities (Planning Responsibilities)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd December 1964.

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Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Cheadle 12:00 am, 3rd December 1964

asked the Prime Minister whether he is satisfied that local authorities are the best instrument for the discharge of planning responsibilities; and whether he will give consideration to the establishment of regional authorities divorced from local and electoral pressures.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

Local authorities are certainly the best instrument for the local planning and control of land use in their areas. As for regional planning, this will be developed through the proposed regional planning boards and regional councils.

Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Cheadle

Will the Prime Minister say how he arrived at the conclusion that planning by local authorities is in fact satisfactorily carried out? Will he look at the situation and see whether there is a better system than the one which obtains at present?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I said that local authorities are the best instruments for local planning and for control of land use in their areas. We all recognise that many of the major decisions of the past 10 or 15 years have involved more than one local authority area, and in some cases 10, 15 and even 20 in a major case. This is one of the matters we are studying, and my right hon. Friend the First Secretary of State hopes to make a statement on our proposals for planning next week.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

May we have an assurance that the First Secretary of State's statement will be made first to the House?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

Our practice in this matter differs in no way from that of the previous Government.

Photo of Sir Richard Nugent Sir Richard Nugent , Guildford

Would the Prime Minister say what view he takes of the London Regional Planning Conference which consists of about 20 county autho- rities which have come together voluntarily in order to plan on a regional basis in the south-east region? Does he approve of that, and does he wish to see it continue?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I think that the right hon. Gentleman had better wait for my right hon. Friend's statement, but if he wants to put down a Question about a particular area in a particular field of local government perhaps he will put it down to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government.