Planning Legislation

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th January 1995.

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Photo of Mr Tom Cox Mr Tom Cox , Tooting 12:00 am, 18th January 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has for a review of planning legislation.

Photo of John Gummer John Gummer Secretary of State for Environment

I shall consider the need for amending legislation in the light of the Government's imminent response to the report "Shopping Centres and Their Future" by the Select Committee on the Environment, and of the follow-up to the symposium on quality in town and country which I hosted last month.

Photo of Mr Tom Cox Mr Tom Cox , Tooting

Hon. Members on both sides of the House will welcome the Secretary of State's reply, in view of the earlier exchanges. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many of our constituencies are now facing massive supermarket developments, and that there is a real fear of their effect on existing trading centres? Is there not also a fear that the concerns and the opposition of constituents are, frankly, not being listened to?

Photo of John Gummer John Gummer Secretary of State for Environment

We are looking carefully at each of the cases. In the first round, it is for the local authority to make the planning decisions. The hon. Gentleman will know that I want to ensure that the balance and bias are towards the invigoration of town and city centres. At the same time, we must ensure that we raise the quality of what we build. Far too often, we have allowed our city centres to be disfigured by poor buildings, built in poor styles and with a poor lifetime ahead of them. I hope soon to be able to see the Marsham street towers in which I work pulled down. It is a bad building which is badly built, and it did not enhance the city centre. I hope that the building into which we will move before we pull that down will be better.