New Clause 10 — Local Development Plan

Part of Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill — [2nd Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 2:45 pm on 9th December 2003.

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Photo of Sir Sydney Chapman Sir Sydney Chapman Conservative, Chipping Barnet 2:45 pm, 9th December 2003

It is a great pleasure to follow my right hon. Friend Mr. Gummer. If I may spare his blushes, I have to say that, among many of the professional institutions at least, but other organisations as well, he was regarded as one of the finest Secretaries of State for the Environment, at least in relation to environmental issues. I hope that I am in no way passing any comment on those on the Government Benches in saying that, because there is now no such person as a Secretary of State for the Environment.

I am with David Wright on his amendment No. 27: I believe that adopted housing strategies are of key importance in planning any community and that they should be included in the new clause. Clause 18, which he seeks to amend, already contains 10 categories. In Committee, a bipartisan attempt was made to try to keep the number of categories to a minimum, as Members wanted to include archaeological finds and other such items. Of course, the Minister may argue that clause 18(2)(f), which deals with community strategies, could include housing strategies. He might advance the same argument about paragraph (h), which refers to

"any other local development document which has been adopted by the authority".

Presumably, that could include housing.

Incidentally, if I may say so, I think that it is idiocy that this House can meet in two places at the same time. The reason I say that is that an important debate on affordable housing is being held in Westminster Hall at this very moment. This is not a point for the Minister to deal with, but I again ask the Government to reconsider the issue of this House meeting in two places at the same time.

I should like to address one remark to Matthew Green, whose interventions and performances—I say this very sincerely—I always find interesting. I am very much in favour of pre-application consultations where necessary, post-application consultations on significant applications where necessary and the undertaking of public consultation before local development plans are drawn up. I am 100 per cent. behind him on that issue, but I wish to make what I shall call a human nature observation. I have found, especially as a Member of Parliament, that the more a local planning authority consults the public, the more angry the local community will be if the authority does not seem to take its advice. That is a human nature point that must be overcome, but I think that we must recognise that it exists.