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New Clause 10 — Local Development Plan

Part of Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill — [2nd Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 3:00 pm on 9th December 2003.

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Photo of Keith Hill Keith Hill Minister of State (Housing and Planning), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister 3:00 pm, 9th December 2003

The hon. Gentleman is right. A great advantage of the Government's proposed schema is that it offers the flexibility that he describes. We have already debated in Committee the possibility that the new framework would mean that, if a new site unexpectedly became available—say, after the closure of a factory—it would not be necessary to respond by initiating the complex process of disentangling the existing plan. The new framework will make it possible to look at the site and to slot it into the relevant part of what the hon. Gentleman calls his filing cabinet and what I call my concertina file.

I admit that these are new arrangements. As with all changes, it will take time for people to become familiar with them. No one expects reading a Bill to be the best way to grasp a new system, but we have already taken action on various fronts. We have published for consultation five drafts of the key documents in local planning. They are the part 2 regulations, the transitional regulations, planning policy statement 12 on local development frameworks—that is, the policy statement that sets out the new system—a guide to procedures, and the code of practice which is aimed at helping interested parties and the person on the street to get involved in the new procedures. We have also published a guide to creating local development frameworks, which is a "how-to-do-it" guide for local authorities and others involved in preparing the new local development documents.

Comments are welcome up to mid-January, and we will take them fully into account in preparing final versions of the documents. They will be published in an accessible fashion.