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Unauthorised Development

Oral Answers to Questions — Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 5th September 2011.

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Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes Conservative, Romsey and Southampton North 2:30 pm, 5th September 2011

What plans he has to increase the powers of local authorities in dealing with unauthorised development.

Photo of Eric Pickles Eric Pickles The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Local authorities already have strong powers to act against unauthorised development which apply to everyone who ignores planning controls. In the Localism Bill, we have taken action to restrict retrospective planning applications, to ensure that people do not get away with flouting the system.

Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes Conservative, Romsey and Southampton North

I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. What assurances can he give me that those rules will apply equally to all residents, and that the Travelling community will not be exempt from rules that apply to the rest of the population?

Photo of Eric Pickles Eric Pickles The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

It is right and proper that we should respect the lifestyle choices of the Travelling community, but that does not give them particular rights over other citizens, particularly among the settled community. This Government will introduce special rules to ensure that authorities that provide pitches for Travellers receive a top-up against the new homes bonus, but the planning rules must be blind to a person’s ethnic background.