Business and Planning Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:21 pm on 29th June 2020.

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Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 5:21 pm, 29th June 2020

No, it will not. I will talk a bit about hybrid appeal proceedings, and I think my hon. Friend will find that helpful.

There are two further planning measures that relate to the new spatial development strategy for London and hybrid appeal proceedings. The Mayor of London will shortly publish the new spatial development strategy, setting out plans for new homes for London. The Bill temporarily removes, until 31 December, the requirement for the strategy to be available for physical inspection and to provide hard copies on request. That ask from the Mayor of London will help to address practical challenges from social distancing.

Social distancing has also constrained the Planning Inspectorate’s ability to conduct hearings and inquires, and a backlog has been growing. Through the Bill, we will enable the inspectorate to combine written representations, hearings and inquiries when dealing with appeals. That change was recommended by the independent Rosewell review. A recent pilot undertaken on the review measures reduced average decision-making time from 47 weeks to 23 weeks.