Parliamentary Estate: Planning Authority

The right hon. Member for East Hampshire, representing the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body, was asked – in the House of Commons on 15th October 2020.

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Photo of Henry Smith Henry Smith Conservative, Crawley

What assessment the sponsor body has made of the potential merits of establishing the parliamentary estate and its immediate environs as a planning authority.

Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds Conservative, East Hampshire

The sponsor body has not assessed the merits of the approach recommended by my hon. Friend, but that was considered by the Joint Committee on the Draft Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill. It recognised that there was no easy way to streamline the process but that engagement is key, and that is the advice that the programme seeks to heed.

Photo of Henry Smith Henry Smith Conservative, Crawley

I encourage the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body to look again at Parliament creating itself as its own planning authority, as in the past there have been difficulties carrying out parliamentary works when that has involved Westminster City Council, the Greater London Authority and others. I believe that that would create a much easier method for restoration and renewal. Will my right hon. Friend look at this issue again?

Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds Conservative, East Hampshire

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. Of course, wider planning considerations affecting the parliamentary estate are a matter for the parliamentary authorities rather than the programme itself. I just mention that enacting the change that he mentioned would require primary legislation or an amendment to the Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Act 2019, which, as they say in House business management circles, would have to compete against other priorities.