Backbench Business - Christmas AdjournmentBackbench Business

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:13 pm on 16th December 2021.

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Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East 1:13 pm, 16th December 2021

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered matters to be raised before the forthcoming Adjournment.

This is the first pre-recess Adjournment debate to take place without Sir David Amess. It will not be as good a debate because he is not here. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”] His performances at these debates were always remarkable: a lesson for every Back-Bencher, and an ideal opportunity to raise matters far beyond his own constituency and across the world and to raise every item of his casework with Ministers prior to our going on recess. We mourn his loss and, on behalf of the Backbench Business Committee, we have asked the Leader of the House if the pre-recess Adjournment debate in the summer can be retitled the Sir David Amess debate.

I start with some issues local to my constituency. The first is that we have had a number of planning applications to build new homes on station car parks. At Canons Park station, the Mayor of London applied for planning permission to build high-density, multi-storey blocks on the station car park, vastly reducing the amount of car parking space available for commuters. I am pleased to say that Harrow’s planning committee turned down the application, and the planning inspector, after the appeal by the Mayor, rejected it comprehensively. It is the most comprehensive rejection of a planning application I have ever read. That is good news for my constituents.

On Stanmore station, I have raised in many pre-recess Adjournment debates—my hon. Friend the Minister is smiling already—the issue of the required lift. The Mayor of London has applied for planning permission to build all over the station carpark, which accommodates 3,500 cars. I am pleased to say that the Harrow Council planning officers proposed that the council’s planning committee reject the application, and the committee unanimously turned the application down—but now, of course, the Mayor of London, who is the applicant, has called it in, so that he can determine whether it should be allowed to go ahead. I have asked Ministers to keep a watchful eye on this matter and, if the Mayor is marking his own homework, to call it in and hold a proper independent planning inquiry before anything else happens. That is important.

I also raised at business questions the epidemic of thefts of catalytic converters from cars in my constituency. Over the summer, I was given information about many of the thefts, and took action with the local police to try to combat this epidemic. Sadly, as I mentioned, recently we have had gangs of thugs with baseball bats turning up at people’s offices and homes, in broad daylight and late at night, threatening residents. If residents come out to examine what is going on, the thugs say to them, “Do you want to try it? I’ve got my baseball bat and I’ll sort you out.”