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Housing and Planning Bill - Report (5th Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:45 pm on 25th April 2016.

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Photo of Lord True Lord True Conservative 8:45 pm, 25th April 2016

My Lords, I am moving this amendment because my noble friend has said she wishes to reply to it. I would have been quite happy to waive it, have it subsumed and not move the amendment. However, the point remains absolutely fundamental, and with great respect to my noble friend she has not answered it. I hope she will in her response.

What actually happens at a planning committee is that people, many of them objectors, file into the room, papers are laid, a determination is made on the basis of advice, which is public advice, a public document, and an officer advises the committee on what is the appropriate and right thing to do. All that I am asking—surely, in equity, it is not a difficult thing to ask, nor difficult for the Government to concede—is that everything to do with the final recommendation and determination is independent of the paid advocacy of one of the parties involved. That is what this lengthy amendment is intended to ensure. It is totally unnecessary if the Government will give an assurance that they will deliver that in the regulations, so that the determination can be independent, and seen to be independent by those who may not be happy with the advocate’s case. It will normally be the advocate of the person seeking permission who will have paid for the independent advice. I beg to move.