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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:00 pm on 25th April 2016.

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Photo of Lord Beecham Lord Beecham Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Justice) 9:00 pm, 25th April 2016

My Lords, I have a good deal of sympathy with the points of both the noble Lords, Lord True and Lord Shipley. I am concerned how it would be seen by the public generally, but also by those applicants who have paid for a report to be prepared, which may make a recommendation. The decision will certainly be made by the committee. That is more or less the position that operates now in the existing system. Sometimes, council planning officers’ recommendations are not accepted by the committee, and they may help appellants on appeal. However, if you are paying for that advice as an applicant, it creates a different ambience altogether, it seems to me. It makes the whole process rather more confusing and difficult for the applicant, as well as for the local authority. I hope that the noble Baroness will look again at how the process works, because it is fraught with danger for both the authority and public understanding of what is happening.