Examination of Witnesses

Part of Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:15 pm on 23rd June 2022.

Alert me about debates like this

Tony Burton:

May I digress briefly? This is a personal question, because over 30 years ago, in a different campaigning role, I was responsible for drafting all the amendments to what became the Planning and Compensation Act 1991, which includes the provisions that clause 83 now seeks to change. At that time, we went through about a dozen variations of how to express on the face of the Bill what we were seeking to achieve. Sir George Young was the Minister responsible and was seeking a plan-led system. We even tried “strongly” at the time and, if my memory serves me right, it was rejected by Parliament’s legal experts. So although the language is clunky—it is legalistic—it has a 30-year track record. The insertion of a single word is a helpful expression of a more plan-led approach. It might be more helpful to go down that route than it would be to develop an entirely different set of wording, which would then trigger a whole new set of case law having to be established. In terms of the pragmatic achievement of what we are trying to do here—to strengthen a plan-led approach—the pragmatic approach, as suggested in the Bill, is reasonable.