HC Deb 23 October 1956 vol 558 cc468-9
30. Mr. A. J. Irvine

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government why, having regard to the national importance of the site, no directive was issued re quiring planning applications affecting Westminster Abbey to be referred to him, thereby ensuring that the proposal for the erection of the Abbey bookstall came to him for decision.

Mr. Sandys

It was thought that this was a question which could properly be left to the Dean and Chapter and the London County Council.

Mr. Irvine

Has the right hon. Gentleman seen the unsightly bookstall which has been constructed, very regrettably with the approval and the sponsorship of the Abbey authorities? With that in mind and in view, will he reconsider the question whether he has sufficient powers to protect buildings of national importance?

Mr. Sandys

I explained the circumstances in which this application was not called in. I know many people have expressed the view, which I personally share, that shop windows are out of place at the entrance to the Abbey, and I have no doubt that the Dean and Chapter will take into account the views which have been expressed. I am afraid I have no further power in the matter, the decision having been taken by the local planning authority.