HC Deb 29 March 1960 vol 620 cc1115-6
12. Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs the average length of time elapsing between the hearing of planning and compulsory purchase inquiries and his decisions thereon for the years 1957, 1958, and 1959.

Mr. H. Brooke

For compulsory purchase orders confirmed in 1957, 1958 and 1959, the average times were 12, 15 and 16 weeks respectively. For planning appeals I regret that I cannot give a figure for 1957, but the average in 1958 was 11 weeks and in 1959 10 weeks.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

Would my right hon. friend see if this can be speeded? While recognising that there are great difficulties, since all the inquiries come to my right hon. Friend, may I ask him whether he can devise a system whereby developers get their answers a little earlier?

Mr. Brooke

The Answer I have given to my hon. and learned Friend shows that as regards planning appeals we are cutting down the time, even though we are having to deal with a rapidly rising number of them. Many compulsory purchase orders are in respect of slum clearance cases, and I am sure my hon. and learned Friend will agree that those cases must be examined carefully and thoroughly in order to ensure that justice is done to all concerned.

Mr. A. J. Irvine

To meet the problem of delay, will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the recommendation of the Franks Committee that there should be an extension of the decision-making powers of inspectors?

Mr. Brooke

Yes, Sir, I have given consideration to that recommendation, but I think it would be difficult for me to take responsibility in this House for decisions which have, in fact, been taken by my inspector without any reference to me.