§ 35. Mr. Chapman
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what general rule he follows as to the interval which 202 must elapse before he will agree to hold a further local inquiry into an appeal for planning permission for residential development on land not so zoned in a development plan, and where there has been no material change in the facts of the local situation.
§ Sir K. Joseph
Whenever an appeal is made to my right hon. Friend against the refusal of planning permission, he is obliged to give the applicant and the local planning authority an opportunity of being heard. Whether in the circumstances envisaged by the hon. Member he should hold another local inquiry, or arrange for a hearing, or invite the parties to agree to the appeal being dealt with on the basis of written representations, would depend on the facts of the particular case.
§ Mr. Chapman
Cannot this be regularised in some way? Is it not the case that in connection with an area on the South Coast the Minister recently turned down an appeal relating to a small piece of land three times in two years, after all the paraphernalia and expense of a local inquiry, and even at the end he refused to award costs against the appellant? Should not it be made quite clear that these continuous re-appeals should not he made in respect of land the future of which has already been decided?
§ Sir K. Joseph
My right hon. Friend has powers to award costs if he thinks appeals have been brought frivolously or vexatiously.