HC Deb 07 March 1963 vol 673 cc618-9
4. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether Government Departments are required to obtain planning permission before erecting buildings.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. F. V. Corfield)

No, Sir, but Government Departments consult local planning authorities about their proposals and the assistance of the Department is available if there are difficulties.

Mr. Shepherd

Is my hon. Friend able to say whether a State corporation requires planning permission? Does he think that something can be done to improve the supervision of buildings erected by Government Departments—for example, the Post Office—and industrial buildings in the middle of residential areas?

Mr. Corfield

In reply to the second part of the question, the plans of a Government Department for proposed development are submitted to the local planning authority. If there is dispute, my right hon. Friend or one of his representatives takes the chair at a meeting between the two sides. In reply to the first part of the supplementary question, the answer, broadly, is "Yes".

Mr. M. Stewart

Will it not be rather difficult for the Government to carry through their policy, say, for the limitation of office building in London, if Government Departments or corporations like British Railways can erect buildings in defiance of the general trend of the Government's policy?

Mr. Corfield

The question does not arise of a Government Department erecting buildings in defiance of Government policy. As I have tried to explain, the procedure laid down in Circular 100, issued in 1950, follows closely the procedure of the Act, and when controversial issues arise a public inquiry is held in exactly the same way as in the case of a private applicant. Where the application is not of a controversial nature, as I have said, my right hon. Friend in effect arbitrates between the local planning authority and the Government Department which is undertaking the development.