HC Deb 08 December 1971 vol 827 cc1282-3
18. Mr. Allason

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make grants to amenity groups objecting to developments hostile to local amenities at public inquiries.

Mr. Graham Page

No, Sir.

Mr. Allason

Will my hon. Friend think about this again? In the light of growing public concern and the heavy cost of defending local amenities, will he consider giving at least £1 for £1 to the costs of the principal local amenity society, provided that it be a recognised society?

Mr. Page

I appreciate the valuable part which amenity societies play at inquiries, but the provision of grants for this purpose would put them in a more favourable position than any other party at an inquiry.

Mr. Lane

Although amenity groups must be given fair scope to object, is it not equally important to speed up the present planning machinery, which too often works too slowly, both locally and in Whitehall? Will my hon. Friend look into that?

Mr. Page

I am working on it, and I hope to be able to make an announcement soon.