HC Deb 10 March 1971 vol 813 cc387-8
7. Mr. Chapman

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will issue a circular containing guiding principles to local planning authorities on his attitude to certain planning applications in certain areas, so that decisions by local planning authorities can be expedited and fewer sent to him on appeal.

The Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Peter Walker)

To assist both planning authorities and applicants, and with the objectives mentioned by my hon. Friend in mind, publication of a series of Development Control Policy Notes was started in 1969. Eleven notes have so far been issued. These deal both with general policies and with policies applicable to special areas, such as green belts.

Mr. Chapman

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply and I appreciate what he has done, but will he recognise that there is consternation among many people when applications are put in, for example, governing the heights and densities of development in certain residential areas? Will he look at this particular point, and also the point regarding petrol stations, with a view to issuing a circular?

Mr. Walker

I shall look at the points which my hon. Friend has raised.

Mr. Cant

Speaking as a member of a planning authority for 20 years, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware of the great problem which is arising in the work of planning committees because of super-super-hyper-market development? Will he consider offering to local authorities, which are very bemused by this great problem in the 1970s, some sort of guide lines which would help them to reach satisfactory decisions on this great issue?

Mr. Walker

I shall look at the problem, and I well understand that it is a matter of considerable debate at the pre- sent time, but I do not want too much of planning to be laid down centrally from Whitehall, leaving very little discretion to local planning authorities.