HC Deb 05 July 1972 vol 840 cc545-6
33. Mr. Worsley

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will amend the Use Classes Order so that planning permission is required for a change of use from a shop to a restaurant or café.

Mr. Graham Page

As my hon. Friend is aware, representations about these changes of use have been considered and discussed with interested bodies; but a wider range of questions is involved in the current review of the Use Classes Order and we are not ready to make a new order.

Mr. Worsley

Is my right hon. Friend aware that that is a very disappointing reply? He told me a year ago that he had received representations from local authorities. Will he please take a decision on this in advance of the general discussion on these matters?

Mr. Page

I find it a disappointing reply too. I had hoped that we should be able to put before the House the amended Use Classes Order and the amended General Development Order at the same time. I want to do them both at once. The consultations with the local authority associations are taking a rather long time.

Mr. Robert C. Brown

I do not agree with the hon. Member. It is not a disappointing reply: it is a scandalous reply. Does the Minister realise that it is nearly 12 months since he told me precisely what he has just said, namely, that he hoped to do this in a few weeks' time? I told him a few months ago that if he did not get his finger out and have the order made I would have more chop suey shops in my constituency than bus shelters, and we are now approaching that situation very rapidly.

Mr. Page

I get blamed if I do not consult the local authority associations and I get blamed if I do. I will try to keep the promise that I expect to reach a final conclusion before the Recess.