HC Deb 28 March 1973 vol 853 cc1292-4
19. Mr. John Hannam

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to introduce the European system of identifying by poles the size and position of buildings for which planning applications have been submitted.

Mr. Graham Page

No, Sir. But my right hon. and learned Friend is now considering comments received on a draft circular about publicity for planning proposals which I described to the House in the debate on the Adjournment on 29th January.

Mr. Hannam

A great deal of the present dissatisfaction with planning procedures is caused by the lack of advance warning given when building applications are made. This idea of marking out an area with scaffolding poles, as is done on the Continent, would give everyone a chance to take what precautions he might want to protect his environment.

Mr. Page

The circular proposes site notices. In many cases there is a practical difficulty in showing the height of a proposed development by poles, which are not calculated to enhance the environment. When we are trying to encourage developers to provide land for housing, it might be difficult to suggest that every developer is "up the pole".

Mr. Spearing

When I put to the right hon. Gentleman a question about publication of planning proposals some time ago I asked whether he could make it obligatory on local authorities to publish a fortnightly register which could be duplicated and sent to every applicant for a nominal cost. Is that proposal included as part of the draft circular, and does my suggestion find favour with the right hon. Gentleman?

Mr. Page

There is a register for planning applications which is open for inspection. We are concerned with a proposal to provide for a site notice so that the public can see that a planning application has been made in respect of that land. It is on this that I am consulting local authorities.

Mr. Wiggin

Why does the circular deal with some planning applications only? Many of us feel that there could be site notices for all planning applications. The argument that this delays the application could be refuted if the notice were put up at the same time as the application was put in.

Mr. Page

i do not think a site notice is necessary for all planning applications. There are half a million such applications a year and some of them concern minor alterations to premises. We must be selective in this matter, and inform the public about developments which may affect neighbours.