HC Deb 14 July 1976 vol 915 c646
18. Mr. Townsend

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions he has had with London borough councils and the Greater London Council concerning loss of London's theatres as a result of redevelopment.

Mr. Guy Barnett

My right hon. Friend has had no requests from the councils for such discussions.

Mr. Townsend

If the Government put theatres into a separate use class on their own under the Town and Country Planning Act, would not that be a practical way of safeguarding London's theatres?

Mr. Barnett

I do not think that it would. The hon. Gentleman should first bear in mind that there are no fewer theatres in London now than there were at the end of the war. I think the hon. Member for Bexleyheath (Mr. Townsend) will have noted the support that the Government have given to the Private Member's Bill introduced by the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Crouch). We have undertaken to put words into the general development order which will ensure that the Act has full force, in the sense that any proposals for demolition or alteration of use of a theatre are referred to the local authortiy concerned.