HC Deb 03 March 1981 vol 1000 cc225-48 10.14 pm
The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Giles Shaw)

I beg to move,

That the draft Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications and Deemed Applications) Regulations 1981, which were laid before this House on 17 February, be approved.

Mr. Speaker

I understand that it will be for the convenience of the House to take at the same time the motion on the Scottish statutory instrument:

That the draft Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications and Deemed Applications) (Scotland) Regulations 1981, which were laid before this House on 2 March, be approved.

Mr. Shaw

These regulations introduce fees for planning applications. The enabling powers are contained in section 37 of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980.

Our purpose in introducing the regulations is to offset some of the cost to public expenditure of administering the system of development control. The scale of fees set out in the regulations will, we estimate, raise about £38 million in the course of a full year in England and Wales and about £2 million in Scotland. That represents about 60 per cent. of local authorities' expenditure on development control. This offset to public expenditure has already been taken into account in setting next year's public expenditure totals and grants to local authorities.

I am well aware of the argument that development control represents a service to the public and not to the developer. But once a system of planning controls is established, there is a good deal of benefit to be obtained from gaining a planning permission.

It does not seem at all unreasonable, therefore, that the developer should share with the taxpayer and the ratepayer the cost of administering the system. The House itself took this view in principle in giving the Secretary of State the enabling power in the 1980 Act, and I hope the House will now agree that these regulations provide a fair and workable means of putting the principle into practice.

In setting the scale of fees, we have been concerned not to put an excessive burden on any developer. We have also been determined to achieve, first, a uniform scale throughout England, Wales and Scotland; secondly, a scale that is not difficult or expensive to administer; and thirdly, a scale that relates the fee broadly to the scale of the development.

We set out these principles in a consultation paper last June, and we consulted very widely on the suggested scheme of fees set out in that paper. We received nearly 400 responses, which were supplemented by the extensive debate that took place in this House and in another place on the enabling section of the Act. We considered all views very carefully in arriving at the final scheme incorporated in these regulations. As a result of those consultations and the views expressed, we have made a number of significant changes.

Before I explain the changes, perhaps it may help hon. Members if I outline very briefly the scope of the fees. They are payable, in the first place, on applications for planning permission; secondly, on applications for outline planning permission—that is to say,"in principle" approval of a proposed development; and, thirdly on applications for the approval of matters reserved in an outline planning permission—that is to say, the details of layout, access, landscaping and so on. In addition, fees will be payable on applications for consents to display advertisements, the deemed applications for planning permission which arise from enforcement appeals and the deemed applications arising from established use certificate appeals to the Secretary of State.

I now set out the matters in the regulations which do not attract a fee. First and foremost, the regulations do not include fees for planning appeals. That provision was dropped from the enabling powers in the course of consideration in another place. No fees will be charged for applications to local authorities related to listed building consents, tree preservation orders, established use certificates or the various other applications which can be made under the town and country planning legislation.

There are two exemptions to which I should draw the attention of the House. First, we received a number of representations arguing that there should be no fee for planning applications which were required solely because permitted development rights under the General Development Order had been removed by a direction under article 4 of the order. We have incorporated that exemption into the regulations, at regulation 5.

Secondly, some hon. Members also made representations on behalf of the disabled. In particular, they voiced concern that local authorities might be required to impose a fee on an application to improve an access for a disabled person or to construct accommodation, for example, for a kidney machine. Regulation 4 meets this point by exempting alterations and improvements to a disabled person's house to improve access, safety, health or comfort.

We have also responded to representations on behalf of a number of amateur sporting organisations which were concerned that the cost of a fee for developing a sports field would be a strain on their resources. Paragraph 3 of schedule 1 provides for a low flat fee of £40 for applications by non-profit-making organisations for playing fields.

In devising the fees, our prime concern was to ensure that they were not excessive for any type of applicant. A number of the changes that we have made to our proposals are designed to achieve that. First, we have put a top limit on every scale of fee. The maximum fee for an outline application is £1,000, compared with our original proposal of £20,000. Detailed applications for buildings are subject to a maximum fee of £2,000, compared with no maximum at all in our original proposals. Similarly, we have put a maximum of £3,000 on applications for the winning and working of minerals and £200 on applications for other operations, compared with our original proposals of £20,000. These maxima reflect the fact that the fees are an offset to the cost of processing the application and not a tax on the development. And the cost of processing does not rise indefinitely with the size of the development proposed.

At the other end of the scale, we have looked again at the smaller developments. We originally proposed that householder applications—which, as hon. Members know, make up one-half of all planning applications—should be subject to a flat fee of £30. In response to the wishes of Parliament, we have reduced this to £20. These applications are for house extensions too big to benefit from the permitted development rights in the General Development Order. In addition, we are removing many more small developments out of specific control altogether. Thus, the new General Development (Amendment) Order 1981, which was laid as recently as 27 February, has the effect of extending these permitted development rights so that a further 50,000 householder applications annually, and perhaps more, will become permitted development and will thus not be subject to fees. We are, therefore, in the context of applications which attract fees, talking about sizeable developments costing several or many hundreds or, more likely, thousands of pounds.

Nevertheless, hon. Members expressed concern on behalf of the owner-occupier faced with that fee. We did not think it right to exempt the householder altogether. There are over a quarter of a million such applications each year—over half the total annual number of applications. Such applications form a considerable part of the cost of administering development control. It would be inequitable to heap the whole of that cost on to the other sectors, and, in particular, the business sector. Nevertheless, we thought it right that the fee should be set at the lower level. That is why the regulations provide for a flat fee of £20.

In the business sector, too, there may be very small developments which do not raise very serious matters of land use, though they require planning approval. We have, therefore, introduced a new step on the scale of charges for buildings so that applications for building works not creating more than 40 square metres of floor space would attract a fee of only £20. That applies also to developments which create no floor space, such as shop front developments. On advertisements we set a low fee of £10 for applications concerned with signs on business premises intended to advertise the business. We have now added to that category advance signs away from premises used by small businesses in rural areas.

I have illustrated some of the changes that we have made. I hope that hon. Members will see that in constructing the scale of fees we have sought to ensure that the small man is not ever faced with an excessively high fee, even if that means that a big development will sometimes pay less than one might expect.

I now turn to other aspects of these proposals. In the debates on the enabling power, some hon. Members expressed the fear that the introduction of fees might encourage evasion of planning control. They feared that developers would be tempted to avoid payment of fees by simply ignoring development control and proceeding with unauthorised development. I do not think that the level of fees that we have now set would make many people think that that course was worth the risks involved. Nevertheless, we could see the loophole. By providing for a fee for deemed applications arising from enforcement appeals, we have closed that loophole. When we introduced the amendment to the enabling power to enable us to achieve that, it was welcomed by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

To avoid injustice to the appellant whose appeal succeeds on legal grounds, we have provided for the fee to be refunded in those cases. We have also provided for refunds when appeals are withdrawn at an early stage.

Many hon. Members will, I know, want to see what benefit the applicant will get by way of an improved service. The Government take the view that applicants are entitled to efficient service irrespective of any liability to fees. That is why we have embarked on such a thoroughgoing review of development control.

I think it would be helpful to remind the House of what, in summary, the resulting measures are. First, we have cut out the wasteful overlap in responsibility for planning applications between counties and districts. Secondly, our proposals to amend the General Development Order will relieve the planners of relatively minor and uncontentious work and allow them to deal more promptly with the applications that remain.

Thirdly, we have a number of measures in hand to speed up the appeals system, including the issue of instant decisions in suitable cases, experiments with a new kind of informal hearing and the creation of a task force of part-time inspectors to cope with surges in workload. Fourthly, and above all, we have set out clear policy guidelines in our circular"Development Control Policy and Practice". This, while reaffirming our commitment to established policies of conservation, says that local authorities must make sure that their internal organisation allows applications to be processed quickly, that they consider only matters that are relevant, that they do not place unreasonable demands on developers and that they refuse permission only where there are clear and specific reasons for doing so.

I believe that we have done all that we can to seek the views of interested parties on the fees. I should like to pay tribute to hon. Members and to all those in the many organisations who have put time and effort into contributing the many constructive suggestions we received. I hope that I have demonstrated that we have made major changes in our proposals in the light of what we have heard.

I hope, too, that it will be appreciated that there is no way of pleasing all points of view and that we have to strike the best balance we can. Having said that, I acknowledge that in introducing regulations of this kind it is not always possible to foresee every problem which may arise in practice. We shall, therefore, be keeping the operation of the regulations under close review in then-first year. If that experience shows changes to be necessary, we shall bring forward amending proposals. In the meantime, we shall give comprehensive guidance to all concerned in a circular on the implementation of the scheme.

10.30 pm
Mr. Ted Graham (Edmonton)

The Minister should receive some tribute from the Opposition because a move has been made from the earlier figures and the scope of the charges as outlined in Committee by the Minister for Local Government and Environmental Services. It was envisaged that about £30 million would be caught by the fees. The figure has been revised, and it is now £38 million. I assume that that has been done largely to take account of inflation over less than a year. It is now established that in the Government's mind inflation has been running at about 24 or 25 per cent. over the past year.

Some of the ameliorations will benefit those who are affected by them. However, it seems that we are considering not only charges for planning applications. The Minister referred to the General Development Order, to a relaxation in development control, to measures taken by the Department, which have been well publicised, to speed up the planning procedure, and to the division of functions between various authorities. I understand that all those matters are within the scope of this short debate.

The element of fees was announced as part of the Government's policy as early as July 1979, within two or three months of the Government's coming to power. Phrases have been used such as"setting the people free" and"speedy, efficient, viable local government" as a cloak for introducing the breaking of what we consider to be a good principle that has dominated the planning system. This is a crude and blunt means of reducing public expenditure by the Government's favourite method, namely, shifting the burden sideways from central Government to local government, which has no alternative but to pass it on to the public.

Our basic objections to the philosophy that lies behind this measure were well enunciated in Committee by my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley). We regard planning as a community obligation. Individual charges exemplify the Government's misunderstanding of the nature of planning legislation that has been developed over more than 150 years. The purpose of planning restrictions is to protect the community generally. The planning system is not a service for the individual applicant. It is designed to benefit the public generally.

We are not alone in opposing the principle of charging for planning applications. At an early stage the CBI made known its objections. Its reasons for doing so are well known. First, the planning system is designed to protect the community generally. It should be financed accordingly and paid for by the community. That principle has held for over 150 years. Secondly, the ability to recover costs will remove the incentive to achieve efficiency. Planning charges will sustain and not diminish bureaucracy. Do the Government ignore the views of the CBI as well as those of the Opposition?

The House-Builders Federation also objected to the principle of charging for planning applications. It argued that the construction industry is at an appallingly low ebb; it is in a desperate situation. Builders, architects and many other sections of the industry are badly affected by inflation and by Government policy. Charges for planning fees will increase the cost of building houses. The Royal Town Planning Institute and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors likewise objected.

I hope that the Minister will refer briefly to some of the 400 organisations that he says have responded. Will he refer to the individual organisations that have expressed their pleasure and appreciation of the proposed charges? The hon. Gentleman would have us believe that many local authorities will anticipate with satisfaction the possibility of being able to reap an income. If that is so, they are forgetting that the Government have already taken steps by means of the rate support grant to reduce the money that the Government will have to pay out. The charges are being made not to provide authorities with a source of income but as a partial recoupment of the loss of grant.

Will the Minister also consider the implications for staffing in planning departments? The staff must administer the application for charges. The Minister can have it either one of two ways. As in the London borough of Enfield, which is my borough, he can say that it will have about 2,500 planning applications which will have to be processed for charges in the coming year. Either it will have to take on additional staff and will have to worry about the security and the safeguarding of the money, and administer the charging process, or the Minister may say that it is not necessary to take on extra staff because by a little reorganisation it will be possible for the members of staff to absorb the additional function.

Mr. Sydney Chapman (Chipping Barnet)

I have much sympathy with the hon. Member's argument. However, he has already referred to the forthcoming Town and Country Planning General Development (Amendment) Order. Does not he agree that there will be a substantial number—in my view, nearer 15 per cent. than 20 per cent.—of reductions in applications as a result of that order, if the House passes it? That will more than compensate for any extra administrative work involved in receiving and administering the charges.

Mr. Graham

The hon. Member cannot have it both ways. Either there will be a reduction in planning applications, and the amount of money which it was estimated that the local council would get in planning fees will be less than was estimated, or—as I have been told by many planning officers, and as I will tell the House when the matter is debated fully in the amendment to the General Development Order—contrary to reducing the work load, much of the work will have gone over without any income to the authority.

In future, whereas at present an application can be made at no cost, if an application incurs a cost—it could be £20, £30, £40 or a great deal more—I hazard a guess that many people will think carefully before they make an application. The period of informal consultation with the planning officer WJ.11 be extended. His time will be taken up in advance in giving determinations and informal views. When the charge is finally made for the planning application, it will have been more than negatived by the amount of time taken up by the planning department in processing it.

Therefore, the members of the planning staff, who in addition to their existing duties will have to process the charges, will have to decide that an urgent matter will have to be put aside until they get round to it.

Will we see as a result of the level of enforcements and inspections, and the consideration of what is or is not a non-conforming use, that some of the members of staff who are already engaged fully and stretched will have an addition to their duties? Is the Minister seriously suggesting that the relaxations which he envisages in the General Development Order will result in less work, when the advice that he will have received on the General Development Order, and which I have received from those whom he has consulted shows clearly that more work will result from increasing the permitted development from 10 per cent. to 15 per cent.? I am grateful for the exemption of those in terraced houses.

The advice that the Minister and I are getting is that more work will be involved. The General Development Order will result in more neighbours being suspicious and asking the local planning office to check whether a neighbour who is carrying out a development is within the permitted area.

The Minister gave us some interesting information about exemptions. The whole House will be grateful for any amelioration for the disabled and provision of access to their homes. However, I should like the Minister to be a little clearer. A press release accompanying the regulations stated: Disabled people who apply for planning permission to improve the means of access or the facilities of their homes will be exempt from paying the fees. The Minister pointed out fairly that that related to safety and health, but some people will assume that, because the disabled are already a specially disadvantaged category, normal planning charges for extensions to their houses or for other work will be waived. Will the Minister make it clear that the disabled will still have to pay such charges?

Mr. Giles Shaw

The important words in relation to the disabled are"safety, health and comfort". Comfort is. a pretty wide description.

Mr. Graham

Comfort could involve an extension of property. Such matters will have to be tested and approved by the Department, but we should be grateful for such a concession.

However the Minister dresses up the regulations, they seek to enable Government to save £38 million, which will be paid for by the recipients of planning permission. We stand by the principle that the built environment is shaped by, and for the benefit of, not individuals, companies or corporations, but the community as a whole. It is because the Government show such contempt for that principle, like many others, and put it up for hire, to be bought and sold, that I invite my right hon. and hon. Friends to join me in opposing the regulations.

10.42 pm
Mr. Sydney Chapman (Chipping Barnet)

I am pleased to have the opportunity to follow the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Graham). I always listen closely to what he says, and I repeat what I said in my intervention during his speech—namely, that I have a lot of sympathy with much that he said, though I disagree with one or two points, as will become apparent from my speech.

Perhaps I should begin by declaring an interest as a qualified architect and qualified town and country planner, though I am not in every essence of the meaning a practising architect or planner at present.

My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary is aware of my great misgivings about the regulations and the Building (Prescribed Fees) Regulations which preceded them. I agree with the hon. Member for Edmonton that development control is essentially a service for the benefit of the community, and I have always held that building regulations and town planning controls should be paid out of the rates and national taxation.

I recognise that that principle has been breached, not only by the prescribed fees regulations, but because building regulations have had to be paid for in Scotland and inner London for many years. I have no ideological hang-up about that. I regret it, but I recognise the Government's commitment to explore every avenue of recouping public expenditure.

That said, however, I hold firmly to the opinion that if my hon. Friend is to introduce these fees regulations there should be a most definite quid pro quo in the form of a patently improved performance by local planning authorities in determining planning applications.

I need not remind the House that Parliament in its wisdom has laid down a statutory period of two months for determining planning applications. I am sure that most people would agree that all but a handful of planning applications ought to be determined within that two-month period.

Representatives of my profession, the vast majority of whom work for local planning authorities, often boast that performance has improved and that about two-thirds of applications are now determined within the statutory period. I find that a rather empty boast. I believe that the vast majority of those two-thirds are minor applications and that a much higher proportion of the more significant and major applications take far longer than that to determine.

I referred to this matter on the Report stage of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act, but I again express concern at the ability of a local planning authority to reject a reasonable application in order to encourage the submission of a revised application and thus to obtain a fee twice over if the regulations were allowed to go through as originally drafted. I must therefore, first, pay tribute to my hon. Friend for making some substantial though not entirely conclusive changes in relation to that particular worry.

As I have suggested before, I believe that a fee should be payable only if an application is approved within the statutory two-month period. I am partly reassured, however, by regulation 7, which attempts to deal with revised applications for planning permission and approval of reserved matters. In my view, however, even regulation 7 has two very wide loopholes.

First, while regulation 7 applies to resubmissions and details, it does not apply to approvals where, as is frequently the case, it is necessary to vary details even after the works on site have been started. I think that the hon. Member for Edmonton referred to the problem that house builders feel that they will face. It is not unusual for a house builder to submit detailed designs for approval well before choosing the actual materials. Indeed, he quite often has to change the materials, whether it be the type or colour of a tile or a brick, simply because the tile or brick that he originally intended to use is not obtainable on the day. That is the first loophole.

Secondly, my reading of regulation 7 suggests that it applies only to one revised application. In my humble experience, it is not unusual for some local planning authorities, particularly on the more significant applications, to require perhaps three or four sets of revised plans before they are satisfied with the final detailed designs.

I therefore respectfully suggest that the problem could be remedied by inserting in schedule 1, paragraph 4, a new subsection (d) which might include the words"the external appearance of the building or buildings". My hon. Friend may be able to reassure the House on this matter by saying that the problem will be covered by means of a circular, but I hope he will understand me if I say that surely, in the aftermath of the introduction of the Building (Prescribed Fees) Regulations, experience shows—I choose my words carefully—that consternation and confusion can be caused by any ambiguity in the regulations. Indeed, I think it is arguable—I hope that I do not set myself up as a barrackroom lawyer—that local authorities could be obliged to charge full fees on every occasion, because their auditors will expect them to do so and they may be held liable for the loss of revenue if they do not do so.

I must express the hope that these regulations will not come into force—I think that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary reassured the House on this point—before the House has decided on the proposals of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment to introduce a new general development amendment order which, one hopes, will extend the number and types of smaller developments not requiring planning permission.

I am partially reassured by what my hon. Friend has said this evening. However, I view the prospect of a general development amendment order with much more enthusiasm than I have for these regulations.

10.51 pm
Mr. Michael Martin (Glasgow, Springburn)

Like my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Graham), I am opposed to the introduction of these regulations. I have often heard Conservative Members say that they want to do away with bureaucracy in local government, yet they are now introducing measures which will add to that bureaucracy.

When I was a Glasgow district councillor, the Tory councillors were quick to say that they wanted to give more power to the officials and to take power away from the elected members. I can see situations in which officials will come more and more to the elected members asking for exemption.

At a time of Government cutbacks, there are many community organisations in my area which want to embark on projects providing community facilities. If they are to be hit with fees in relation, say, to the building of a community hut in which young children can be looked after during the day, they will be quite easily put off. I can see that the inner city areas will once again be the major casualty of these measures.

In the city of Glasgow, many people are remarking that all that seems to be happening is that demolition is taking place but there is no new building. We should like to encourage people to come there to build small factory units, social facilities, shops and so on, but they will be easily put off by these regulations. Their argument will be"It is all very well your asking us to come, but here we have a Government who seem to be putting yet another hurdle in our path".

The easiest way for a local authority or the Government to raise finance is to allow buildings—provided that they meet the proper specifications and are within a proper planning zone—to go ahead and be built with the minimum of obstacles. Then, through the rating system, a great deal of the losses can be recouped, which is of benefit to the community.

A large part of my constituency is being redeveloped. Some of the Churches, which are considering building in the area, will be asking me whether the regulations mean that they will have to raise even more money when already their resources are stretched to the limit. I am constantly receiving complaints from groups in the area that local authorities can no longer give them grants to keep projects going. I see the regulations leading to disaster. I ask the Government to think again.

10.56 pm
Mr. John Farr (Harborough)

I listened carefully to the remarks of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary. I cannot say that I am satisfied about one or two aspects of the regulations. I am concerned especially about the effect on horticulture and agriculture. A similar burden, so far as I am aware, will not be placed on agriculturists in other countries of the Community. The cost to agriculture and horticulture in Britain will be considerable if the regulations are approved.

Already in many respects British producers labour at a disadvantage compared with our EEC comrades. Now they face an added burden. I should like my hon. Friend to explain the impact on horticulture. Although agricultural schemes and new buildings are expensive, horticultural buildings, reckoned square foot by square foot, are much more expensive. They are generally adjacent to built-up areas and, therefore, far more subject to the need for planning consent than agricultural buildings.

The reason for my disappointment is that the Department was informed last year that agriculturists and horticulturists were unhappy with the regulations. Certain alterations were suggested which, unfortunately, have not been made. As the regulations stand, agricultural development falls under the second category in part II of schedule 1. Although most agricultural buildings are not constructed in the expensive manner of industrial and commercial buildings, the return on an agricultural building is only about half of that on a commercial building. It takes longer to recoup from the returns on the investment.

The Scottish Farm Buildings Investigation Unit calculated in 1980 the cost for agriculture and horticulture if the regulations were put into effect. It calculated an extra 0.6 per cent. on intensive buildings, 0.7 per cent. on capital buildngs and 1 per cent. on storage buildings. Overall, it calculated a 1 per cent. increase in the cost of agricultural and horticultural buildings. Based on the 1979 figure of £388 million spent on new buildings in Britain, the cost would have been £4 million. It amounts to £250 on a £25,000 building.

I recognise that the regulations cannot be withdrawn or amended. I ask for an assurance, however, that the Minister will examine the effects in the next year or so. The agriculture industry in Britain is not in a happy condition.

Mr. Albert Roberts (Normanton)

Is the hon. Gentleman dealing with permanent buildings or temporary buildings?

Mr. Farr

The regulations apply to both and I am referring to both types.

I was saying that farm incomes in real terms fell by 24 per cent. in 1980. They have been halved over the last four years. There has been a sharp decline in the number of applications for capital grants. Furthermore, expenditure on plant, machinery and vehicles in agriculture and horticulture fell during 1980 for the first time since the war. There is a clear danger of a reduction in the productive capacity of the industry, which planning charges can only worsen.

I shall vote for the regulations tonight, but I hope that my hon. Friend will give the House an undertaking that he will scrutinise very carefully how they work. Will he, furthermore, give an undertaking that if they prove to be faulty, as I think they may well do, he will withdraw them?

11.2 pm

Mr. David Stoddart (Swindon)

I am surprised that this Government in particular should bring forward these regulations. I always believed that the Conservative Party felt that property was inviolable and that what the owners did in their properties was their own business. Let us make no mistake about it: planning consent is not a service to householders or to anybody else who owns land or property. It is an imposition, and people see it as such. Now the Government are proposing to charge them for that imposition. This is something which we have not experienced before. I am extremely sorry that the Government have seen fit to bring these regulations before the House.

The reason why planning was introduced in 1947—we had little of it before—was that individuals sometimes did things which were not in the best interests of the community at large. It was therefore decided that the community should have some say in what individuals did to their property. That was accepted generally. They have not come up against it yet, but householders will not accept this. They have not realised yet what will hit them, no more than they realised what would hit them when the Government imposed a 10 per cent. tax on gas. They realise now, and we are getting letters every day. When these regulations go into operation, hon. Members will be getting letters every day criticising them and the Government. As I say, this is an imposition and not a charge for a service. It shows that this Government will go to practically any lengths to avoid their financial responsibilities to local authorities.

Of course, there is more to it than that. All of us in the House believe in town and country planning, but stress that it is an imposition on the ordinary person who owns a house and wants to extend it, or owns a plot of land and wants to build something on it. These charges will be an invitation to practise evasion. Once people know that they have to pay a charge, they will seek to avoid it; I would not blame them for that. So in respect of good town and country planning these regulations could damage all that we in this House and many other people want to achieve. A number of hon. Members wish to speak and as many as possible should be heard in this debate because I am sure they will all be speaking against the regulations and against the Government.

This is the thin end of the wedge. The Minister said that the Government had heeded all the advice that they had received and all the opinions offered. They shed crocodile tears for the poor owner-occupier who just wants to build a lobby or to extend his garage. They have said that they will charge him only £20. They say that as if £20 were a drop in the ocean. To many people, particularly the owners of terraced houses, that is quite a lot of money. Of course, that is the initial charge. Hon. Members should make no mistake; as time goes on the charge will increase. Particularly under this Government, with their inflationary policies, the charge will discourage those who just want to get a little extra space for themselves.

Therefore, I shall follow the advice given by my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Graham). With great alacrity, and with the support of my local authority, I shall go into the"No" Lobby

11.5 pm

Mr. Nicholas Lyell (Hemel Hempstead)

I am glad to have the opportunity of making a short contribution to the debate.

I listened with interest to the speeches made by the hon. Members for Swindon (Mr. Stoddart) and for Edmonton (Mr. Graham). If they were to enter office, I wonder whether they would repeal the charges.

Mr. Stoddart


Mr. Lyell

That is welcome news.

The principle of charging is not wholly abhorrent. To some extent, planning permission increases values. However, we should remember that many neighbours object to planning permission for dwellings, because they regard the view from their window or the unneighbourliness of cars being parked opposite as affecting the value of their property. I am, therefore, extremely glad that only a proportion of the cost is to be recouped.

I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and my hon. Friend the Minister recognise that no new charge is likely to be popular. The imposition of these charges will lead the public to scrutinise carefully the bureaucracy that administers the system of planning and building control. That would be a good thing. I do not suppose that it is fully realised that the cost of planning control is £63 million. At least, that is my quick estimate, which I have based on the proposition that £38 million is 60 per cent. of that figure.

I should like to know what the cost of building control is. That amount would have to be added to the £63 million. In addition, I hope that the Minister will indicate how much—I estimate that the £63 million plus is public money—is spent by those who make applications through architects and others and who hold up the entire establishment of planning and building control. In a complex society, a system of such controls is, to some exent, necessary.

Since I have been a Member of Parliament, a number of letters that have been sent to the Department have done nothing to diminish my clear impression that in many ways the system is over-elaborate. I should be grateful if my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State could, as soon as he has time, direct his formidable talents towards discovering whether that elaborate structure could be simplified and made cheaper. I am sure that the members of the public who pay for it will be at his heels, at mine and at those of right hon. and hon. Members to see that he does.

Mr. Chapman

Does my hon. Friend agree that whatever charges an applicant may have to pay under building regulations or under this statutory instrument are but peanuts in comparison with the extra cost of development that arises from unnecessary delays? If the Government wished to pursue only one aspect, they could not do better than to minimise not only the unnecessary bureaucracy but the penal financial implications of unnecessary delays.

Mr. Lyell

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. I am sure that my hon. and right hon. Friends on the Front Bench agree with him as well and that they are seeking to reduce these delays.

The imposition of these charges and the real fear that revised applications will produce an extra imposition of charges will lead the public to look for very careful, well-thought-out co-operation from officials—and not only officials, because officials have to follow the policy of their development control committees. I therefore hope that development control committees will think through very carefully the principles which they ask their officials to follow in different parts of their districts and counties, because that is necessary if the whole edifice is to be simplified and cheapened.

11.11 pm
Mr. David Alton (Liverpool, Edge Hill)

Sometimes when I listen to Conservative Members, I get the impression—I say this with the greatest respect—that they take the view that all public expenditure is essentially bad, whatever its purpose. I find it hard to take that from hon. Members who only an hour or two ago were prepared to vote £5 billion of public money for the renewal of an independent nuclear weapon while they complain about the relatively minor amount being spent on the planning of our communities.

We heard the hon. Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin) complaining about the effects in Glasgow of the lack of planning, and I see the problem in my own city, Liverpool. I should like to see an improvement in the way we plan our communities. That is money well spent and money which we should not be ashamed of spending.

I should have thought that the Minister, having listened to the arguments from his own side of the House and having heard the hon. Members for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Chapman), for Harborough (Mr. Farr), for Edmonton (Mr. Graham) and for Swindon (Mr. Stoddart), would have been more modest when he spoke to the House about the enthusiasm with which these proposals had been received. Hearing the Minister, one would think that everybody who had written to him and everybody he had consulted had said that these were marvellous plans and proposals and that they were greeted with great enthusiasm.

Indeed, the press statement issued by the Department of the Environment on 17 February said: The scheme was finalised after taking into account nearly 400 responses from local authorities, professional associations, commerce and industry, and private individuals, made in response to a consultation paper issued in June 1980. That may well be, but it does not say what their response was. All of us who know anything about the local authority associations, the professional bodies, the association of small business men and the town planners' and architects' associations know that they have rarely been so united as they are in their opposition to these proposals for planning fees.

I well remember standing in this Chamber late one night last July—in fact, it was 1.30 in the morning—when 20 of us marched through the Lobby to oppose these proposals when they were introduced as part of the Local Government, Planning and Land Bill. I make no apology for doing that. Indeed, it was my hon. Friends who decided to cause that Division and put in Tellers for it because we felt so strongly about this matter.

Tonight, I oppose the regulations because I and my hon. Friends are convinced that the introduction of fees for planning applications is an infringement of basic civil liberties. It is ludicrous and a travesty of justice that individuals should be charged for restrictions which are designed to safeguard the people as a whole. Furthermore, the introduction of these fees in the regulations necessarily implies the need to establish a bureaucracy to collect the fees, yet the Secretary of State is one of those who is constantly hectoring and lecturing us about the need to reduce bureaucracy.

As a result of these proposals, more people will be needed to collect the money to make the regulations work. This will result in delays, because many people will be unable to pay the charges on the spot. It will also result in a great deal of frustration on the part of those who have to wait, wondering what will eventually happen to them.

It is quite outrageous. It is enough that indiviual home owners will be faced with at least a £40 fee per unit for residential development, but it is incredible that it is possible for the fee to reach as high as £2,000. The Minister simply swept that aside with a wave of the hand as if it was a minor, irrelevant sum. He said"We have reduced it to £2,000." For many people, that will be sufficient to put them off making any application at all.

These extra chargs are an anachronism at a time when we are trying to reduce the cost of housing. The House is right to wonder whether this is yet another Government ploy to preclude the younger generation and those on low incomes from the advantage of making house improvements and whether the Government are trying to impose a penalty on those apparently guilty of the"crime" of trying to improve the quality of their surroundings.

My opposition to the regulations extends beyond housing. I wonder whether hon. Members have taken the time to sound out the views of the business community on the effect of these regulations upon them. Many in the business community, especially small business men, are most concerned about the regulations. I draw the attention of the House to a letter which appeared in the January edition of First Voice, the publication of the National Federation of Self-Employed. In that letter, the business community and, in particular, small business men—for whom the Conservative Party has on so many occasions professed concern—were warned that the Government's proposals would lead to the following three consequences: First, your not wishing to afford to 'test the system' to establish the value of any asset of land or building that you own; Second, playing safe with your applications by making non-controversial proposals and soft-soaping local authority officials in the hope of having an explosive-free passage through the planning minefield. Third, the bulk of the cost of this 'public interest' activity is to be borne by applicants, many of whom are small business people already hard pressed with high rates and taxes. Those are not the views of my hon. Friends on the Liberal Bench or those of the official Opposition. They are the views of the very sort of people who helped to elect the present Government.

One wonders what the Government hope to achieve by passing regulations which, in effect, are inimical to the majority of people and which may have the result of causing the vast majority of people to be slightly less than truthful in their planning applications. That point was made eloquently and forcefully by the hon. Member for Swindon.

This cannot be truly called a public interest measure. It is a measure which appeals to the pecuniary interest of a monetarist Government, and it will work to the detriment of individuals' freedom in planning. I hope, therefore, that hon. Members will reconsider their position tonight and vote against the regulations, bearing in mind the effects that they will have on small businesses and on many ordinary people who would be interested in developing their own homes. Some"tokenism" has been shown towards the latter by the regulations brought forward this week for reducing the planning restrictions on extensions to homes, but, although I welcome that move in one direction, we now have the Government going completely in the other direction with the present regulations. I hope that they will be reconsidered, though I very much doubt it.

11.18 pm
Mr. Tony Durant (Reading, North)

The hon. Member for Liverpool, Edge Hill (Mr. Alton) regards this as an unpopular measure because people will have to pay money. I do not know whether hon. Members on the Liberal Bench have taken soundings on site value rating. I should imagine that that is regarded as a pretty unpopular move in certain quarters. Suffice it to say that the imposition of any charges on anyone by the State is unpopular. That is bound to be so, whatever the charge is.

I have one criticsm to make, one query to put and one comment to add. My criticism concerns small business applications for advertising displays. I am concerned about the effect of the regulations in village and countryside areas in applying a quite heavy imposition in respect of very small advertisements, particularly those off site, to which my hon. Friend the Minister referred. Planning permission has to be obtained, of course, and I believe that this fairly heavy imposition will be a deterrent to the small village shopkeeper and the like.

My query arises on part II of the schedule setting out the scale of fees. One item is: The construction of car parks, service roads and other means of access on land used for the purposes of a single undertaking… Under the General Development Order amendment, which we have yet to consider in the House, it will be possible for someone, without planning permission, to build a garage so long as it is not more than a certain distance from a house. Therefore, a chap can build a garage to get his car off the road, but to build the access to the garage will entail payment of a planning fee.

I regard that as nonsense, if I may say so, and I have particularly in mind urban areas, such as that which I represent in which an effort is being made to get cars off the road. I believe that the regulation will be a deterrent for the householder against doing just that. A chap can build his garage and not have to pay a fee, but when he wants his access he will have to pay a fee.

The comment that I want to make is that I am delighted that the Minister intends to keep an eye on the matter and that he will review it. I am worried that local authorities, in order to raise revenue, may tend to turn down applications because, by so doing, a fresh application would have to be made and there would be another charge. I hope that a close watch will be kept on the matter, and that it will not become a deterrent to applicants.

I am delighted that this subject will be reviewed in due course. That completes the criticism, the query and the comment that I said I wished to make.

11.21 pm
Mr. K. J. Woolmer (Batley and Morley)

The origins of these fees go back to the days when the Government said that they intended to simplify planning procedures and reduce bureaucracy. The undoubted consequence of the regulations will be to complicate applications and increase bureaucracy at local level. That is bound to be the outcome. It is a sad commentary on the outcome of the original intentions. I hope, even at this stage, that Ministers will think it wise to withdraw the regulations.

There are four particular aspects that worry me. First, the instrument is unnecessarily complicated. I shall give just two of many examples to illustrate what I mean. For example, a local authority would have to calculate the application site area for a pipeline and then charge it at £40 per 0.1 of a hectare. I cannot believe that it was ever intended to be so complicated.

Another example relates to an application for a sign which will act as a guide in the direction of the applicant's business. The person behind the desk in the planning office has to decide whether the business in question is visible from the point where the sign is erected. How that can be done from a planning desk, I simply do not know. If a hotel can be seen from the point where the sign is pointing towards it, the fee is only £10, but it is £40 if the hotel cannot be seen from that point. Clearly, there will be disagreement about that. Surely, it can never have been the Government's intention to have such a complicated system whereby Whitehall decides whether a person pays £40 or £10 depending on whether there are trees between a hotel and a sign. That is Whitehall bureaucracy gone mad.

Secondly, I am worried because there is no procedure for adjudication. If an applicant and a local authority do not agree on what the fee should be, the local authority will not process the application. After waiting eight weeks, the applicant can appeal to the Secretary of State for non-determination, and the Minister will have to decide whether the applicant's view about the fee is right. That is absolute madness. The process will take months. I cannot believe that that was ever intended.

Thirdly, I want to express concern at the apparent implication of paragraph 2(1) of part I of schedule 1. It appears to encourage the undesirable practice of putting in a duplicate application for the sole purpose of enabling an applicant to appeal to the Minister for non-determination on one application while continuing to negotiate with the local authority on another. The practice of bringing pressure to bear in that way would be subsidised to the tune of 75 per cent.

Finally, unequal treatment has arisen as a result of reducing the maximum fees—from, for example, £20,000 for large projects to £2,000. The implication, surely, is that major builders will be considerably advantaged. But it is the smaller builder—the one building for the individual, the one building the small factory or the extension—who will finish up paying relatively more. I cannot believe that that was the true intention of the regulations.

This surely is an excellent example of exactly what the Government said they would not do or of what it was their intention to prevent. They were against the idea that"Whitehall knows best" or that it knew when to say that £10 or £40 should be charged for something, depending on whether a sign could be seen from a building. This is the sort of issue in which Westminster and Whitehall should never be involved.

If the regulations cannot be withdrawn, I hope that the House will have the sense to reject them in order that some of the complexities and insanities can be removed and so that ratepayers and planning applicants will not be unnecessarily penalised by a Conservative-created bureaucracy.

11.25 pm
Mr. Donald Dewar (Glasgow, Garscadden)

I welcome the hon. Member for Pudsey (Mr. Shaw) as a sort of ersatz Scottish Minister for the occasion. The change is not unwelcome and I make no complaint about it. I have noticed recently that the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands (Mr. Rifkind) has been looking somewhat jaded. Perhaps he has been finding the task week after week of defending the indefensible sowewhat daunting. He probably deserves his rest.

I turn to the Scottish regulations, which we are also debating tonight. We had one or two statistics from the Minister about the English and Welsh position, and no doubt we shall hear a little about the Scottish figures in the reply. He mentioned that the figure of expected revenue which would be collected by these unfortunate local authorities—and which has been docked out of the rate support grant—is about £2 million. I should be interested to know whether any consideration has been given to the cost of collection in Scotland, and how many applications and change of use applications are likely to be dealt with by Scottish local authorities.

One of my objections is that the peculiar system which has been erected has a built-in incentive to local authorities to ensure that they get the maximum amount of money out of these fees and charges because, as the money has been taken from the rate support grant, if they do not get their estimated income, they will be short of pennies at the end of the day, and I am not sure that that is entirely a healthy or a helpful position.

It has become clear that this is really a very much unwanted and unloved policy. That is not uncommon with this Government. I have noticed that the fashionable formula for the night on these Benches is for Members to make a number of extremely intelligent points—usually to the effect that the measure is flawed, or will have unfortunate consequences, or victimise the wrong people or lead to inefficiency—and then to say"But we are very grateful that the Minister has agreed to consider the matter over a period of time". In other words, we acknowledge that it is a disaster and then we touch our forelock and creep away.

I hope that at least some hon. Members who have made perfectly sensible and sophisticated criticisms will have the courage of their convictions and will not rely upon the no doubt facilely and easily given assurance that there will be a review. I hope they will demand that something much more concrete is done, such as having a delay in implementation or a withdrawal so that the imperfections can be ironed out before the matter is brought into effect.

I do not want to dwell at great length upon the theory. I accept that this is not a matter of purchasing a service. The developer or the builder is not purchasing a service to his advantage; he is submitting his plans, very properly, to public scrutiny in the public interest. The Minister said that he was familiar with that argument, and then went on to dismiss it and to ignore it. But it is the basis of a great deal of the widespread objection. In my soundings of Scottish local authorities, I found that they were almost universal in their objection to the introduction of this set of charges.

I quote from one regional council that is certainly not Labour-dominated—the Highland regional council. Its director puts the matter extremely succinctly in a letter to my hon. friend the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) when he says: Planning is carried out in the interests of the community not the developer and it is illogical to ask the developer to pay for this service. That is a right and perfectly tenable objection to the introduction of the charges.

I accept that one can over-value the risk that someone, because he is faced with charges, will not bother to get planning permission and will run the gauntlet of the sanctions that may follow. That probably is not a substantial danger, but I believe that enforcement costs will rise.

The director of regional planning continues: This will only store up further ill feeling against the planning system in the future. That is the point. The introduction of this complicated bureaucratic system will jar and lead to friction in the planning system, among developers, customers, the public and local government. The fault will lie, as it so often does, not with local government but with central Government who are making unreasonable impositions.

It will also have a marginal impact on the building industry. I am sure that other parts of the United Kingdom are no different in this respect from Scotland where we are watching what could be described as the death of the building industry. The Government are cutting back heavily on public sector ordering. The housing support grant is down by more than one-third. Punitive measures have been taken in relation to housing capital allowances because local authorities have been unable to meet unreasonable demands for rent levels. The result, with the general recession engineered by the Government, is a measure of unused capacity that is almost unprecedented in the construction industry.

I accept that that is a marginal factor. The charges for planning permission will not be a major factor in increasing the crisis. However, even a further marginal imposition is important. The Minister has said that only a major development will incur outline planning permission fees of over £ 1,000 or detailed planning permission fees of £2,000 maximum. However, many people who want to build one house, perhaps for their own occupation, will be significantly hit.

A friend of mine, a Tory, is doing what all good Tories should do and is building his own little castle. He has a site of about one acre on which he is constructing a house for himself. He is doing it with great financial difficulty over a long period. He applied for outline planning permission. Under the new scheme, it would cost him £160 because he has 0.4 of a hectare. Ultimately, detailed planning permission would have cost him another £40. He would have to find £200 to go ahead and build his modest house. I should have thought that a Conservative Government would want to encourage, not discourage, such people.

The Minister made great play of exemptions, but I believe them to be mean and petty. I accept that there is provision for the disabled. We are glad that sports grounds will have reduced terms. However, I used to work in social work administration and I can think of many charitable organisations operating on limited means which are involved in many conversions of hostels for mentally and physically handicapped people. They will not be grateful for the comparatively limited but significant charges that they will have to meet in future.

When faced with such complicated and labyrinthine orders, we should do something more generous and adequate for the charities which are involved in the use and adaptation of buildings.

Mr. Lyell

There is an illogicality in the hon. Gentleman's arguments. He urges more generous treatment and greater spending of public funds. It must come from somebody's pocket.

Mr. Dewar

Of course it must come from somebody's pocket. However, the Government are continuing a petty vendetta against local authority spending. They are saying to local authorities that they will force them to collect revenue, not to help the ratepayer who is being crucified by general Conservative policy towards local government, not to provide services, but simply to allow them to cut the rate support grant.

The rate support grant order in Scotland for 1981–82 brings the relevant expenditure for planning down by 28.6 per cent. If that is compared with the budget outturn for 1981–82, it is down by 40 per cent. The Government say that the reduction is largely due to the charges.

The unfortunate local authorities are having to gather the money to benefit the Government, and they are doing it at considerable inconvenience and cost to themselves. I telephoned the director of planning of one of the largest local authorities in Scotland. I got him out of a meeting at which, by coincidence, he was considering a report from the police to the effect that because money was being taken over the counter in planning departments they were recommending the installation of bullet-proof glass—this may sound ludicrous, but it was being done—and steel grilles. The director was also in session with NALGO, which was saying, very reasonably, that there would be a lot of extra book-keeping, extra accounting and extra responsibility, and that all that ought to be taken into account. All this is because the Government are typically trying to claw back money that they are cutting out of the normal subvention to local authorities for the provision of services.

What we are saying, and it has been said eloquently and hectically by many of my hon. Friends, is that this is a miserably inconsistent measure for the Government to bring forward, and at a time when the Secretary of State for Scotland is calling for 10,000 redundancies in the local authority world it is wrong that the Government should impose on them extra burdens and problems for which they see no reward and no purpose at the end of the day.

The measure is complicated, unnecessary and petty. It is an extraordinary monument to a Minister who presumably subscribes to his party's slogan about a free market and freeing industry to get on with the job. It is no good the Minister rabbiting on as he did about clauses, subsections and exemption piled upon exemption, when at the end of the day all that we are creating, to no good purpose and to no good end, are a bureaucracy and an impositon on the public that we could well do without.

11.37 pm
Mr. Giles Shaw

It ill becomes the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar), representing as he does a party that has been putting rates up liberally throughout this time—25 per cent. on average in Scotland and 40 and 50 per cent. in London—to talk about the inadequacy of a £20 fee on a development. Moreover, does the Labour Party really believe that developers are admirable people and should be protected from the imposition of a modest fee for their development? Yet here we have Labour Members suggesting that this is an iniquity, Surely two standards of judgment are being used here.

The hon. Member for Liverpool, Edge Hill (Mr. Alton) asserted that the poor domestic developer was under the threat of having to pay several thousand pounds. The hon. Gentleman must understand that if the fee for development reached £2,000 it would involve the development of 50 houses, and possibly the development value would be £1¼ million. If he thinks that that does not justify a fee of £2,000, he should think again.

We are discussing two factors. The first is the principle of the matter, which was debated at length during the passage of the Bill and has been passed and is in the Act. The second is the fee that follows therefrom. Hon. Members on both sides of the House have made significant points on this, and I shall attempt briefly to deal with them.

The hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Graham) opened the debate for the Opposition. I understand the view that he takes. He questioned the matter of staffing. It is our understanding that the relief from planning application that is implied in the amendment to the General Development Order will reduce the onus on planning departments, and we have taken that into consideration in suggesting that the fees should be examined by the same people. Thus, the bureaucratic element will be, as it were, transferred from one aspect to another. We do not accept the view that this will result in an increase in bureaucracy, and I suggest to the hon. Gentleman that this is one reason why the AMA is satisfied with our proposals and believes that it can deal with them.

My hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Chapman) dislikes the principle embodied in the Act, but I give him the undertaking that we shall watch this matter most carefully and that if during the first 12 months there are serious deficiencies such as he suggested we shall wish to make an amendment, because it is not our intention to set up a system that will penalise the average builder or developer for processing his planning application through the system.

My hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Mr. Farr) raised the question of agriculture and horticulture. Agricultural buildings of less than 465 square metres will be exempted from planning control. Those are substantial buildings. If there is a liability to charges in those circumstances, we shall be dealing with a larger construction. I do not think that the generality of farmers or horticulturists will be affected. However, if it is shown that that is not so, I promise my hon. Friend that we shall reconsider the matter.

My hon. Friend the Member for Reading, North (Mr. Durant) referred to access. He is right to observe that under the amendment order to the General Development Order such modest increases to property as he spoke of will be exempt. A householder's access to his garage would not normally require planning permission unless it gave access on to a trunk or classified road. If that results in difficulties for those who have access on to trunk or classified roads, important highway considerations arise. I think my hon. Friend will agree that a modest planning application fee will be acceptable in such circumstances. I do not think that these provisions will impinge on the generality of applications.

The hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. Stoddart) advanced the public expenditure argument. There is an important element of seeking to reduce local authority public spending. The hon. Gentleman will probably be the first to agree that there are some areas where the scheme can be implemented without seriously deterring demand or impinging on citizens' rights. I accept that planning applications are a service to the public. However, we must recognise that the cost of processing applications is measured at £63 million in England and Wales alone. If we are looking for savings in expenditure and seeking to make an impost, this is an area that is probably reasonable, bearing in mind the benefit that can be obtained with a planning application.

Some hon. Members asked why the planning application should not be freed from fee and why approval of the application should not attract the fee. That would be a recipe for pressure being put on planning authorities. There is an enormous advantage to be gained in the approval of an application. If we allowed such a scheme to be introduced, there would be a major distortion in our system.

There has been considerable discussion on both sides of the House. I make three short responses. First, we have gone a long way to provide a scale of fees that offers exemptions and low levels of fee to the majority of applicants. Secondly, we have designed a scheme which is simple in effect and with which the local authorities on the whole are fairly satisfied. The AMA's endorsement is important. Thirdly, we have-undertaken that we shall review the operation of the system of fees after one year. That would seem to be the opportunity to deal with any difficulties that may emerge. With these safeguards, I recommend acceptance of the measure.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 128, Noes. 91.

Division No. 90] [11.42
Alexander, Richard Cranborne, Viscount
Atkinson, David (B'm'th,E) Dorrell, Stephen
Banks, Robert Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Dover, Denshore
Benyon, Thomas (A'don) Dunn, Robert(Dartford)
Berry, HonAnthony Durant, Tony
Best, Keith Dykes, Hugh
Bevan, DavidGilroy Eden, Rt Hon Sir John
Biffen, Rt Hon John Eggar, Tim
Biggs-Davison, John Elliott, SirWilliam
Blackburn, John Farr, John
Bright, Graham Fisher, SirNigel
Brinton, Tim Fookes, Miss Janet
Brittan, Leon Fraser, Peter (South Angus)
Bruce-Gardyne, John Garel-Jones, Tristan
Buck, Antony Goodlad, Alastair
Budgen, Nick Gorst, John
Bulmer, Esmond Gower, SirRaymond
Butcher, John Grant, Anthony (HarrowC)
Carlisle, John (LutonWest) Griffiths, PeterPortsm'thN)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Gummer, JohnSelwyn
Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (R'c'n) Hamilton, Hon A.
Chapman, Sydney Hawksley, Warren
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th, S'n) Heddle, John
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Henderson, Barry
Cockeram, Eric Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Colvin, Michael Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Cope, John Howell, Ralph (NNorfolk)
Hunt, John(Ravensbourne) Pawsey, James
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Price, Sir David (Eastleigh)
Kershaw, Anthony Proctor, K. Harvey
King, Rt Hon Tom Rifkind, Malcolm
Kitson, SirTimothy Roberts, M. (Cardiff NW)
Knox, David Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Langford-Holt, SirJohn Rossi, Hugh
Latham, Michael Sainsbury, HonTimothy
LeMarchant, Spencer Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Lloyd, Peter(Fareham) Shepherd, Colin(Hereford)
Lyell, Nicholas Shepherd, Richard
McCrindle, Robert Sims, Roger
Macfarlane, Neil Speed, Keith
MacGregor, John Speller, Tony
MacKay, John (Argyll) Sproat, lain
Major, John Squire, Robin
Marland, Paul Stanbrook, lvor
Marlow, Tony Stevens, Martin
Mates, Michael Stradling Thomas, J.
Mawhinney, DrBrian Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Thompson, Donald
Mellor, David Viggers, Peter
Meyer, Sir Anthony Waddington, David
Mills, lain (Meriden) Wakeham, John
Moate, Roger Waller, Gary
Morrison, Hon P. (Chester) Ward, John
Mudd, David Watson, John
Murphy, Christopher Wells, Bowen
Myles, David Wheeler, John
Needham, Richard Wickenden, Keith
Nelson, Anthony Williams, D.(Montgomery)
Neubert, Michael Wolfson, Mark
Newton, Tony Young, SirGeorge(Acton)
Normanton, Tom Younger, Rt HonGeorge
Onslow, Cranley
Osborn, John Tellers for the Ayes:
Page, Rt Hon Sir G. (Crosby) Mr. Carol Mather and
Page, Richard (SW Herts) Mr. Peter Brooke.
Alton, David Hooley, Frank
Anderson, Donald Howells, Geraint
Atkinson, N.(H'gey,) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Bagier, Gordon A.T. Janner, Hon Greville
Beith, A. J. Jay, Rt Hon Douglas
Bennett, Andrew(St'kp'tN) John, Brynmor
Booth, RtHonAlbert Johnston, Russell(lnverness)
Callaghan,Jim(Midd't'n&P) Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Campbell-Savours, Dale Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Carmichael, Neil Lamond, James
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Leighton, Ronald
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (B'stolS) Lyons, Edward(Bradf'dW)
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. McNamara, Kevin
Cook, Robin F. Marks, Kenneth
Cowans, Harry Marshall, D (G'gowS'ton)
Cryer, Bob Marshall, Jim(LeicesterS)
Dalyell, Tam Martin, M(G'gowS'burn)
Davidson, Arthur Maxton, John
Davis, T. (B'ham, Stechf'd) Miller, Dr M. S. (EKilbride)
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Mitchell, R. C. (Soton Itchen)
Dewar, Donald Morris, Rt Hon C. (O'shaw)
Dixon, Donald Morton, George
Dormand, Jack Palmer, Arthur
Douglas, Dick Park, George
Duffy, A. E. P. Penhaligon, David
Eastham, Ken Powell, Raymond(Ogmore)
Ellis, R. (NED'bysh're) Prescott, John
English, Michael Radice, Giles
Ewing, Harry RhysWilliams, SirBrandon
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Roberts, Albert(Normanton)
Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Freud, Clement Robertson, George
Garrett, John (Norwich S) Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Graham, Ted Rooker, J.W.
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Hamilton, W. W. (C'tral Fife) Sandelson, Neville
Hardy, Peter Sheerman, Barry
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Skinner, Dennis
Haynes, Frank Smith, Cyril(Rochdale)
Home Robertson, John Snape, Peter
Soley, Clive Woodall, Alec
Spearing, Nigel Woolmer, Kenneth
Steel, Rt Hon David Young, David (BoltonE)
Stoddart, David
Stott, Roger Tellers for the Noes:
Tinn, James Mr. Hugh McCartney and
Welsh, Michael Mr. Allen McKay.
Wigley, Dafydd

Question accordingly agreed to.


That the draft Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications and Deemed Applications) Regulations 1981, which were laid before this House on 17 February, be approved.

Motion made, and Question put,

That the draft Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications and Deemed Applications) (Scotland) Regulations 1981, which were laid before this House on 2 March, be approved.—[Mr. Giles Shaw.]

The House divided: Ayes 127, Noes 89.

Division No. 91] [11.55 pm
Alexander, Richard Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Atkinson, David (B'm 'th, E) Kershaw, SirAnthony
Banks, Robert King, Rt Hon Tom
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Kitson, SirTimothy
Benyon, Thomas (A'don) Knox, David
Berry, HonAnthony Langford-Holt, SirJohn
Best, Keith Latham, Michael
Bevan, DavidGilroy LeMarchant, Spencer
Biffen, RtHonJohn Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Biggs-Davison, John Lyell, Nicholas
Blackburn, John McCrindle, Robert
Bright, Graham Macfarlane, Neil
Brinton, Tim MacGregor, John
Brittan, Leon MacKay, John (Argyll)
Brooke, Hon Peter Major, John
Bruce-Gardyne, John Marland, Paul
Buck, Antony Marlow, Tony
Budgen, Nick Mates, Michael
Bulmer, Esmond Mather, Carol
Butcher, John Mawhinney, DrBrian
Carlisle, John (LutonWest) Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Mellor, David
Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (R'c'n) Meyer, SirAnthony
Chapman, Sydney Mills, lain (Meriden)
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th, S'n) Moate, Roger
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)
Cockeram, Eric Mudd, David
Colvin, Michael Murphy, Christopher
Cope, John Myles, David
Cranborne, Viscount Needham, Richard
Dorrell, Stephen Nelson, Anthony
Dover, Denshore Neubert, Michael
Dunn, Robert (Dartford) Newton, Tony
Durant, Tony Normanton, Tom
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Onslow, Cranley
Eggar, Tim Osborn, John
Elliott, SirWilliam Page, Rt Hon Sir G. (Crosby)
Farr,John Page, Richard (SWHerts)
Fisher, SirNigel Pawsey, James
Fookes, Miss Janet Price, Sir David (Eastleigh)
Fraser, Peter (South Angus) Proctor, K. Harvey
Garel-Jones,Tristan Rifkind, Malcolm
Goodlad, Alastair Roberts, M. (Cardiff NW)
Gorst, John Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Gower, SirRaymond Rossi, Hugh
Grant, Anthony (HarrowC) Sainsbury, HonTimothy
Griffiths, Peter Portsm'thN) Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Gummer, JohnSelwyn Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Hamilton, Hon A. Shepherd, Richard
Hawksley, Warren Sims, Roger
Heddle, John Speed, Keith
Henderson, Barry Speller, Tony
Heseltine, RtHon Michael Sproat, lain
Hogg, HonDouglas(Gr'th'm) Squire, Robin
Howell, Ralph (NNorfolk) Stanbrook, lvor
Hunt, John(Ravensbourne) Stevens, Martin
StradlingThomas, J. Wickenden, Keith
Taylor, Teddy (S'endE) Williams,D. (Montgomery)
Viggers, Peter Wolfson, Mark
Waddington, David Young, SirGeorge (Acton)
Wakeham, John Younger, Rt Hon George
Waller, Gary
Ward, John Tellers for the Ayes:
Watson, John Mr Donald Thompson and
Wells, Bowen Lord James Douglas-Hamilton.
Wheeler, John
Alton, David Lamond, James
Atkinson, N.(H'gey,) Leighton, Ronald
Bagier, Gordon A.T. Lyons, Edward (Bradf'dW)
Beith,A. J. McCartney, Hugh
Bennett, Andrew(St'kp'tN) McKay, Allen(Penistone)
Booth, Rt Hon Albert McNamara, Kevin
Callaghan,Jim (Midd't'n&P) Marks, Kenneth
Campbell-Savours, Dale Marshall, D(G'gowS'ton)
Carmichael, Neil Marshall, Jim (LeicesterS)
Clark, DrDavid (SShields) Martin, M(G'gowS'burn)
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (B'stolS) Maxton, John
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. Miller, Dr M.S. (EKilbride)
Cook, Robin F. Mitchell, R.C. (SotonItchen)
Cowans, Harry Morris, Rt Hon C. (O'shaw)
Cryer, Bob Morton, George
Dalyell,Tam Palmer, Arthur
Davidson, Arthur Park, George
Davis, T. (B 'ham, Stechf'd) Penhaligon, David
Dewar, Donald Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Dixon, Donald Prescott, John
Dormand, Jack Radice, Giles
Douglas, Dick Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Duffy, A. E. P. Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Eastham, Ken Robertson, George
Ellis, R.(NED'bysh're) Robinson, G. (CoventryNW)
English, Michael Rooker, J.W.
Ewing, Harry Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Fletcher,Ted(Darlington) Sandelson, Neville
Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald Sheerman, Barry
Freud, Clement Skinner, Dennis
Garrett, John (NorwichS) Smith, Cyril(Rochdale)
Graham, Ted Snape, Peter
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Soley, Clive
Hamilton, W.W. (C'tral Fife) Spearing, Nigel
Hardy, Peter Steel, Rt Hon David
Harrison, RtHonWalter Stoddart, David
Haynes, Frank Stott, Roger
HomeRobertson, John Welsh, Michael
Hooley, Frank Wigley, Dafydd
Howells, Geraint Woodall, Alec
Hughes, Robert (AberdeenN) Woolmer, Kenneth
Janner, HonGreville Young, David (Bolton E)
Jay, Rt Hon Douglas
John, Brynmor Tellers for the Noes:
Johnston, Russell (lnverness) Mr. James Tinn and
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Mr. Joseph Dean
Kaufman, RtHonGerald

Question accordingly agreed to.