HC Deb 04 March 1981 vol 1000 cc266-7
9. Mr. Farr

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if it is his policy that where a house is built in a position which does not comply with planning consent it should be removed.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Giles Shaw)

Not necessarily.

Mr. Farr

I thank my hon. Friend for that brief reply, but is he aware that by the ingenious use of the appeal machinery it is possible to delay almost indefinitely the demolition of a house that has been improperly built? Does my hon. Friend think that that is right? Will he consider a way of speeding up the machinery, so that if it is admitted that a house has been built in an improper position it can be demolished without delay?

Mr. Shaw

My hon. Friend will be aware that there are many cases in which buildings can be ameliorated. Therefore, those buildings would not require demolition. We must ensure that we strike a fair balance, and that is why there is an appeal system.

Mr. Douglas-Mann

Will the Minister accept that there is scope for great abuse in a system that makes it possible for someone who has applied for planning consent and had that consent refused and his appeal rejected to hold up the enforcement procedure while a fresh application is made? Does my hon. Friend agree that the procedure can go on almost indefinitely, and that legislative action may be needed to prevent that?

Mr. Shaw

I appreciate that there should, and could, be ways of speeding up the appeals procedure so that such matters can be dealt with more quickly. My right hon. Friend and I are looking at the matter.