§ 14. Mr. D. E. Thomas
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what initiatives his Department has taken on planning policies; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Mark Robinson
The Welsh Office and the Department of the Environment have jointly taken planning policy initiatives, mainly aimed at removing unnecessary controls and improving and speeding up the operation of the planning system. In addition, the office is consulting on the draft circular on housing in Wales for senior management referred to in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Vale of Glamorgan (Sir R. Gower) on 9 December.
§ Mr. Thomas
Does the Minister accept that the Welsh Office, under his right hon. Friend's tenure, is the most interventionist in terms of planning policy that Wales has seen since the inception of the Welsh Office, and that his 15 intervention amounts to interference in the opportunities that local planning authorities have to pursue planning policies and housing development related to local needs?
§ Mr. Robinson
I do not accept that my right hon. Friend is interventionist in his planning policies. As I am sure the hon. Member is aware, it is open to anyone who has an application turned down to appeal to the Welsh Office. The normal practice is for an inspector to be appointed to consider the case.