HC Deb 02 December 1987 vol 123 cc923-4
10. Mr. Spearing

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to announce his decision concerning the public inquiry in respect of planning applications for the redevelopment of the royal docks.

Mr. Waldegrave

If the hon. Member is referring to Rosehaugh Stanhope's application for the Royal Albert dock, I announced the decision not to call it in on 19 November.

Mr. Spearing

Irrespective of the merits of any local accommodation, does the Minister agree that that application is of great strategic importance? Can he tell us why his right hon. Friend did not take the advice of the London planning advisory committee to call it in? Is he not aware that, on the three sites, the total building could amount to between £3 billion and £4 billion, with a population of perhaps 10,000 residents, with as many jobs? Does not his leaving the matter to an unelected body appointed by the Secretary of State illustrate the Government's preference for authoritarian, centralised solutions?

Mr. Waldegrave

Obviously we considered carefully this large and important development. We took into account the views of the London borough of Newham, which approved the development, partly, I think, because there is a considerable amount of social housing proposed in it. In general the development fitted in with the London Docklands development strategy, and it carries forward the development of Docklands, which is generally welcomed in London. That is why we did not think it necessary to call in the application.