HC Deb 07 December 1994 vol 251 cc304-5
9. Mr. Kynoch

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received from Scottish local authorities with regard to area structure plans in the light of local government reform.

Mr. Stewart

My right hon. Friend has received representations from three local authorities about structure plan areas. These representations have been taken into account in preparing a consultation paper, setting out our proposals for structure plan areas, which should be published within the next few days.

Mr. Kynoch

Is my hon. Friend aware of the planning chaos in my constituency which has been brought about by the failure of the Labour and subsequent Liberal-Scottish National party administrations of Grampian regional council to submit an area structure plan, thus blocking discussions on local district plans? Is he further aware that the consequent random planning applications from developers throughout the area are causing grave concern to my constituents? In light of the imminent advent of the single-tier authority, which is much welcomed in my area, will my hon. Friend reassure me that, before Grampian region's plan—whenever it is submitted—is finally adopted, it will be submitted for local consultation?

Mr. Stewart

I fully appreciate my hon. Friend's concerns about Grampian's structure plan. As he rightly said, the situation has been chaotic, although I cannot comment on the merits of the proposed strategies. We are keen to see an up-to-date structure plan for Grampian region in place as soon as possible, and I believe that that is in everyone's interests. We are encouraging the region to bring forward its proposals without further delay. I can certainly give my hon. Friend the assurance that he seeks regarding consultation on the Grampian structure plan—when it is submitted—before my right hon. Friend reaches his conclusions on the matter.

Mr. Darling

Following local government reorganisation, does the Minister propose to ensure that there is a co-ordinated local authority response to the Government's plans to build another road bridge across the Forth, with its motorway network to the west of Edinburgh and its highly damaging environmental impact on the city of Edinburgh? Does the fact that the head of the roads directorate at the Scottish Office has now left signify that, at long last, Ministers have woken up to the fact that they are being taken for a very expensive ride by their own civil servants?

Mr. Stewart

The hon. Gentleman's latter comment is beneath contempt. In relation to his general point, my right hon. Friend will be making a statement on the matter in due course.

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