HC Deb 08 November 1999 vol 337 cc783-4

Lords amendment: No. 439, in page 143, line 5, leave out ("findings reported") and insert ("report made")

Mr. Raynsford

I beg to move, That this House agrees with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this, it will be convenient to discuss Lords amendments Nos. 440, 441, 444 and 447 to 450.

Mr. Raynsford

Amendments Nos. 439, 440, 441 and 444 arise from commitments made by the Government in another place to consider Opposition amendments relating to the report of the chair or of the panel of the examination in public into the spatial development strategy. Our intention is that the report of an EIP panel should include not merely findings of fact, but recommendations. After the debates held in the House during the past week over the report of the EIP panel into the south-east regional planning guidance, some hon. Members might question the view that there should be recommendations. However, the notion that the panel should make recommendations, rather than including only findings of fact, is very much part of our approach. Concern was expressed that the current term, "findings", may be too narrow to encompass "recommendations". In planning Acts and secondary legislation, the term "report" is more often used. We believe that that would be a more appropriate word: the amendments therefore change relevant references in the Bill from "findings" to "report."

8.45 pm

The Bill as it stands provides for the Secretary of State to give the mayor by way of a development order the power to direct a London borough to refuse planning permission. Amendment No. 447 provides clarification to make certain that, when the Secretary of State makes such a development order, he can also impose a duty on the mayor to give reasons when he or she uses the power to direct refusal.

Amendments Nos. 448 and 449 arise from a commitment I gave to consider an amendment tabled in Committee by the hon. Member for Croydon, South (Mr. Ottaway). They provide that the mayor shall have regard to the unitary development plan and the spatial development strategy, so far as they are material to the application, when considering using his or her power to direct refusal of planning permission.

Amendment No. 450 also arises from Government commitments given in another place to consider amendments proposed by the Opposition. We have always made it clear that the mayor will be liable for the costs of holding an appeal inquiry and the costs of other parties where the mayor has directed refusal of planning permission unreasonably. That is an important discipline and safeguard. The amendment puts that provision on the face of the Bill and ensures that an order for costs can be made, whether or not the mayor participates in an inquiry.

Lords amendment agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 440 to 450 agreed to.

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