§ 2.57 p.m.
§ LORD CONESFORD
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether permission has been granted for any change of use of the land in Northumberland Avenue now occupied by the Constitutional Club.]
THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD (EARL WALDEGRAVE)
My Lords, my center honourable friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government held an inquiry into a proposal to redevelop this site in 1957, and he subsequently granted permission for the erection thereon of a new composite building comprising seven storeys of offices above ground level, with three further storeys above to be used by the Constitutional Club, and the basement to provide garage space.
§ LORD CONESFORD
My Lords, may I thank my noble friend for his Answer, and ask him this further question? In present circumstances, do not Her Majesty's Government agree that any development of this site which would increase the numbers of those compelled to travel daily into and out of this area would be contrary to the public interest? In these circumstances, since the development has not started, could not Ministers use all their legal powers to see that the public interest shall prevail?
My Lords, this planning consent, as I informed my noble friend in my Answer, has been given, and my center honourable friend now has no further powers in this matter. Of course he took the considerations which have been mentioned into account when he gave that decision.
§ LORD SILKIN
Is the noble Earl aware that it is not correct that, once planning permission has been given, that is final? In proper circumstances, planning permission can be revoked. I should like to ask the noble Earl, further, whether this permission was unconditional, or whether, as is quite 808 common, it was subject to a condition that development must commence within a certain period?
My Lords, I think that this permission did not impose a condition that development must start within a certain period. I am not sure on that point, but from my memory of reading the very long consent letter I think no such condition was imposed.