HC Deb 12 November 1975 vol 899 cc703-5W
Mr. Michael Latham

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment on what dates his Department received, in completed form (a) Mr. George Dobry's interim report on the Development Con- trol System, (b) his report entitled "Control of Demolition" and (c) his final report on the Development Control System; and when he expects to be in a position to make a statement on his policy regarding the recommendations of these three reports.

Mr. John Silkin

In January 1974, September 1974 and February 1975, respectively, As to a statement, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply today to my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall, South (Mr. George).

Mr. George

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what conclusions he has reached on the recommendations made by Mr. George Dobry QC in his Final Report of the Review of the Development Control System and in his report on Control of Demolition; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Silkin

My right hon. Friends and I have now completed our consideration of Mr. Dobry's reports. In doing so we have had the benefit of comments from all the local authority associations, who participated in a working party which examined each recommendation in detail. We also received the views of developers and of some 50 other organisations who have an interest in development control, and we are most grateful for their helpful observations.

I should like once again to express our thanks to Mr. Dobry, to his advisory group, and to all those who contributed to the preparation of his reports. The review has provided a unique insight into the detailed working of the system, and contains many valuable proposals for improving its administration.

Mr. Dobry made more than 100 recommendations, and many of those consulted put forward views on most or all of them. On many, there was almost complete unanimity of view, and a welcome was extended to Mr. Dobry's proposals. In particular, few dissented from Mr. Dobry's general conclusion that the existing development control system is fundamentally sound, but on two of his major recommendations—(1), the division of applications into two categories subject to different statutory procedures and (2), the further control of demolition—there has been a divergence of view. In both cases it seems to us that the weight of argument—and for that matter of numbers also—is in favour of rejection and we do not propose to accept either of these recommendations.

In the interests of brevity I give our reasons in full in a statement which I have placed in the Library. I also place on record there our conclusions on all the other recommendations and the steps we propose to take with regard to them. It is my intention to issue a circular to local authorities in the near future on administrative matters. Where administrative action is required of the Department of the Environment and the Welsh Office, it has already been put in hand. Other matters needing fresh legislation must await a convenient opportunity, which I hope may be not long delayed.

Forward to