§ Lord Melchett
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Why they intend to delete from the Cumbria and 516WA Lake District Joint Structure Plan reference to the Lake District Special Planning Board's policy for limiting the occupation of new houses to people who are employed locally, retired from local employment, or about to be employed locally, and whether they agree that such a policy is essential for rural areas that have suffered a change from a permanently to temporarily resident population if they are not to suffer from further depopulation, further decline in local services and the destruction of local communities.
§ The Earl of Avon
My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment proposed the deletion of this policy from the structure plan because, while he sympathised with the planning board's wish to ensure that sufficient housing is made available for people who live and work in the area, he considered it would be an unreasonable use of planning powers to attempt to ensure that houses should only be occupied by such people.
The planning board have objected to the proposed deletion and their representations, together with those of other parties, will be considered carefully before a decision is taken on the structure plan. In advance of this decision it would be inappropriate to indicate whether such a policy has any general application, though my right honourable friend is well aware of the problems faced by other rural communities.