§ Mr. Tony Lloyd
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will make a statement on his refusal to direct the local planning authority to refuse planning permission for the Waterdale development;
(2) if he will make a statement on the financial implications for his Department of the Waterdale development;
(3) if he will give details of what steps his Department has taken to improve road transport to the Waterdale development site.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
The Department intervenes to direct a refusal of planning permission where a proposed development is considered to have unacceptable traffic and safety implications for motorways and other trunk roads within its responsibility.
It was concluded that such implications did not arise in this particular case, provided that certain improvements were made to the layout of the M1/A405 junction and to the A405. We have accordingly given a direction that the development shall not proceed until orders have been made under the Highway Act 1980 for these improvements and that public access to the development shall not begin until these improvements are substantially complete. If these conditions are satisfied, there are no grounds to direct refusal. The improvements would be carried out at the developer's expense.
The Department of Transport owns part of the site on which the development is proposed. Jointly with the owner of the adjoining land, we are negotiating an option agreement for the sale of the land to the developers.
The Department is entirely neutral on whether planning permission should be granted. As part owner of the site we are bound to ensure that if planning permission were granted the taxpayer should reap a proper share in the benefit of the increased value of the land.