§ Mr. Livingstone
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why he has taken 18 months to confirm the direction under article 4 of the Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1977 to protect the character of the Mapesbury conservation area which was submitted by the London borough of Brent.
§ Mrs. Roe
The specific powers under which the article 4 direction was made by Brent council in February 1986 meant that, unless approved by my right hon. Friend within six months, it would lapse. The direction was an extensive one covering over 700 properties and raised a number of problems which prevented its approval. The Department wrote to the council in September 1986 explaining the position, and the council responded with a number of further queries and an outline of a new direction for comment. I regret that the case has not been dealt with more expeditiously since then. However, officials have recently met council officers and are writing to the council setting out clearly, the steps it should take in submitting a revised article 4 direction dealing with the points raised.