HC Deb 01 December 1993 vol 233 cc545-6W
33. Mr. John Townend

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the use of powers of local authorities to restrict traders' rights to protect their premises in conservation areas.

Mr. Curry

Installation of shutters or other security devices which would materially affect the external appearance of a commercial building in a conservation area requires planning permission. In considering applications for planning permission, local planning authorities—or on appeal the Secretary of State—must take into account appropriate local plan policies and other material considerations. In the case of applications relating to a building in a conservation area, security considerations have to be balanced against the statutory requirement to have special regard to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of the area.

My Department's draft circular "Planning and Crime Prevention", currently subject to public consultation, encourages planning authorities to adopt a sympathetic approach where the security of listed buildings and buildings in conservation areas is concerned and to explore with applicants the scope for a mutually acceptable solution to their requirements. A copy of the draft circular is available in the Library.