HC Deb 11 November 1997 vol 300 c481W
Mr. Burstow

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what his Department's policy is towards existing planning guidance in relation to large out of town leisure complexes which may impact on existing facilities; and what plans he has to issue new planning guidance to cover out-of-town leisure complexes; [14739]

(2) what plans he has to issue new planning guidance to minimise the disturbance to local residents caused by large out-of-town leisure complexes. [14738]

Mr. Raynsford

The Government are firmly committed to the objectives of Planning Policy Guidance Note 6: "Town Centres and Retail Developments", which seeks to sustain and enhance the vitality and viability of our existing city, town and district centres by making them the focus for investment, particularly in retail, office, leisure and other appropriate developments.

The Government propose to ensure that the approach in PPG6 is applied just as firmly to leisure developments as to retail developments. In applying the sequential approach to selecting sites, the Government will expect developers to demonstrate why they could not develop elements of a large scheme on more central sites, with less on-site car parking.

The current policy for leisure developments, therefore, consists of PPG6 and the Government Response to the Report of the Environment Committee (Cm 3729). We have no current plans to issue further guidance.

The Department will shortly be commissioning research on planning and leisure development. We will want to consider the implication of that research before considering whether guidance on this aspect needs to be amended.

Local planning authorities are required to determine planning applications in accordance with their development plans, unless other material considerations indicate otherwise. Factors such as the impact of large out-of-town leisure complexes on the neighbourhood are capable of being material planning considerations, and where appropriate, local planning authorities can impose conditions on planning permission to minimise such impacts.

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