§ Ms Beverley Hughes
[holding answer 6 February 2001]: The Secretary of State's proposed changes to draft Regional Planning Guidance for the South West propose a spatial planning strategy based upon four broadly defined sub-regions, Northern, South Eastern, Central and Western. The proposed sub-regions reflect the different underlying economic realities, not political boundaries. The South West Regional Development Agency supports the sub-regional analysis in the Regional Planning Guidance as reflecting the RDA's own analysis on sub-regional economic zones. The concept of sub-regions was first identified in the draft prepared by the South West Regional Planning Conference in 1999, on which consultation was carried out in the autumn of 1999. The concept was discussed at the public examination held in March 2000 and developed in more detail in the panel's report. The Secretary of State's proposed changes to draft Regional Planning Guidance were published for public consultation on 20 December 2000. The consultation period ends on 14 March and all responses will be considered before the final guidance is published.