HC Deb 11 July 2002 vol 388 c1148W
Sir Michael Spicer

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) if the planning inspector leading the inquiry into the application to build an asylum seekers centre at Throckmorton may reach his conclusion only on planning issues; [68756]

(2) if it is his policy that the planning inspector's decision will be decisive in determining whether permission will be granted for the asylum seekers centre at Throckmorton in Worcestershire. [68755]

Mr. McNulty

The Home Office has not yet served a Notice of Proposed Development on Wychavon district council. If it does, and the council objects, the dispute will be referred to the Deputy Prime Minister, who may decide to hold a non-statutory public inquiry. The planning inspector holding any such inquiry would treat it as if it were into an appeal against refusal of planning permission. Every relevant planning issue, whether of local or national importance, which is a material consideration in assessing the proposal, would be taken into account. The inspector would weigh all the arguments and evidence presented by the parties before reaching his conclusions and recommendations, including the likely effect of the proposed development on the surrounding area, and taking into account the views of the local planning authority and local residents.

The inspector would he making a report to the Deputy Prime Minister, not making the determination himself. It would be for the Deputy Prime Minister to determine the dispute between the developing Department and the local planning authority taking into account the inspector's report and all other material considerations.