HC Deb 19 June 2002 vol 387 c415W
Mr. Luff

To ask the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to the answer of 10 June 2002 [Ref 59084] from the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the format and procedures will be of non-statutory public inquiries into the proposed asylum accommodation centres; and if he will make a statement. [61275]

Mr. McNulty

Pursuant to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Member for Stretford and Urmston (Beverley Hughes), no planning notifications in respect of the proposed developments have yet been referred to the Secretary of State for determination under the procedures set out in DoE circular 18–84. The circular sets out the various ways in which a dispute between the local planning authority and the developing Department may be determined. These are by means of written representations, a meeting chaired by an official of my Office, or a non-statutory public inquiry. The circular acknowledges that where there is evidence of interest of other parties it may be desirable to hold a non-statutory public inquiry.

Where the Secretary of State holds a non-statutory public inquiry under the circular, his practice is to follow the procedure in the Inquiries Procedure Rules which apply to local inquiries held into planning applications and appeals under the Town and Country Planning Act. The current rules are the Town and Country Planning (Inquiries Procedure) (England) Rules 2000. He would, of course, abide by the principles of natural justice and human rights at all times. After any public inquiry, the inspector would submit a report to the Secretary of State who would then determine the dispute.