HC Deb 09 February 2004 vol 417 cc1231-2W
Mr. Willis

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to require a full planning application for the approval of mezzanine retail floor space within existing retail premises; and if he will make a statement. [153837]

Keith Hill

Section 55(2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 excludes from the definition of development works which do not affect the external appearance of a building. As a result, unless the planning permission has a condition specifying the maximum floor space permitted or expressly excludes the provision of a mezzanine floor, or the development is an intensification in the use amounting to a material change in the use, the planning system has no control over such proposals.

As part of the debates in Committee on the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill, an amendment has been proposed to change section 55(2) to bring such developments within planning control. Ministers have indicated that they take this issue seriously and will consider it further before the next stage of the Bill.