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Mr. Baldry : Which sites to bring forward will be a matter for local decisions. We will simply honour the existing statutory commitment to pay grant if the costs are sensible and the site can be quickly put in place.

Of course, if a county council proposes a contentious site and one to which the district objects, the time scale is bound to be lengthened by the potential section 8 proceedings. Similarly, I sincerely hope that any outstanding planning issues for proposed official sites will be resolved locally. If there are any outstanding issues, local authorities are cutting things fine in respect of acceptable grant applications.

Whether or not to press ahead at this late stage with an official gipsy site in my hon. Friend's constituency is thus a local matter for Essex county council and, indeed, Tendring district council to determine. Even if Essex county council decides not to proceed, the planning guidance to which I have referred accepts that private sites may well be perfectly admissible within the current planning system. We would expect the local development plan to reflect that. However, my hon. Friend and his constituents can certainly take comfort from the fact that, so long as the existing statutory provisions remain, checks and balances exist to resolve disputes between the district and county councils. My hon. Friend and his constituents can also take comfort from the fact that should the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill receive Royal Assent they will have access to easier remedies for those irregular camping incursions that cause so much local misery and discontent.

Question put and agreed to.

Adjourned accordingly at fifteen minutes to Eleven o'clock.


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