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Column 793

Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence L.

Hill, James (Southampton Test)

Horam, John

Hordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter

Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)

Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W)

Jenkin, Bernard

Jessel, Toby

Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey

Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)

Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine

Key, Robert

Kilfedder, Sir James

Kirkhope, Timothy

Knapman, Roger

Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)

Knight, Greg (Derby N)

Kynoch, George (Kincardine)

Lait, Mrs Jacqui

Lawrence, Sir Ivan

Lidington, David

Lightbown, David

Lilley, Rt Hon Peter

Lord, Michael

Luff, Peter

Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas

Maitland, Lady Olga

Malone, Gerald

Mans, Keith

Marland, Paul

Martin, David (Portsmouth S)

Mates, Michael

Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr Brian

Merchant, Piers

Mills, Iain

Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)

Montgomery, Sir Fergus

Moss, Malcolm

Neubert, Sir Michael

Newton, Rt Hon Tony

Nicholls, Patrick

Nicholson, David (Taunton)

Page, Richard

Paice, James

Patnick, Irvine

Pawsey, James

Porter, David (Waveney)

Portillo, Rt Hon Michael

Redwood, Rt Hon John

Richards, Rod

Riddick, Graham

Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn

Robinson, Mark (Somerton)

Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent)

Shaw, David (Dover)

Sims, Roger

Spencer, Sir Derek

Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset)

Sproat, Iain

Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John

Steen, Anthony

Stephen, Michael

Stern, Michael

Sweeney, Walter

Sykes, John

Taylor, Ian (Esher)

Taylor, Rt Hon John D. (Strgfd)

Temple-Morris, Peter

Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)

Thurnham, Peter

Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th)

Tracey, Richard

Trend, Michael

Twinn, Dr Ian

Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)

Waterson, Nigel

Watts, John

Wells, Bowen

Whittingdale, John

Widdecombe, Ann

Wiggin, Sir Jerry

Wilkinson, John

Willetts, David

Wolfson, Mark

Wood, Timothy

Yeo, Tim

Tellers for the Noes :

Mr. Sydney Chapman and

Mr. Andrew MacKay.

Question accordingly negatived.

New clause 17 --

Guidance for planning


After section 29 of the planning Act insert

"29A.--(1) This section shall apply only to Wales.

(2) The Secretary of State shall, after consultation with the Local Planning Authorities concerned, by order designate areas in respect of which the Local Planning Authorities, as and when directed by the Secretary of State, are jointly to prepare guidance for the planning of land-use, transport, economic development and the environment, within those areas.

(3) The timescale for the preparation of such guidance shall be prescribed by the Secretary of State.".' -- [Mr. Morgan.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Morgan : I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time. The new clause relates to the absence of any guarantees in the Bill for the provision of what might be described as strategic planning, including any equivalent to the powers which we expect to be included in the English local government measure and which have already been included in the Scottish one.

The planning subjects that we want the Secretary of State to instruct the incoming unitary authorities to cover jointly are land use, transportation, economic development and the environment. We understand that the new clause

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meets with the approval of various lobbying bodies with a specialist interest in planning issues, in both rural and urban Wales. The Council for the Protection of Rural Wales is broadly in favour of its thrust because it understands the problems that might arise if we sub-divide the planning of all sorts of issues--including wind farms, which happen to be the burning issue of the moment in rural Wales.

There are many other issues, including the way in which rural Wales-- previously a Cinderella area but now rapidly expanding--handles the subject of land use and the change in the environment. Land consisting virtually entirely of national park or areas of outstanding natural beauty is also extremely attractive to the new society into which we are moving, in which people's choice of housing is not necessarily determined by economic activity. Many people now retire at 50 or decide to go for the good life by leaving London and their careers because they think that their children would be better off brought up in a country environment. Those sorts of conflicts need to be resolved.

In urban Wales there is a desperate desire to resolve the question of where the major employment sites will be. A site may be in one unitary authority area, but it may primarily serve a labour market in an adjoining area. Such issues could be more easily resolved if there were a grouping of special subjects involving two, three or more unitary authorities. That would be for the Secretary of State of the day to decide, in consultation with the unitary authorities. They would then have instructions from the Secretary of State to prepare strategic plans on this, that or the other issue, such as the four listed in the new clause--land use, transportation, economic development and the environment.

The Secretary of State will know that this is in no sense an attempt to reconstruct the counties in some sort of shadowy form over the next 20 years. It is very much in the spirit of the provision in the Scottish local government plans for covering strategic planning against the background of the sub-division of Scotland into smaller, single-tier, most-purpose authorities.

We are going through the same process in Wales, but there is a major difference between Wales and Scotland, and the Secretary of State has never justified it. Why is it that his counterpart in Scotland thinks that there is a continuing need for strategic planning to be carried out in agreement between himself and the Scottish local authorities ? We are looking for something similar in Wales. We have tabled new clause 17 in that spirit and I commend it to the House.

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