Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex 2


  The perceived areas of weaknesses of the Act are:

  1.  The successful promotion of an application under the 1992 Act may depend upon several ancillary statutory consents being obtained that are not part of the procedures introduced by the 1992 Act and subordinate legislation eg authorising the closure of sections of railways to facilitate the construction of a particular scheme and the compulsory purchase of open space. The 1992 Act obliges a promoter to pursue separate statutory procedures which may result in an adverse decision. This may have the consequences that the substantive scheme, which may have obtained approval under the 1992 Act, cannot be implemented as it may depend upon these ancillary applications. Under the private Bill procedure, the need for consents in respect of such matters could usually be dealt with within the body of the private Bill usually by way of dispensation with the need to obtain such statutory consent.

  2.  The new procedure requires a scheme to be substantially developed before it is submitted for approval if the promoter wishes to seek full planning permission. The alternative is to promote the scheme in outline leaving approval of much of the detail to the local planning authority. This could result in the promoter, having obtained an order under the 1992 Act following examination at a public local inquiry, having to pursue planning appeals with local authorities if the reserved matters are not approved. This would delay the implementation of a scheme for which permission had already been given. In order to avoid leaving substantive issues to be resolved at a later date the promoter must therefore submit an application seeking full permission by reference to detailed plan and sections.

  3.  The substantially increased cost of developing a project prior to obtaining the approval of the Secretary of State under the 1992 Act also has the effect of greatly reducing flexibility since a scheme will now be confirmed with the benefit of a specific planning permission by reference to detailed plans and sections. In the case of private Bills a generalised planning permission was conferred on the promoter by General Development Orders made under the Town and Country Planning Acts. A consent under this Order conferred a certain degree of flexibility in implementing a particular scheme and did not require the submission by the promoter to Parliament of detailed plans and sections specifying specific development.

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