Examination of Witnesses (Questions 180-199)|
QC, MR MIKE
TUESDAY 18 DECEMBER 2001
180. So in the future I think it will be harder
to track local authorities who are taking a few for selling land
and departing from what would normally have been a good planning
decision because there will not be any plan to judge it against?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) They would still have
to report where it was in breach of the principal policies. You
will recall that the local development framework will set out
what the criteria are. If it is about to grant planning permission
in breach of those principles it would still have to report.
181. That is going to be more general, it is
going to be more open to interpretation than a departure from
a land use plan.
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) It will be more general
than the local development plans at present, yes, unless there
is an area of change as an action plan.
182. You are thinking of getting rid of some
of the PPGs; which ones?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) What we have said is we
need to look at the PPGs and see whether they can be simplified.
183. Yes, but there is not much point in looking
at them unless you have got some idea which ones you are unhappy
with at the moment.
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) We specify in the document
which ones we are going to look at first. If somebody would help
me to remind me where it is in the document. It is page 28. Paragraph
4.61 identifies which ones. PPG1 headline guidance for the planning
system, PPG4, PPGs 6, 7, 15, 16 and 5. I am making it clear, if
I may, that we are not looking at those to change the policies,
simply to simplify the guidance given.
184. So you are confident that historical, environment
and archaeological remains are going to be as protected now as
they were in the past?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) The policies will not
change in relation to that but the expression of that policy may
well become clearer and simpler. In PPG3, for example, that is
a much shorter, more focused document than earlier PPGs. The direction
that PPG3 has moved as a means of drafting is what we are after.
185. I thought you were also after certainty?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) Yes.
186. It takes you about fives years to revise
one of these PPGs, or four and a half?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) It has taken a long time
in the past but we would hope to do it quicker.
187. How much quicker?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) I would hope that we would
be able to deal with the particular ones that we have referred
to in paragraph 4.61 within the next two years.
188. Statutory consultees, how many are you
getting rid of?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) In 4.63 we propose to
timetable these reviews over the next two years.
189. Ah, so you are not going to do it within
the next two years, you are only going to get a timetable published
for the next two years?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) No, I think we are going
to do it, so our core policies will be fit for purpose when our
new local development framework is introduced following legislation.
190. Two years from today?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) It will be over the next
191. Which of the statutory consultees are you
going to get rid of?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) That is what we are consulting
about at the moment as to which ones we should
192. Which ones do you want to get rid of?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) We have indicated a principle
which is we think one should leave those that have a health and
safety role or those which have themselves a consent regime that
is required to be gone through, for example English Heritage or
English Nature or the Health and Safety Executive. Those are the
ones one would envisage staying.
193. Which ones would go then?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) If one looks at the statutory
consultees at the moment there are bodies such as the Garden History
Society. I do not want to single them out for special mention.
194. They are on the hit list to start with.
Who else is on the hit list?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) I have indicated what
the principle is, namely the health and safety or if you have
got a consent regime of your own. I have got the list here: British
Waterways Board, Civil Aviation Authority, Coal Authority, County
Planning Authorities, Crown Estate Commissioners, DCMS, District
Planning Authority, English Heritage, English Nature, Environment
Agency, Forestry Commission, Garden History Society, Greater London
Authority, Health and Safety Executive, Highways Agency, Local
Highways Authority, Local Planning Authority, etc.
195. What about a marking system then, A for
those who are going to stay and D minus who are going to go. Can
you give us a few more D minuses?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) We have set out what we
think the principle should be, health and safety or a regime stays,
all the rest goes.
196. Can I turn to a subject that causes more
problems for planning authorities than anything else which is
the subject of telephone masts and the interface between Government's
advice and local authority advice. If the local authority puts
in its core policies a statement that it does want to see masts
more than 100 yards away from a domestic residence, which as I
understand is not inconsistent with Government policy at the moment,
does not contradict any Government policy, it adds to and supplements
it, that would be okay, would it not, that would be a core policy
which would be welcomed in the community and would work in the
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) Could I not answer those
197. I would rather you did.
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) The Planning Green Paper
and the suite of documents that go with it are relevant to the
system of planning. All the questions you are asking about masts
are totally legitimate but they are about the policy that the
Government has adopted towards mobile telephone masts. I want
to be clear that what we are talking about here is not a particular
policy should it be changed, what precisely
198. I am only suggesting that this kind of
thing could easily become the basis for a core policy of a local
development framework and could legitimately be so, and we can
discuss later on exactly what format it might or might not take.
It would not be exempt from the sort of thing that could feature
in a local development framework.
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) The reason why I am reluctant
to answer is because I would need to look in detail at what the
PPG says about mobile telephone masts before I go into the detail
of those questions. If you do not mind
Dr Pugh: You do not want to answer it.
Chairman: You will send us a note. Thank you
199. Can I just ask you what major changes you
propose to use classes. Is there any truth in this rumour that
nice, traditional city centre pubs could be turned into nightclubs
without any recourse to local planning authority at all and if
that is the case does it not conflict with our desire to create
urban renaissance and bring people back to living in the hearts
of our towns and cities?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) We are going to produce
a document in the New Year that will effectively solicit views
on what, if any, changes there should be. There was a document
done by private consultants which dealt with the question of change
to use classes which was trying to restrict it rather than increase
it. The point you have made is people have mentioned to me that
people are very anxious about the possibility of so constructing
use classes that that which is a quiet, non-intrusive