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I say immediately to the hon. Members for Sutton Coldfield (Mr. Mitchell) and for South-West Bedfordshire (Andrew Selous) that, as far as the Government are concerned, there is no reason why the issues of concern to the hon. Gentlemen should not be reached. The Government will certainly not seek to delay the proceedingsit is not in our interests to do sobut of course we shall certainly endeavour, in an entirely proper fashion, to expound our proposals and our responses to the amendments tabled by the Opposition.
As a former deputy Chief Whip, I am not sure that I approve entirely of such an approach, even by an Opposition Member. In an attempt to win him over, however, perhaps I can deal with the issue of scrutiny in Committee.
I was grateful for the kind remarks from several Opposition Members, and particularly for those from the hon. Member for Ludlow (Matthew Green), and I agree totally with his observation about scrutiny in Committee. Ultimately, the fact is that as a result of the five weeks that we spent in Committee, all the substantive provisions of the Bill were scrutinised. Hon. Members can play this numbers game how they like. The Bill has 117 clauses, but the House ought to be aware that many of them are of a procedural, interpretive and/or technical nature: 47 clauses are of that character; four clauses relate to the slip rule, which is about the correction of errors, on which I have been very broad-minded; 15 clauses are general provisions, regulation-making powers, supplementary or interpretation provisions, repeals or provisions relating to commencement, extent and so on; 19 clauses relate to Wales; and nine clauses simply apply provisions to Scotland and are the same as the English ones in principle and application.
Today, we are talking about only three new clauses for debate. The remainder of the Government amendments are of a minor and technical nature. I would bet my bottom dollar that the Opposition will not wish to take any length of time to debate our new provisions on tree preservation orders. There are a large number of those, and I shall of course endeavour to describe properly the new provisions. I would be extremely surprised, however, if that large number of amendments were the subject of much discussion.
The simple fact is that we can play games with numbers however we want to do it, but in this case the numbers bear no relation to reality. I very much hope that we can now get on to the substance of the Bill.
'(1) The Secretary of State may, by regulations, make provision for the making of a planning contribution in relation to the development or use of land in the area of a local planning authority.
(2) The contribution may be made
(a) by the prescribed means,
(b) by compliance with the relevant requirements, or
(c) by a combination of such means and compliance.
(3) The regulations may require the local planning authority to include in a development plan document (or in such other document as is prescribed)
(a) a statement of the developments or uses or descriptions of development or use in relation to which they will consider accepting a planning contribution;
(b) a statement of the matters relating to development or use in relation to which they will not consider accepting a contribution by the prescribed means;
(c) the purposes to which receipts from payments made in respect of contributions are (in whole or in part) to be put;
(d) the criteria by reference to which the value of a contribution made by the prescribed means is to be determined.
(4) The regulations may make provision as to circumstances in which
(a) except in the case of a contribution to which subsection (3) (b) applies, the person making the contribution (the contributor) must state the form in which he will make the contribution;
(b) the contribution may not be made by compliance with the relevant requirements if it is made by the prescribed means;
(c) the contribution may not be made by the prescribed means if it is made by compliance with the relevant requirements;
(d) a contribution must not be made.
(5) The prescribed means are
(a) the payment of a sum the amount and terms of payment of which are determined in accordance with criteria published by the local planning authority for the purposes of subsection (3) (d),
(b) the provision of a benefit in kind the value of which is so determined, or
(c) a combination of such payment and provision.
(6) The relevant requirements are such requirements relating to the development or use as are
(a) prescribed for the purposes of this section, and
(b) included as part of the terms of the contribution,
and may include a requirement to make a payment of a sum.
(7) Development plan document must be construed in accordance with section 36(3).'.[Keith Hill.]
Brought up, and read the First time.
'(1A) Both the payments under section 106 (planning obligations) and the planning contributions will be in the form of the planning condition and therefore both procedures will have the same provisions providing for an appeal to the Secretary of State.'.
'but this cannot be wider in scope than the current "necessity test" as currently applied in the section 106 procedure.'.
'(which where this includes the provisions of a benefit in kind this may not be a higher value than the alternative monetary payment).'.
'(3A) The criteria referred to in subsection (3) (d) may amongst other matters set out
(a) the charge per dwelling;
(b) the charge per square metre of all other developments;
(c) the minimum size of development to which the charge will apply;
(d) whether different charges will apply to "greenfield" and "brownfield" land;
(e) the percentage of affordable housing that must be applied to each development;
(f) that there will not be any R.P.I. escalator attached to these charges.'.
'(8) Provided the planning authority have complied with all the regulations relating to planning contributions the Secretary of State may not cause a plan to be rejected or revised on the grounds that the authority have set the charge at too low a level.'.
'(8) Provision may be made to enable periodic adjustment of the criteria mentioned in section (Planning contribution) (3) (d).But nothing in these regulations will permit any change in the quantum of the planning contribution unless there is a revision of the development plan document in subsection (7) above and any such change will be the subject to full community involvement.'.
'(8) The Secretary of State will fully reimburse any local planning authority where it can demonstrate that there is a net cost to them in preparing these regulations.'.