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1.33 pm

Mr. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (Cotswold): I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Speaker : With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

New clause 19—Local Development Plan (No. 2)—

'(1) The local planning authority must prepare and maintain a plan to be known as their local development plan ("the Plan") which will contain a number of Local Development Documents ("the Documents"), each of which will cover a different subject matter as specified in the plan.
(2) The Plan must specify—
(a) the Documents;
(b) the subject matter and geographical area to which each of the Documents is to relate;
(c) which Documents (if any) are to be prepared jointly with one or more other local planning authorities which will be treated the same as if one single authority had prepared it;
(d) any matter or area in respect of which the authority have agreed (or propose to agree) to the constitution of a joint committee under section 28;
(e) such other matters as are prescribed.
(3) When preparing the Plan or the Documents under (1) and (2) above the local planning authority must have regard to—
(a) national policies and advice contained in guidance issued by the Secretary of State;
(b) the RSS for the region in which the area of the authority is situated, if the area is outside Greater London;
(c) the spatial development strategy if the authority are a London borough or if any part of the authority's area adjoins Greater London;
(d) the RSS for any region which adjoins the area of the authority;
(e) the Wales Spatial Plan if any part of the authority's area adjoins Wales;
(f) the Plan of any adjoining Local Planning Authority together with any of its documents which may be relevant;
(g) the community strategy prepared by the authority;
(h) the community strategy for any other authority whose area comprises any part of the area of the local planning authority;
(i) any other local development document which has been adopted by the authority;
(j) the resources likely to be available for implementing the proposals in the Documents;
(4) The "Documents" must include inter alia—
(a) a statement of those matters in which the County Council has a role;
(b) a Document for each of the larger settlements as detailed in the "plan".

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(c) a Document for any other settlement which may be designated in the plan;
(d) a Document detailing the matters relating to the Authority's policies on planning contributions and the provisions of social housing;
(e) a "document" containing policies for areas where there are specific planning designations, such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks;
(f) a Document detailing how land use, sustainability and economic regeneration are to be managed;
(g) such other matters as the Secretary of State prescribes.
(5) The local planning authority must—
(a) prepare the Plan and the Documents in accordance with such other requirements as are prescribed;
(b) submit the Plan and the Documents to the Secretary of State at such time as is prescribed or as the Secretary of State (in a particular case) directs;
(c) at that time send a copy of the Plan and the Documents to the RPB or (if the authority are a London borough) to the Mayor of London;
(d) prepare, publish and have regard to a Statement of Community Involvement when preparing the Plan and the Documents as negotiated by section 4 of the Local Government Act 2000 (c. 22).
(6) The local planning authority may withdraw the Plan or the Documents at any time before submission to the Secretary of State in accordance with (5)(b).
(7) The Secretary of State may direct the local planning authority to make such amendments to the Plan or the Documents as he thinks appropriate.
(8) A direction under subsection (7) above must contain the Secretary of State's reasons for giving it.
(9) The Secretary of State may make regulations as to the following matters—
(a) publicity about the Plan and the Documents;
(b) making the Plan and the Documents available for inspection by the public;
(c) requirements and timetable to be met for the purpose of bringing the Plan and the Documents into effect, which may not exceed six months.
(10) The local planning authority must revise their local development plan and Documents—
(a) at such time as they consider appropriate, which may not be later than five years from the date the plan came into effect;
(b) when directed to do so by the Secretary of State.
(11) Subsections (2) to (10) above apply to the revision of a plan or documents as they apply to the preparation of the Plan or the Documents.
(12) The local planning authority must submit their local development plan and documents in their entirety to the Secretary of State for independent examination at the times and in the manner laid down in subsections (5) and (10).
(13) But the authority must not submit such a plan or document unless—
(a) they have complied with any relevant requirements contained in regulations under this Part, and
(b) they are satisfied that they are ready for independent examination.
(14) The authority must also send to the Secretary of State (in addition to the development plan) such other documents (or copies of documents) and such information as is prescribed.
(15) The examination must be carried out by a person appointed by the Secretary of State to be known as "the Independent Inspector."

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(16) The purpose of an independent examination is to determine in respect of the local development plan and documents—
(a) whether they satisfy the requirements in this section;
(b) whether they are sound in all material aspects;
(c) whether all or part of the Plan and the Documents need to be subject of the examination.
(17) Any person who makes representations seeking to change a development Plan or Documents must (if he so requests) be given the opportunity to submit a summary of his representations in writing to the Independent Inspector who may decline to hear either in writing or orally the evidence if he has reason to believe that it is a repetition of evidence which he has already received from another person.
(18) The independent inspector must within three months unless otherwise directed by the Secretary of State—
(a) make recommendations;
(b) give reasons for the recommendations.
(19) The local planning authority must within one month publish the recommendations made under subsection (18) which must be either confirmed by the Secretary of State or modified and published with reasons within the prescribed period under subsection (9)(c).
(20) The local planning authority must comply with directions given by the Secretary of State under subsections (2), (4), (6), (7), (9), (10), (12), (14), (18) and (19).'.

Amendment No. 39, in page 8, line 12, leave out Clause 14.

Amendment No. 40, in page 9, line 16 [Clause 15], leave out 'scheme' and insert 'plan'.

Amendment No. 41, in page 9, line 25, leave out Clause 16.

Amendment No. 42, in page 10, line 22 [Clause 17], leave out subsection (3).

Amendment No. 43, in page 10, line 34, leave out Clause 18.

Amendment No. 27, in page 10, line 40 [Clause 18], at end insert—

'(aa) the housing strategy prepared by the authority under the Local Government Act;'.

Amendment No. 44, in page 11, line 27, leave out Clause 19.

Amendment No. 45, in page 12, line 8, leave out Clause 20.

Amendment No. 46, in page 13, line 4, leave out Clause 21.

Amendment No. 47, in page 13, line 14, leave out Clause 22.

Amendment No. 83, in page 13, line 35 [Clause 23], at end insert—

'(c) any recommendations made by the person appointed to carry out the independent examination of the document.'.

Amendment No. 84, in page 13, line 36 [Clause 23], leave out subsections (2) to (4).

Amendment No. 48, in page 14, line 27 [Clause 24], leave out 'document' and insert 'plan'.

Amendment No. 49, in page 14, line 29 [Clause 24], leave out 'document' and insert 'plan'.

Amendment No. 50, in page 14, line 31, leave out Clause 25.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: I am very pleased to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, on this group of new clauses and

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amendments. For the convenience of the House, may I say straight away that new clause 10 has been supplemented by new clause 19? When I tabled new clause 10, I realised that it could be improved, so I shall speak to the revised version—new clause 19—but I do not say that new clause 19 could not be improved as well. I would very much welcome the Minister and his civil servants attempting to improve it, if he were minded to accept it. We shall come to that a little later, but although I suspect that he is not minded to accept it. Nevertheless, I have carefully studied the Minister's remarks in Committee during the previous Session, and I have redrafted my proposals in light of the criticisms that he made then, so I hope that new clause 19 will meet with his full approval and that he will accept it. [Interruption.] I live in hope. It is better to travel in hope than to arrive.

New clause 19 deals with the whole local plan-making procedure, and the success or failure of the Bill rests entirely on whether the regional and local plan-making processes actually work. I shall not say anything about the regional plan-making process because it is not relevant to new clause 19. Suffice it to say that the Opposition oppose the regional plan-making process. I want to deal with the local plan-making process, which is hideously complicated. Indeed, I have good reason to believe that even the Minister and his civil servants do not fully carry at the top of their heads exactly how it works.

New clause 19, which I have drafted, would combine eight or nine clauses, depending on which we include and which we exclude, so halving the number of pages. Moreover, this is not just a simple question of consolidation; new clause 19 would make it far easier for local authorities, businesses and, indeed, all those who get involved in the planning process to understand how the local plan-making process worked in one simple new clause. I shall state why I think that it is superior to the Government's eight or nine clauses.

The Government's stated wish is to produce a simpler, fairer and more transparent planning system. The local plan-making process contained in part 2—clauses 12 to 36—is highly complex. Instead of all the various categories contained in the Bill—the local development schemes, the local development documents, the local development frameworks, the local development plan documents and the joint development documents and schemes, and so on—all with their own provisions for commencement, revision, community involvement, appeals and independent inspections, I propose a simplification that uses just two categories: local plans and local documents. The Bill deals with those two categories. Again, instead of six different tiers and frameworks, I have two—much simpler than the Bill.

New clause 19 would provide county councils with a statutory role—something that the Government have consistently failed to do. Unfortunately, we will probably not reach new clause 23, which I also tabled. Nevertheless, a statutory role for county councils is important because we believe that county councils, in some cases centuries old, have built up a huge bank of knowledge that could be lost to the planning process if

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we are not careful. We cannot even consider an amendment that would make county councils statutory consultees in the new regional strategy documents.

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