Nick Boles: My hon. Friend makes a good point. Of course, many small developments can add up to a very substantial increase in pressure on infrastructure. That is why a plan is so important. Even if some developments count as, to use the jargon, “windfall developments” that happen outside the plan, the plan nevertheless needs to anticipate the normal level of windfall developments, based on their historical levels and the opportunities for further such developments, and it needs to take them into account in working out whether the local infrastructure, of whatever kind, is able to cope and, if not, how it is going to be upgraded at the right time to be able to do so. That is the whole point of a local plan. That is why we do not have a system of just

22 Nov 2013 : Column 1560

sitting back and waiting for proposals to come forward; we must anticipate proposals, the likely level of development and then make plans to support that.

Finally, let me assure my hon. Friend—and, perhaps more particularly, through him, his constituents—that there will be a further opportunity for his constituents to make their views known about the draft plans being submitted to the inspector at the examination of the plans by that inspector. It is called “examination in public” for a reason—the public are able to attend and make submissions—and the inspector will want to see that the draft plan has been consulted on widely and that all the objections have been heard, with the evidence to back them up presented to that inspector.

The story is not over; the gate is not closed. There must be further consultation before any plan can be adopted. I know that my hon. Friend, who is tireless in representing his constituents, will be ensuring that—whether it be through him or through local councillors and other bodies—his constituents are heard in those examinations. We are a democracy. Yes, we accept the need for development, but we believe that communities should be able to decide how and where development takes place. It is only through consultation that that can happen.

Question put and agreed to.

3.1 pm

House adjourned.