Stephen Williams: We will try to address that in writing. I am not privy to the exact nature of the deliberations that took place, but I do know that there

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were a lot of deliberations and issues to consider and, obviously, this was not the only decision in which Ministers and the Department were involved. They are involved in quite a lot of planning-related decisions, so that might be part of the reason. I can comment only on the considerations of the Secretary of State and the Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government, my hon. Friend the Member for Great Yarmouth (Brandon Lewis), who is responsible for planning. Obviously, I cannot comment on the actions of the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham as the acquiring authority.

The only thing I will say, as a former councillor, group leader and member of a planning committee—I believe the hon. Member for Hammersmith has occupied similar positions—is that the issue was the subject of a planning decision and a planning agreement. Of course, they are not made on political grounds; they are made on a quasi-judicial basis, with councillors from all parties and none deciding the merits of a particular application. It is important to put that on record.

Mr Slaughter: That would be a good point were it not for the fact that the supplementary planning document was found to be unlawful by judicial review.

Stephen Williams: The hon. Gentleman has now put that point on record.

The Government believe that compulsory purchase orders are an important tool for local authorities and other public bodies to use as a means of assembling the land needed to help deliver social and economic change. As with the Shepherd’s Bush compulsory purchase order, the powers should be exercised only when there is a compelling case, in the public interest, sufficiently to justify interfering with the human rights of those who have an interest in the land. The Secretary of State and Ministers consider each case on its own merits and take a balanced view between the intentions of the acquiring authority and the concerns of those affected.

As the hon. Gentleman indicated, we are concerned today with the Shepherd’s Bush market area. The confirmed compulsory purchase order authorises the compulsory purchase of lands in the area for the purpose of facilitating the redevelopment and regeneration of the market and adjoining area to contribute towards significant social, economic and environmental improvements. A number of people objected to the proposal, but in confirming the CPO, Ministers concluded that there is a compelling

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case in the public interest to justify sufficiently the interference with the human rights of those affected with an interest in the land.

We found: that the purpose of the CPO—to contribute to the achievement of the promotion and improvement of the economic, social and environment well-being of the area—would be achieved; that the purpose for which the land was being compulsorily acquired was in accordance with the adopted planning framework for the area; that sufficient safeguards were in place to protect traders and shopkeepers through a series of reserved matters planning conditions, requiring the review and approval of the council, and through the section 106 agreement that can be enforced by the council to ensure that a development in line with the adopted planning framework will be delivered; and that in addition to accommodating existing traders, which is the substantial point that the hon. Gentleman made, the development and safeguards contained within schedules 15 and 16 of the section 106 agreement would encourage new operators with similar qualitative and diverse offering to establish their businesses in the area.

Mr Slaughter: The Minister mentions reserved matters, but the reality is that as far as the market is concerned, the tenancy association, which is very ably led by James Horada and Peter Wheeler, has found that the developer is trying to renege on all those obligations, and the market stallholders, who are not the subject of this debate, are having exactly the same problems under their new landlord as the shopkeepers and other owners of the sites.

Stephen Williams: I thank the hon. Gentleman for that intervention. Again, his remarks will appear on the record.

In conclusion, as I said at the outset, the hon. Gentleman’s detailed questions and observations will be addressed through correspondence by me or a colleague. Planning Ministers disagreed with the inspector’s recommendation and concluded that there was a compelling case, in the public interest, to justify the order for all the reasons I have outlined. The development will address the much-needed regeneration of the market and adjoining area.

Question put and agreed to.

2.57 pm

House adjourned.