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Lord Lucas: My Lords, I entirely support what my noble friend said. I ask one additional question: if the Bill goes through as it is, although the Government said that they want to keep outline planning permission, will the Bill give them the ability to abolish it at any time by secondary legislation?

Lord Marlesford: My Lords, I strongly support this amendment. If the clause remains the whole planning system will be much woollier. Any planning application should be much more specific than is allowed for in this provision. It is quite wrong to allow people to require the local authority to do the work and fill in the gaps. Frankly, if the local authority is swamped with planning applications on which it has a lot of work to do it will be much less able to devote the proper care and attention to specific planning applications.

Lord Rooker: My Lords, there have been some changes in this part of the Bill. The Government have already announced that they have decided to retain outline planning permission. Subject to other moves and discussions, it may be that one would not go to the wall over this matter. In keeping outline planning permission, we consider that statements of development principles could

25 Mar 2004 : Column 895

provide a valuable addition to the tools available in the planning process. They would enable anyone to obtain an early indication from a local planning authority whether a proposed development would be accepted in principle. They will also identify the kind of issues a developer would need to consider before submitting an application. The developer would then have a clearer idea whether to think about making the planning application. The statement of development principles is not a planning application: hence the need not to provide the kind of detail needed for a planning application. That is why we do not consider that these other details should be mandatory, where the local authority can pile in for a list of other information it wants from a developer. The idea of this statement is that it would be flexible enough for simple and complex questions to be asked, to get an answer back, and to decide whether to proceed with the application. There would be a fee system anyway, so it would not be a question of a gumming-up of the system. We said that we would consult on the issue later this year, if this issue remains in the Bill at the end of the day when it becomes an Act.

If the amendment to leave out the clause is carried, then outline planning would be kept anyway. We are not going to proceed down the route of abolishing outline planning permission. I hope that the general thrust of the question by the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, is answered, because we are keeping outline planning and therefore the status quo is maintained.

Weaponry is the wrong word. This is another tool that the planning authorities may wish to use, but they may not wish to use it. In due course, it is not something over which we would go to the stake.

Lord Marlesford: My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, am I not right in saying that the provision for informal consultation on a planning proposal already exists, and has existed for a long time? Does that not do the job?

Lord Rooker: My Lords, indeed that may beg the question why, now that we are keeping outline planning permission, anyone would want to use this tool. It may be that local authorities say, "Outline planning is maintained. We can already undergo early discussions". That would probably be behind closed doors, of course. The statement of development principles must be a much more open and transparent issue, about giving detailed, principled answers about a piece of land.

Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, I would describe the Minister's description of his own clause in the words of W.S. Gilbert, as "modified rapture". I was being consulted by my Chief Whip, but my noble friend told me that he said that we would consult on all of this if this provision remains in the Bill.

The Minister said that local authorities could "pile in for a list of information" but, as we have discovered on many other subjects, they would have to be reasonable in doing so. I do not think, therefore, that the point is one which goes very far.

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The Government have now decided not to go ahead with repealing outline permissions. I must say that those two amendments towards the end of today's list are the first time in many years when my name heads the amendment and that of the Minister is tacked on afterwards: not even parliamentary counsel could find fault with "leave out line so-and-so". Now that they are not going ahead at this point in that way, it must be right to put the whole lot into a pot and to consider it all together.

The Minister has convinced me that I should beg leave to withdraw my amendment, in order that the clause can be removed from the Bill. I hope that the noble Lord will be moving that in a moment, so I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Hanningfield moved Amendment No. 29:

    Leave out Clause 42.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I was very grateful for the Minister's reply. He has given me the very reason why we should take the view of the House on removing the entire clause. I think that everyone has said that the provision should be considered later when we consider the future of outline planning permissions. I beg to move.

5.45 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 29) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 107; Not-Contents, 87.

Division No. 8


Addington, L.
Alderdice, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Baker of Dorking, L.
Barker, B.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Belstead, L.
Biffen, L.
Blatch, B.
Bradshaw, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brittan of Spennithorne, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Burnham, L.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chorley, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Cobbold, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L. [Teller]
Craigavon, V.
Cumberlege, B.
Deedes, L.
Denham, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dundee, E.
Eccles of Moulton, B.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elles, B.
Elton, L.
Falkland, V.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Fookes, B.
Fowler, L.
Geddes, L.
Glentoran, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanham, B.
Hanningfield, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Higgins, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Howe, E.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jopling, L.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Kingsland, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Liverpool, E.
Lucas, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Maddock, B.
Mancroft, L.
Marlesford, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Northover, B.
O'Cathain, B.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Peel, E.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Rawlings, B.
Reay, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rees, L.
Renton, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Roper, L.
Rotherwick, L.
St John of Fawsley, L.
Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Selsdon, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shrewsbury, E.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Swinfen, L.
Taylor of Warwick, L.
Tebbit, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Tope, L.
Tugendhat, L.
Walmsley, B.
Weatherill, L.
Wilcox, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Windlesham, L.


Acton, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Amos, B. (Lord President of the Council)
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Blackstone, B.
Bragg, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Chandos, V.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Crawley, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Desai, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Grenfell, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Judd, L.
Layard, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Mitchell, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Rooker, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sewel, L.
Sheldon, L.
Simon, V.
Slim, V.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Temple-Morris, L.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Triesman, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Warner, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

25 Mar 2004 : Column 897

25 Mar 2004 : Column 898

5.56 p.m.

Clause 43 [Applications for planning permission and certain consents]:

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