Sixth Standing Committee

on Statutory Instruments, &c.


Wednesday 1 February 1989




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The Committee consisted of the following Members:

Chairman: Sir Giles Shaw

Aspinwall, Mr. Jack (Wansdyke)

Bendall, Mr. Vivian (Ilford, North)

Blunkett, Mr. David (Sheffield, Brightside)

Bonsor, Sir Nicholas (Upminster)

Carlisle, Mr. John (Luton, North)

Chapman, Mr. Sydney (Chipping Barnet)

Chope, Mr. Christopher (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment)

Dykes, Mr. Hugh (Harrow, East)

French, Mr. Douglas (Gloucester)

Gardiner, Mr. George (Reigate)

Ground, Mr. Patrick (Feltham and Heston)

Hamilton, Mr. Neil (Tatton)

Hardy, Mr. Peter (Wentworth)

Madden, Mr. Max (Bradford, West)

Patchett, Mr. Terry (Barnsley, East)

Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey (Coventry, North-West)

Steinberg, Mr. Gerry (City of Durham)

Taylor, Mr. Matthew (Truro)

Ms E C Samson, Committee Clerk

2 3 Sixth Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c. Wednesday 1 February 1989

[SIR GILES SHAW in the Chair]

Draft Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications and Deemed Applications) Regulations 1989

10.30 am

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Christopher Chope): I beg to move, That the Committee has considered the draft Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications and Deemed Applications) Regulations 1989. Before I say a few words about the regulations, may I welcome you to the Chair, Sir Giles, and congratulate you on what I believe is the first occasion on which you have presided over a Standing Committee on a statutory instrument. I also welcome the hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Blunkett) on the first occasion on which he has served on as Opposition Front Bench spokesman in such a Committee.

Mr. John Carlisle (Luton, North): What about the Government Whip?

Mr. Chope: I am reminded that this is also the first occasion on which my hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Chapman) has served on the Front Bench in such proceedings. The regulations are laid under powers in section 87 of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980. They amend and consolidate the 1983 planning fees regulations, which were amended in 1985 and 1987 with the approval of the House and another place. It is now time to consolidate the 1985 and 1987 amendements to the 1983 regulations, and the 1989 regulations are intended to achieve that objective. The main change introduced in the regulations is to provide for a general increase in the level of fees for planning applications. We have also taken the opportunity to make some minor changes to the fees scheme in the light of our further experience of its operation and to make some clarifications to the text of the regulations. It is not necessary to detain the Committee with details. Hon. Members will be familiar with the 4 regulations, which I hope will command the Committee's support.

Mr. David Blunkett (Sheffield, Brightside): I cannot think of anyone else to congratulate on being here for the first time, so I shall get straight on with the business. We shall not vote against the regulations. As Conservative Members know, although in 1983 we were worried about the introduction of charging it is now an established part of funding the difficult and costly process of dealing with planning applications. The proposals before us are welcomed by the majority of local authorities. We are anxious not to establish the principle that all funding for planning applications should be dealt with by charging, and rumours circulated in the media lead us to fear that the way in which planning appeals are dealt with in future might make life difficult for local authorities. It should be as easy as possible for people to submit reasonable planning applications, which should be dealt with on their merits by local authorities. There should be a reasonable appeals process which, although properly funded in terms of its inspectorate, does not preclude people from making applications because they believe that they or the local authority will incur considerable costs. We welcome the extension of the inspectorate and hope that it will keep pace with the number of applications. We should like the Government to change the way in which they deal with their inspectorate plans in order to bring about the efficiency gains that they have encouraged local authorities to introduce. We welcome the improved efficiency in the local authority planning framework and hope that it will continue. I am pleased to say that we shall not detain the Committee unduly, unless Conservative Members wish to speak.

The Chairman: I thank members of the Committee for their courtesy to me and to the hon. Members for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Blunkett) and for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Chapman).

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved, That the Committee has considered the draft Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications and Deemed Applications) Regulations 1989.

Committee rose at Twenty-six minutes to Eleven o'clock.


Shaw, Sir Giles (Chairman)

Bendall, Mr.

Blunkett, Mr.

Carlisle, Mr. John

Chapman, Mr.

Chope, Mr.

Dykes, Mr.

French, Mr.

Gardiner, Mr.

Ground, Mr.

Patchett, Mr.

Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey

Steinberg, Mr.