Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Twenty-Seventh Report



APPENDIX

Memorandum from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING (INQUIRIES PROCEDURE) (ENGLAND) RULES 2000 (S.I. 2000/1624)

TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING APPEALS (DETERMINATION BY INSPECTORS) (INQUIRIES PROCEDURE) (ENGLAND) RULES (S.I. 2000/1625)

TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING (HEARINGS PROCEDURE) (ENGLAND) RULES 2000 (S.I. 2000/1626)

TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING (APPEALS) (WRITTEN REPRESENTATIONS PROCEDURE) (ENGLAND) REGULATIONS 2000 (S.I. 2000/1628)

  1. The Committee has asked for a Memorandum on the points set out below.

  2. "(1) Rule 2 of S.I. 2000./1624 defines "starting date" as the later of the two following dates-(a) the date of the Secretary of State's notice to the applicant and the local planning authority that he has received all the documents; (b) the date of the Secretary of State's notice informing the applicant and the authority that an inquiry is to be held. Identify the provision which requires the Secretary of State to give notice of receipt of the documents and explain why (a) has been included, identifying the provisions in which "starting date" means the date of that notice.

  Corresponding question in relation to S.I. 2000/1625, 1626 and 1628."

Inquiries and Hearings Rules

  3. There is no provision requiring the Secretary of State to give notice of receipt of the documents. In the Department's view this is unnecessary as the wording of the definition of "starting date" itself makes it clear that a written notice must be sent that he has received all the documents required to enable him to entertain the application or appeal, if paragraph (a) of the definition is to be relied upon. This is well precedented. The definition of "relevant date" in rule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (Inquiries Procedure) Rules 1992 (S.I. 1992/2038) and in rule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (Inquiries Procedure) Rules 1988 (S.I. 1988/944) is defined by reference to the "relevant notice". In those Rules there is no explicit requirement for the Secretary of State to give notice of his intention that an inquiry be held. These provisions have operated effectively in the past.

  4. Paragraph (a) will be the starting date in most cases. However, paragraph (b) will be the starting date under both the inquiries and the hearings rules where it has been decided that an appeal which was originally being dealt with under the hearings rules or the written representations regulations should instead be dealt with under the inquiries or hearings rules. In these cases a further starting date is necessary to initiate the procedure under the relevant rules. The Department refers the Committee to rule 8 of the Town and Country Planning (Hearings Procedure) (England) Rules 2000 and to regulation 3(3) of the Town and Country Planning (Appeals) (Written Representations Procedure) (England) Regulations 2000, which allow a change to be made in the procedure for an appeal.

  5. The Department has not identified all the provisions in which the starting date will be the date of the Secretary of State's notice that he has received all the documents required as this will apply in relation to all provisions in most cases as explained above.

Written Representations Regulations

  6. There is no provision requiring the Secretary of State to give notice of receipt of the documents. In the Department's view this is not necessary as the wording of the definition of "starting date " itself makes clear that a written notice must be sent that he has received all the documents required to enable him to entertain the appeal.

  7. The Department agrees that sub-paragraph (a) of the definition of starting date is otiose since the Secretary of State will only be able to give the appellant and the local planning authority written notice of receipt of the appeal under regulation 4 once he has received all the documents specified in article 23 of the Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995 (S.I. 1995/419). The Department considers that the documents specified in article 23 are the documents that the Secretary of State will require to enable him to entertain an appeal. The Department considers that there should be no practical problems arising from the provisions as they stand as the Secretary of State is required to send a notice under regulation 4 in all cases. Therefore, this will operate as the starting date and there should be no confusion.

  8. However, the Department notes the matter for the future.

  9.     "(2) Rule 6(6) of S.I. 2000/1624 provides that the Secretary of State may require a person, who has notified him of an intention to appear at an inquiry, to send: (a) 3 copies of their statement of case to him within 4 weeks of being so required; and (b) a copy of their statement of case to any statutory party. Explain why, unlike (a), no time limit is specified in (b).

  Corresponding question in relation to S.I. 2000/1625."

  10. It is intended that the time limit of 4 weeks should also apply to the obligation to provide a statement of case to any statutory party in both instruments. The Department considers that this will not cause any practical problems as the Secretary of State under rule 20 of the Secretary of State inquiries Rules and under rule 21 of the inspectors inquiries rules may allow further time for the local planning authority or the applicant/appellant to comment on another persons statement of case.

  11.       "(3) In rule 15(5) of S.I. 2000/1624, should the reference to paragraph (7) have been a reference to paragraph (9)? (compare rule 11(6) of S.I. 2000/1626)."

  12. The Department acknowledges that there is an inconsistency between the provisions referred to in rule 15(5) of S.I. 2000/1624 (and the corresponding provision in S.I. 2000/1625) and those referred to in rule 11(6) of S.I. 2000/1626. Again, the Department does not consider that any practical problems will arise from the provisions as they stand. Nevertheless, the Department will bear the point in mind for the future.

17th July 2000


 
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