Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Lord Dixon-Smith: I thank the Minister for his explanation. On Amendment No. 440, if an application is consistent with the unitary development plan and if that plan is in compliance with the spatial development strategy, it seems slightly peculiar that it should be necessary for the mayor to have a power to call in and direct refusal, given that the plans are all supposed to be consistent with each other.

With regard to Amendment No. 442 and the issue of St. Paul's, I entirely accept that the amendment is inadequate, particularly with regard to the sidelines from the Thames. But the City is unusual. There are at present 24 developments either under construction or proposed which are in excess of 30,000 square metres--the limit at present suggested. It may be considered that the height that we are proposing is unreasonable, but in the draft regulations we have a combination of height and size. Size is a significant criteria for the major finance houses and can be achieved without going for the sort of heights we suggest should be necessary.

I shall consider the Minister's response carefully. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Viscount St. Davids): I must point out that if Amendment No. 438 is agreed to, I cannot call Amendments Nos. 438A to 442 inclusive.

[Amendment No. 438 not moved.]

9 p.m.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 438A:


Page 147, line 31, at end insert (", and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed,")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 439 and 440 not moved.]

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 440A:


Page 147, line 43, leave out ("(1C) In subsection (1B)") and insert ("and in the preceding provisions of this subsection")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 440B:


Page 147, line 44, at end insert--
("(1C) In determining whether to exercise any power under subsection (1B) to direct a local planning authority to refuse an application, the Mayor of London shall have regard to--
(a) the development plan, and
(b) the spatial development strategy prepared and published under Part VIII of the Greater London Authority Act 1999,
so far as material to the application."")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 441 and 442 not moved.]

27 Jul 1999 : Column 1477

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 443:


Page 147, line 44, at end insert--
("( ) In section 320 (local inquiries) after subsection (2) there shall be inserted--
"(3) Where an inquiry is held by virtue of this section and the Mayor of London has directed the local planning authority to refuse an application for planning permission the subject of the inquiry, the Mayor shall be deemed to be a party for the purposes of subsections (4) and (5) of section 250 of the Local Government Act 1972."").

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 443 is directed at the matter of costs. The amendment amends the Town and Country Planning Act to allow the Secretary of State to award the costs of a planning inquiry either for or against the mayor.

It is possible to award costs against an authority if it appears at an inquiry and is held either to have caused the inquiry to take place on unreasonable grounds or produces an unreasonable procedure at the inquiry. But it is possible for the mayor to direct refusal of a planning permission and then not appear subsequently at an inquiry that might arise as a result of that refusal. In that situation, as I understand it, the law would not permit costs to be awarded against him, even though he was the cause of the inquiry. We feel that is unreasonable and Amendment No. 443 is designed to remove that anomaly. It is a perfectly reasonable amendment. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: There is no disagreement in principle about Amendment No. 443. It would, on the face of the Bill, make it possible for the mayor to be liable for the costs of inquiries. We are committed to ensuring that that happens.

We clearly spelt out in the GLA White Paper that the mayor should face an award of costs if it was found, by an inspector or the Secretary of State, that he or she had used their power of direction inappropriately. In Clause 275(9) new subsection (1B)(c) provides the power to make an order to modify the provisions of the relevant Act in order to achieve this. However, we have no objection in principle to securing this on the face of the Bill and would like to take this amendment away to consider it. With that undertaking I hope the noble Lord feels able to withdraw this amendment.

Lord Dixon-Smith: I am grateful to the noble Baroness for her reply. With the assurance she has given, I am happy to beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 444 not moved.]

Clause 275, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 276 [Monitoring and data collection]:

[Amendment Nos. 445 and 446 not moved.]

The Deputy Chairman of Committees: Before calling Amendment No. 446A I must point out to the Committee that if it is agreed to I cannot call Amendments Nos. 447, 447A or 448.

27 Jul 1999 : Column 1478

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 446A:


Page 148, line 9, leave out subsections (2) to (7)

The noble Lord said: This amendment simply removes the provisions in Clause 276, subsections (2) to (7) which provided for the establishment of a monitoring scheme intended to provide the mayor with the pan-London information needed to draw up the spatial development strategy and to monitor its implementation.

Following discussion of these provisions in another place, my honourable friend the Minister for London undertook to bring forward amendments replacing the provisions in subsections (2) to (7) with broader arrangements governing the collection of data in partnership with the London local authorities. Following detailed consultation with the Association of London Government, we brought forward Amendments No. 455AXB to 455E, which I do not feel we will reach tonight but which deal with these items. I hope the amendments meet the bulk of the concerns reflected in the amendments tabled by the noble Baronesses, Lady Hamwee and Lady Miller, and provide a consensual approach to meeting the monitoring costs agreed between the mayor and the London boroughs.

Because of their broader nature, it may be helpful to discuss the substance of this when we reach the appropriate amendments in the context of mayoral research powers. For the time being, I ask the Committee to agree to remove these subsections. I beg to move.

Baroness Hamwee: I appreciate that these matters are dealt with under the research provisions later in the amendments that the Government have tabled. I am also aware that there is some controversy around how the matter will be dealt with. I wish however to ask a particular question on this clause and that is whether losing subsections (2) to (7) will mean that the mayor, who has a duty to monitor, will still have the power to operate a scheme should there be a situation in which it would be right for the mayor to do so.

Lord Whitty: This amendment does not remove any powers from the mayor to have a scheme. It removes the duty provided in these powers.

Lord Dixon-Smith: My Amendment No. 448 is grouped with Amendment No. 446. I shall study with care what the Minister has said and, in the meantime, will not move my amendment when we get to it.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 276, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 277 [Functional bodies to have regard to the strategy]:

[Amendments Nos. 449 and 450 not moved.]

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 450NA:


Page 148, line 31, at end insert ("notwithstanding any provision of the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998")

The noble Baroness said: Clause 277 requires each of the functional bodies to have regard to the spatial development strategy and I have no quarrel with that.

27 Jul 1999 : Column 1479

I have tabled the amendment in order, I hope, to obtain confirmation from the Minister that the London Development Agency, along with the other bodies, must have regard to the SDS in view of the slightly inconclusive debates that we had during the passage of the Regional Development Agencies Act 1988 as to the hierarchy of the different considerations. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: Clause 277 requires all functional bodies, including the London Development Agency, to have regard to the SDS in exercising any function. The amendment would provide that this obligation is,


    "notwithstanding any provision of the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998".

However, I do not believe that there is anything in that Act to prevent the LDA, or any other functional body, from having regard to the SDS. So the amendment is unnecessary. It could even be misleading in implying that there is some conflict between the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998 and the Bill. I hope that the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, will feel able to withdraw the amendment.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page