Lords amendment: No. 90, in page 67, leave out from beginning of line 22 to end of line 1 on page 68 and insert—
(4) The powers conferred by subsections (1) to (3) of this section may be exercised by a district planning authority notwithstanding that they have not obtained a certificate under section 14 (5) or (7) of this Act, but subject to the other provisions of that section and to the provisions of sections 12 and 13 of this Act.
(5) Before adopting—
Mr. Deputy Speaker
With this we may also discuss Lords amendments Nos. 91, 94, 184 to 199, 241B, 241C, and 242 to 245.
§ Mr. Fox
The sole purpose of amendment No. 90 is to correct defects in the drafting of new section 15A. Amendment No. 90 makes it clear that, once a direction has been issued by the Secretary of State under that section, the local 367 planning authority should be able to proceed with the steps leading to the adoption of the local plan, or with the adoption of proposals for an alteration of the plan, in circumstances where the structure plan, unapproved at the time of direction, has been approved before the local plan or proposals can be adopted. The amendment also makes it clear that the authority's discretion to decide whether the plan should be adopted is unaffected by the Secretary of State's direction.
Amendments Nos. 91 to 94 make a number of minor, drafting corrections.
Amendments Nos. 184 and 185 brought three new proposals to the structure plan provisions of the Bill and in so doing amended another provision already in the Bill when it left this House. One of the matters with which the amendments are concerned is the form and content of structure plans and proposals for the alteration or repeal and replacement of approved structure plans. They follow upon and reinforce the effect of a change made at the end of last year to the regulations which govern the approval of structure plans. That, in turn, originated from a proposal in our White Paper dealing with central Government controls over local authorities.
Amendment No. 186 makes a useful alteration to the provisions of section 10(c) of the 1971 Act. It removes a provision giving the Secretary of State power to make development plan schemes. These are no longer needed because schemes are now in force throughout England and Wales. It gives the Secretary of State direct powers to amend development plan schemes in response to representations by the district council. This power will replace his existing powers of direction to the county planning authority.
Amendments Nos. 187 and 189 remove the requirement to prepare and publicise reports of surveys under sections 6 and 11 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 when local plans are prepared. They bring the local plans procedure into line with the changed procedure for structure plans which will result from amendment No. 184.
Amendment No. 188 completes the change in the responsibility for selecting action areas which is begun in amendment No. 184 by the repeal of section 368 75 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971. By virtue of these two provisions, action areas will not in future be indicated in the structure plan and the question whether there should be an action area or local plan will be decided entirely in the context of local plan making.
I come to amendments Nos. 189 and 192. The Government recognise that there will be occasions when a deposited local plan will be uncontroversial. It is even more likely that this could be the case in respect of proposals to alter, repeal or replace a local plan already adopted by the local planning authority or approved by the Secretary of State. It could well be a waste of public money to hold an inquiry in such cases.
I also recognise that there are a number of objectors to local plans who are quite prepared to rely on their written objections and do not want to take part in an inquiry. When everyone is content to rely on their written objections, useful savings of time and money can be made and at no cost to the rights of the individual. After considering the objections, the local planning authority must advertise any modifications that it proposes to make to its plan and there will be a further opportunity to make objections. The Council on Tribunals has been consulted and has said that it has no objections to the discretion being given to local authorities.
I turn now to Lords amendment No. 190. At Report stage in another place an amendment relating to the same matters as this amendment was moved by my noble Friend Lord Stanley of Alderley and was agreed. As my noble Friend Lord Bellwin pointed out then, and as Lord Stanley recognised, there were flaws in the drafting which called for correction. This amendment, which seeks to make a more general revision of section 14 of the 1971 Act, was agreed on Third Reading in another place.
Lords amendment No. 191 reflects the concern of the county planning authorities that section 14 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 as amended by paragraph 5(c) of schedule 11 to the Bill, would make the provisions of local plans override the provisions of the structure plan in all circumstances, even where the structure plan had been altered and the local plan was no longer in conformity 369 with it. We acknowledge that it would be wrong for the local plan to prevail in these circumstances.
Lords amendment No. 193 is a drafting amendment which became necessary because of amendments made to paragraph 6 of schedule 11 in Committee in this House.
Lords amendments Nos. 194 and 197 extend to Greater London two procedures relating to local plans. The first would require the GLC to certify local plans prepared by the London borough councils as being in general conformity with the structure plan, a measure which already applies outside London. The second amendment would extend to Greater London the measure in this Bill requiring the so-called "recertification" of operative local plans if the structure plan is subsequently approved or altered.
Lords amendment No. 198 makes alteration to the wording of paragraph 19 to schedule 16 of the Local Government Act 1972, which is consequential on the provisions of paragraph 3 of schedule 11 to this Bill.
Lords amendments Nos. 241B, 241C, 242, 243, 244 and 245 are all consequential.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Lords amendments Nos. 91 to 96 agreed to.