HC Deb 17 May 1993 vol 225 cc6-7
5. Mr. Llwyd

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many planning decisions by Welsh planning authorities he has called in during the last two years; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gwilym Jones


Mr. Llwyd

Given that no planning permission has been revoked by the Welsh Office in the past two years, is it not time to confirm the view of many senior planning officers in Wales that they are not being given sufficient monitoring and assistance by the Welsh Office as they try to uphold the structure plans? When is the Welsh Office likely to introduce an element of flexibility into rural planning so that villages are allowed to grow naturally and not die?

Mr. Jones

Revocation is a seldom-used power. Normally we would expect planning decisions to be made properly by local planning authorities. That is why the power is so seldom used. I assure the hon. Gentleman that we look for an appropriate approach in all structure plans to cover rural areas.

Mr. Jonathan Evans

Is my hon. Friend aware that the decision of our right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales to allow Radnorshire district council to decide the wind farm project at Bryntitli near Rhayader in my constituency has been warmly welcomed by my constituents? Is it not a further illustration of the fact that local democracy demands that, within the overall planning framework, decisions of that nature should be decided at local level?

Mr. Jones

I am happy to acknowledge my hon. Friend's warm welcome for our right hon. Friend's decision.

Mr. Roy Hughes

Why do the Welsh Office and the Secretary of State so persistently overrule local planning authorities, as they did over Browning Ferris, which was a despicable decision after a contrary unanimous decision by Newport borough council? Will the Minister reconsider the Welsh Office's attitude to such matters—which are better decided locally, as his hon. Friend the Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Evans) has just advised him?

Mr. Jones

A the hon. Gentleman knows, that matter was considered fully and I cannot make any further comment.