§ Mr. Lamborn
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will call in for his own decision the planning application by Southwark borough council to build a new town hall.
§ Mr. Shore
No. I have carefully considered this planning application which has been referred to me in accordance with normal practice as a departure from the development plan. It has been for me to decide whether the planning issue is of national or regional significance or of essentially local concern. I have decided that the latter is the case, and that the application should therefore continue to be dealt with by the local authority. This would be without prejudice to any consideration which I might need to give in connection with any compulsory purchase order which might be sought.
As to the financial aspects of this proposal, which have aroused much comment, I can only reaffirm what my noble Friend said in another place in response to a recent question on 8 February, namely, that the project is not subject to individual Government financial approval since it comes within the locally determined sector, and that in this sector local authorities are free to determine their own priorities, and are responsible to their own electors.—[Vol. 398, c. 826.]