asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on whether he intends to introduce a town and country planning general development amendment order.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has for introducing a new general development order.
We shall be publishing a consultation paper shortly containing details of our proposals for amending the general development order.
I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. Will he give an assurance that the GDO as proposed by the Government will reduce the number of private dwellings in need of minimal adaptations that are required to go through the cumbersome and time-consuming planning process?
:I think that I can give my hon. Friend that assurance. We shall obviously be mindful of those who are anxious that we exclude certain areas. For example, just as when the previous Government introduced their suggestions, we shall not allow houses to be split into two without planning permission, because that could have considerable consequences in our inner cities.
When considering the protection to be granted under the new GDO, will my hon. Friend take into account the problems of areas such as the national parks—those of Exmoor are especially current—and the conservation areas, so that there is both conservation and development?
Our consultation paper is taking rather longer than we had hoped, exactly for the reason stated by my hon. Friend. We hope to exempt the areas to which he has just referred.
Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that if the GDO is the same as the one introduced by the right hon. Member for Stepney and Poplar (Mr. Shore) in the previous Parliament, it will be widely welcomed, provided that it excludes areas of outstanding natural beauty and conservation areas?
I am sure that there would be a consensus of opinion with regard to what my hon. Friend has said. However, I add the proviso that, rather than seek to emulate the previous Government, we want to bring forward something that is far better.