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Planning Applications (Gwynedd)

Volume 22: debated on Monday 19 April 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will review his policy relating to the criteria used in the granting and withholding of planning permission in Gwynedd, with particular attention to the significance to be attached to the county structure plan, the role of the national parks committee and the views of local authorities.

No, Sir. Our policy is to determine every planning case on its merits, taking all material considerations into account and giving full weight to the factors mentioned by the hon. Member.

Is the Minister aware of the grave concern in Gwynedd at the way in which the Welsh Office has overruled the decisions of local planning authorities in several applications in the past few months, particularly in Harlech, Gaerwen and in Groeslon, and that more recently the Welsh Office nominees on the Snowdonia national park authority have swung a decision against the democratic will of the people on the relevant committees in Gwynedd? Does he agree that there is no point in having structure plans and local democratic planning authorities if nominees and the Welsh Office itself throw them overboard in this way?

Structure plans give very useful guidance, but they are not overriding. Circumstances change, and individual planning decisions must reflect that. There were more than 1,300 appeals against local authority decisions in the Principality last year. The people who make those appeals expect a public hearing, an independent hearing, and a decision by an inspector.

Does the Minister agree that too much of the land in Wales is under the jurisdiction of the national parks?