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South Church Site, Stirling

Volume 24: debated on Wednesday 26 May 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to announce his decision on the planning application in respect of the South Church site, Stirling.

The decision as regards planning permission rests with the planning authority. My right hon. Friend's decision on the called-in application for listed building consent in part to demolish the church will be issued shortly.

I am grateful to the Minister for the information that the decision will be delivered shortly. Is he aware that this application has been with the historic buildings division of the Scottish Development Department since October and that there were no objections to it? Is he also aware that another application has been with the historic buildings division of the SDD for nearly two years, yet Stirling district council has still had no response? Will he awaken the civil servants in the historic buildings division and have them make some decisions for a change?

There were objections from the Scottish Civic Trust and the Scottish Georgian Society to the application for listed building consent. A procedure of written submissions was agreed with the applicant and the planning authority to expedite a decision. A decision within 14 weeks of advertising the procedure was suggested to a developer, and we hope that that target will be achieved.

In view of the difficulty of breaking through the red tape and bureaucracy of the Tory administration in the Scottish Office, might not an answer be forthcoming good and quick—this week—if Denis Thatcher were to write a "Dear George" letter in support of the application?

As on many other occasions, the burden of the hon. Gentleman's question is beneath contempt. We must bear in mind the rules of natural justice for applicants, planning authorities and objectors.