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High Technology Site, Bickenhill

Volume 77: debated on Friday 26 April 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will delay the public inquiries proposed for planning applications concerning the high technology site in Bickenhill until the final determination of the west midlands structure plan and the Marston green and Bickenhill district plan; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply 25 April 1985, c. 550]: There has been no change in the Government's policy towards green belt. There continues to be a strong presumption against development in the green belt and only in exceptional circumstances will development be permitted. The Government's commitment to the preservation of the green belt is set out in Circular 14/84. If the proposal in the "West Midlands Structure Plan; Proposals for Alteration for new technology development in the general location of the M6/M42 Motorway Interchange", is approved by the Secretary of State, then this will be an approval to the principle of development taking place in this vicinity. The precise location of the development will be determined through other elements of the planning system.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has as to the progress that has been made with the process of preparing the Marston green and Bickenhill district plan for submission to him for determination.

[pursuant to his reply, 25 April 1985, c. 550]: The Marston green and Bickenhill local plan has been prepared in draft by West Midlands county council. It is the county council who are responsible for processing it through to adoption. Although my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has reserve powers to call in a local plan for his own determination these are rarely exercised.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his policy, arising from his review of the west midlands structure plan, concerning the release of green belt land in the west midlands; and if he will make a statement on his proposed application of this policy regarding the precise location of release of green belt land for a high-technology site in Bickenhill.

[pursuant to his answer, 25 April 1985, c. 550]: No. It would not be reasonable to postpone the public inquiries already arranged to start on 14 May to await decisions on the structure and local plans. I am writing to my hon. Friend about the relationship between the proposals for development and the plans.