To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he intends to replace the Town and Country Planning (Development Plans) (England) Direction 1981; and if he will make a statement.
We have today sent to all local planning authorities in England a copy of the Town and Country Planning Development Plans (England) Direction 1992 which comes into effect on 28 February. This replaces the 1981 direction.The new direction will require authorities to advertise in a local newspaper all applications not in accordance with the development plan and which they do not propose to refuse. This gives the local community the opportunity to comment on and object to such applications; and to ask my right hon. Friend to call them in.Authorities must also report to my right hon. Friend all such applications which are for major development or which otherwise threaten important policies in the plan. This will enable my right hon. Friend to be aware of significant divergences from the development plan and to consider whether he wishes to call in such applications for his determination. It remains his policy that in general applications will be called in only where planning issues of more than local importance are involved.My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales is issuing a similar direction to Welsh local planning authorities.