To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations his Department has received from Manchester's city planning officer about concerns over circular 26/92; what reply he is sending; what action he is taking; and if he will make a statement.
The city planning officer has written to my Department following the demolition of the Tommy Ducks public house. That building was not listed as being of architectural or historic interest, nor was it in a conservation area; consents under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 were therefore not required. The demolition of certain other types of building is subject to planning control under the Planning and Compensation Act 1991, section 13. Whether the demolition is subject to control depends on whether the building is either a dwelling house, or a building adjoining a dwelling house. The chief planning officer's view is that Government guidance on the interpretation of the legislation is unclear. I do not share that view, but it is inevitable that central guidance cannot deal with every eventuality and that cases must be considered individually by local planning authorities. The council concluded in this case that the building demolished was not one which fell within the category of buildings subject to planning control; and it would not be right for me to comment on that decision. My officials have replied to the chief planning officer along these lines.