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Volume 401: debated on Tuesday 18 March 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister under what conditions planning applications for housing development will be exempted from his policy that all new developments should have densities of 30 dwellings per hectare or above. [82458]

Planning Policy Guidance Note 3 Housing (PPG3) sets out national policy for making the best use of land in housing developments. Local authorities are expected to avoid developments which make inefficient use of land (those of less than 30 dwellings per hectare net). Housing proposals will be considered within the framework provided b the development plan as well as tested against the policies in PPG3. If there were local circumstances which justified a departure from national policy these should be set out in the plan.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to allow councillors on planning committees to make public statements on planning applications. [82714]

The Local Government Act 2000 introduced a comprehensive ethical framework to local government. The framework required all authorities to adopt a local code of conduct, based on a national Model Code of Conduct, which members must give a written undertaking to observe. Ultimately it is for individual members to decide how the conduct themselves in carrying out official duties, including whether to make public statements, but if it is alleged that their conduct breaches the local code then they will be open to investigation by the Standards Board of England.