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Volume 405: debated on Friday 16 May 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what guidelines he issues on independent scrutiny of local planning authorities in the area of conditions attached to planning applications. [114089]

None. Conditions are imposed at the discretion of local planning authorities to enable planning permission to be granted. The applicant has a right of appeal to my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister where a local planning authority grants permission subject to conditions.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of recent trends in the length of public planning inquiries. [112357]

A recent analysis of inquiries held in the last five years revealed that 88 per cent' were scheduled to last for up to one week, 8 per cent, between one and two weeks, 2 per cent, between two and three weeks. The remaining 2 per cent, were scheduled to last four weeks or more. The analysis covered all planning inquiries (ie both delegated appeals and Secretary of State cases).Figures for actual sitting days are not available but would be unlikely to vary significantly from the estimate.There has been no significant change in trends relating to the duration of inquiries during this period. Despite increasing appeal numbers the proportion proceeding by the inquiry method has actually fallen in the last four years.