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Regional Assemblies/Government

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 22 May 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will publish the results of the soundings exercise on the level of interest in each English region in holding a referendum about establishing an elected regional assembly at 16 May; and how many of the responses received in each region were in favour of holding a referendum. [115110]

Responses to the soundings exercise are currently being logged and analysed. An announcement will be made shortly as to the region(s) that will proceed towards holding referendums first. At the same time, the Government will publish a summary of the responses received and a breakdown of the responses in favour of and against holding a referendum by region and type of organisation.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to his Answer of 19 March 2003, Official Report, column 795W, on regional governance, if he will provide a total cost figure for the soundings exercise on the level of interest in holding referendums about establishing elected regional assemblies, updated to the end of the response period on 16 May. [115117]

The soundings document and an update to reflect amendments made to the Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Act during its passage through Parliament have been produced in-house, from the design and printing to its dissemination through the Government's distribution centre at Wetherby. They are also available online and respondents have been able to email their views if they so wish. Production and distribution (including postage) has cost less than £2,500 to date.There have been some staff costs in recording and considering responses to the soundings exercise.Individuals and organisations may have incurred costs in preparing their responses.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether responsibility for greenbelt under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill will lie with the regional spatial strategy. [114344]

Once the general extent of the Green Belt has been defined it should be altered only in exceptional circumstances. Within that context, the regional spatial strategy will set the regional and sub-regional parameters for any Green Belt review. Local Development Frameworks will then define any detailed changes required to Green Belt boundaries.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what mechanism will exist in (a) the new Regional Spatial Strategy and (b) the new Local Development Strategy to (i) safeguard strategic transport routes and (ii) avoid planning blight. [114349]

Transport routes will be safeguarded in Development Plan Documents rather than Regional Spatial Strategies. Local authorities will need to be realistic about the prospects for the infrastructure and sensitive to the implications of blight.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the time scale will be for revising (a) regional and (b) local development scheme and spatial strategy. [114392]

The timetable for revising Regional Spatial Strategies and Local Development Documents will vary considerably depending on the nature of the document. The timetable for the former will be agreed between the Regional Planning Body and the Government Office. Each local planning authority will be required to prepare a Local Development Scheme which will set out the timetable for the preparation of Local Development Documents. The Scheme must be submitted to the Secretary of State who may direct amendments to it as he thinks appropriate.