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Regional Planning Bodies

Volume 407: debated on Monday 23 June 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to his Answer of 21 May 2003, Official Report, column 877W, under what statute English Regional Chambers have been designated as Regional Planning Bodies; what is intended by the condition provided they operate in a sufficiently inclusive way; who will be consulted on changes from Regional Planning Guidance to Regional Spatial Strategies (RSS); what community involvement there will be; and what right of appeal consultees will have over the content of the RSS. [120883]

All the English Regional Chambers have decided to take on regional planning responsibilities. Under clause 2 of the new Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill it is proposed that my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister should be able to give directions recognising such regional planning bodies. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's policy as set out in the Planning Green Paper, "Planning: delivering a fundamental change", published in December 2001, is that these bodies should be representative of key regional interests and not just local authorities. There will be public consultation on the draft regulations prescribing which regional planning guidance should become regional spatial strategies (RSSs). Future revisions to RSSs will be subject to extensive public consultation and engagement with the safeguard of an examination in public. Anybody who is aggrieved by a draft RSS revision will be able to make representations to my right hon. the Deputy Prime Minister.