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Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what procedures are open to residents to seek an independent determination of planning applications involving departure from the local plan where the local authority is both the land owner and the planning authority; and if he will make a statement. [131609]

The procedures dealing with development undertaken by local authorities are set out in the Town and Country Planning General Regulations 1992. Guidance on these regulations is given in Department of Environment (DOE) Circular 19/92. The general principle underlying these regulations is that the local planning authorities must make planning applications in the same way as any other person and must follow the same procedures as would be applicable to everyone.Any local authority development proposals or development on authority owned land which are not in accordance with the provisions of the local development plan, must also be notified to my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister so that he can consider whether to "call in" the application for his own determination. If consent is granted for a development undertaken by a local planning authority, the only recourse remaining to any aggrieved third party is to apply for judicial review if they believe the decision was wrong in law or to ask the Local Government Ombudsman to investigate if they consider there has been maladministration by the local authority.