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Visual Arts Facility

Volume 448: debated on Monday 3 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what involvement her Department had in the decision to grant planning consent for the Visual Arts Facility at Colchester. (76466)

The Department carefully considered all the planning issues raised about the application for a Visual Arts Facility in Colchester. In reaching the decision not to call it in for the Secretary of State's determination, the main matters relevant to this decision were her policies:

(i) which promote high quality, inclusive design in terms of function and impact, which takes the opportunities available for improving the character and quality of an area (PPS1: Delivering Sustainable Development);

(ii) to promote the vitality and viability of town centres by focusing development in such centres and encouraging a wide range of services in a good environment, accessible to all (PPS6: Planning for Town Centres);

(iii) that planning permission is not refused if development can be subject to conditions that will prevent damaging impacts on wildlife habitats or other important physical features, or if other material factors are sufficient to override nature conservation considerations (PPS9: Biodiversity and Geological Conservation);

(iv) to actively manage the pattern of urban growth to make the fullest use of public transport; focus major generators of travel demand in city, town and district centres and near to major public transport interchanges; and locate day-to-day facilities in local centres, to be accessible by walking or cycling (PPG13: Transport);

(v) for the protection of the wider historic environment, including scheduled ancient monuments, World Heritage Sites, historic parks and gardens, historic battlefields, buildings of local importance and trees in conservation areas (PPG15: Planning and the Historic Environment);

(vi) for the protection, enhancement and preservation of sites of archaeological interest and of their settings (PPG16: Archaeology and Planning).

Having considered carefully these and other relevant planning issues raised by the proposal together with all representations received, and having regard to her policy on call in, the Secretary of State concluded on balance that intervention would not be justified as there was insufficient conflict with national planning policies on the above matters to warrant calling in the application for her own determination.