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Planning Permission: Urban Areas

Volume 476: debated on Thursday 22 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent discussions she has had on the merits of removing the need test from Planning Policy Statement 6; and what assessment she has made of the likely economic effect on town centres of ending the need test. (206383)

Our response to the consultation on the Planning White Paper Planning for a Sustainable Future in November 2007 said that we have had a positive and constructive discussions with key stakeholders about our proposal to improve the effectiveness of town centre policy in Planning Policy Statement 6 (PPS6).

It remains our intention to revise PPS6 and replace the need and impact tests with a new test for assessing the impact of proposals outside town centres. The new test will have a strong town centre-first policy focus, promoting competition and improving consumer choice, avoiding the unintended effects of the current need test.

We will be publishing our proposals to revise PPS6 for consultation in the summer. This will include an assessment of the economic impacts of the proposals on town centres.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to make changes to town centre first planning policy; and if she will make a statement. (206385)

We remain committed to the town centre first policy. The Government’s proposals for improving the effectiveness of town centre policy are set out in the Planning White Paper—Planning for a Sustainable Future (May 2007). To implement these proposals we intend to consult on revisions to Planning Policy Statement 6 (PPS6) in the summer. PPS6 only applies in England.