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Planning and Development (Exmoor)

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 11 December 2008

The Petition of residents in the vicinity of Exmoor National Park and others,

Declares that the authorities of Exmoor National Park wish to demolish Blackpits Bungalow, a perfectly habitable three bedroom home, built for local working people, together with the out-buildings, roadside fences, and banks; and further declares that the purchase of the bungalow (for £238,000) and the demolition of the property, do not represent good use of public funds.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to take steps to prevent the demolition of Blackpits Bungalow.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mr. Ian Liddell-Grainger, Official Report, 22 October 2008; Vol. 481, c. 415 .]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government:

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government is aware that the Exmoor National Park Authority is to form a working group to discuss the future of the site. At present no planning application has been submitted for the site, the determination of which is primarily the responsibility of the National Park as local planning authority, and the Secretary of State cannot comment on the merits or otherwise of any application, or prospective application.

The Secretary of State’s her information is that the proposed demolition is part of a wider set of proposals being considered by the National Park Authority, which also includes the construction of affordable housing in another, more sustainable, location. She also understands that it is the Authority's intention that the package as a whole will reduce the overall environmental impact on the National Park, and add to the supply of affordable housing, without additional drain on public funds. However, she has no knowledge of the details which will determine whether these intentions are achievable, and it is for the Authority to consider those factors in the first instance.

The Secretary of State may decide to call-in an application for her own determination where she considers that it raises issues of more than local importance, but her policy is to be very selective about this. As it is possible that the instant proposal may, at some future date, come within her jurisdiction, it would be inappropriate to make further comment on the matter raised in the petition.