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Planning Appeals

Volume 507: debated on Tuesday 9 March 2010

1. Under what exceptional circumstances planning inspectors may consider representations on planning appeals made after the deadline for submissions has passed. (320996)

Information can be accepted after the deadline when there has been a material change in circumstances or when there are demonstrably good reasons for the deadline to have been missed.

I am grateful to the Minister for that response and for his earlier telephone call to my office. He will be aware that, in a planning appeal in Innsworth in my constituency, although the public inquiry date has passed and the inquiry has finished, a change of details has been submitted by the developer. A rather confusing letter from the Secretary of State’s office purports to reopen the inquiry, but surely that cannot be an open and transparent way of dealing with planning applications. Will the Minister look into this issue further?

The material change of circumstances in that case was the offer from the developer, after the inquiry, to increase the proportion of affordable housing in the proposals—something that I would have assumed that the hon. Gentleman welcomes. Clearly, it would have been wrong if the Secretary of State had not then sought the views of the parties at the inquiry to that change in the proposals. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has acted openly and done the right thing in seeking those views. He is currently considering the case carefully.