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Sustainable Development

Volume 516: debated on Thursday 21 October 2010

12. What steps his Department is taking to encourage locally supported sustainable development through the planning system. (18471)

The coalition programme for government included a commitment to a radical reform of the planning system to give neighbourhoods far more ability to determine the shape of the places in which their residents live. Our proposals to decentralise planning back to neighbourhoods will be set out in the localism Bill, which will be published shortly.

I thank the Minister for his answer. Following recent discussions in my Salisbury constituency, particularly with individuals in Winterslow who have created parish plans, will the Minister comment on the role parish plans will play in influencing sustainable development in the planning process?

My hon. Friend asks a very important question. I think neighbourhoods, parish councils and town councils, which intimately understand their areas, have been cut out of the planning process for too long. We will introduce rights in the localism Bill for neighbourhood plans to have statutory force so that people can actually have a say in how their communities develop.

Bromborough Dock landfill site in my constituency desperately needs sustainable development. The Forestry Commission had a plan to turn it into a publicly accessible park, but that plan has now been withdrawn, following the abolition of the Northwest Regional Development Agency. What advice can the Minister give me about how to turn this former industrial site into a beautiful green riverside park, given the actions of his Government?

I am very happy to take forward the hon. Lady’s suggestion, and I will follow it up after this. I will make my team of civil servants available to her, to see whether we can help her with any barriers that might be preventing that from happening.