Monday 31 March 2014
Communities and Local Government
South Stoke Plateau (Bath and North East Somerset)
The Humble Petition of the residents of the parish of South Stoke and its neighbouring parishes and wards of Bath and North East Somerset, here represented by South Stoke Parish Council and the South of Bath Alliance,
Sheweth that it is the intention of Bath and North East Somerset District Council’s Amended Core Strategy to develop the land known as the Odd Down/South Stoke Plateau with the building of 300 new homes.
Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your honourable House ask Her Majesty’s Government to recognise the importance of the openness of this land, which forms part of the Setting of the Bath World Heritage Site and of the Wansdyke Scheduled Ancient Monument, and to maintain the current Statutory protections of the Green Belt and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty designations for all of the South Stoke Plateau and so maintain the site free of development in perpetuity.
And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c—[Presented by Jacob Rees-Mogg, Official Report, 10 March 2014; Vol. 577, c. 147.]
Observations from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, received on Friday 28 March 2014:
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has made clear to all local authorities the role and importance of land designations such as Green Belt, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, World Heritage Site, and Scheduled Ancient Monument. The Government’s objectives for these areas are set out clearly in the National Planning Policy Framework, and all relevant policies in the Framework are a material consideration for a local authority which is working on its Local Plan or determining a planning application.
We have maintained strong protections for the Green Belt. The Framework makes it clear, for instance, that openness and permanence are essential characteristics of a Green Belt. This Government continue to attach great importance to Green Belt as a way to prevent sprawl and encroachment on open countryside, and as a vital “green lung” for many communities. Our abolition of top-down regional strategies removed the threat to Green Belt round many towns and cities.
His quasi-judicial role in the planning system prevents the Secretary of State—and other Ministers—intervening during the process of Plan-making. Draft Plans have to be submitted for formal examination by an independent planning inspector appointed by the Secretary of State, and a strict duty of impartiality is in place. Moreover, whatever Plan is adopted, it is possible that a development proposal affecting this area might come within the Secretary of State’s jurisdiction, so it would be inappropriate to comment on the issues raised in the petition.
The petitioners should also be aware that Green Belts are designated by local authorities, not law or central Government. Alterations to a Green Belt boundary can be made, but only in exceptional circumstances, using the Local Plan process. If any conflict of policy or planning priorities arises, it is for the local authority to weigh all the material considerations and decide what is right for the land in question. The petitioners should continue to ensure that their local authority is mindful of their hopes and concerns.
The Right of Anton Kainga to Remain in the UK
The Petition of residents of the UK,
Declares that the Petitioners believe that Anton Kainga, a tennis coach in Nottingham and an internationally qualified tennis professional from Malawi, who has exceptional talent and love for the sport of tennis, is unfairly being removed from the UK; further that the Petitioners believe that some members of the tennis club will suffer and will not be able to pursue their chosen career of becoming professional tennis players as a result of this decision; further that the Petitioners believe that during the 11 years he has lived in Great Britain Anton Kainga has inspired children and adults to love and play tennis; further that the Petitioners believe that Anton Kainga has inspired children, with one member of the tennis club being home-schooled so that he can commit to the game and play the qualification round of $10,000 tournaments and Anton Kainga needs to be at this child’s side for him to reach his full potential; further that the Petitioners believe that Anton Kainga is a mentor, best friend, second dad and invaluable coach to this child who understands not only this child’s tennis but his medical condition and further that the Petitioners believe that only Anton Kainga can guide this child towards his dream of a career as a professional tennis player.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Home Office to reconsider their decision to deport Anton Kainga and grant him the right to remain in the UK.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented on 4 March 2014; Official Report, Vol. 576, c. 9P.]
Observations from the Secretary of State for the Home Department:
Mr. Kainga voluntarily departed the UK on 6 March 2014. He did this whilst detained as an immigration offender, pending his enforced removal.
All and any outstanding representations made by Mr. Kainga and his legal representatives were responded to and substantively concluded prior to his departure. These included the matter of Mr. Kainga’s tennis tutorage, which was raised by a Member of the House and responded to by the Immigration and Security Minister on 6 March 2014.
The Government recognised that although Mr. Kainga had made a contribution with his tennis coaching, he had also exhausted all appeal rights within the United Kingdom and had no lawful basis to remain in the UK under the Immigration Rules, or on a discretionary basis outside of those rules.
The Government decided that his removal was appropriate, legitimate and conducive to the public good for the purposes of effective immigration control, and they maintain that decision.