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Weedon Bec

Volume 599: debated on Monday 14 September 2015

19. If he will make an assessment of the performance of the Planning Inspectorate in applying planning guidelines in recent appeals in Weedon Bec. (901314)

Obviously, I cannot comment on specific planning appeals. However, the planning inspector will decide an appeal in accordance with the development plan and national planning policy, considering the evidence presented by all the parties in each specific case individually. The local decision is upheld in the majority of cases, with about two thirds of appeals being dismissed.

Although I understand that the Minister does not want to comment on the two planning appeals in Weedon, in which the same information was fed in only for there to be two different results, with one being allowed and one dismissed, will he let the Planning Inspectorate know that the people of Weedon in my constituency and the local council do not appreciate its varied decisions? They would also appreciate it if he could offer the Planning Inspectorate some strong guidance on implementing localism.

I appreciate my hon. Friend’s point on behalf of his community. There were two applications. I understand his point about their similarity, but every appeal has its own unique character, by definition. The planning inspectors need to consider them as individual cases. However, I appreciate his point about having consistent decisions.

In Northamptonshire, the difference in decisions on appeal for very similar applications is remarkable. Is it not time we took a serious look at the Planning Inspectorate and did something about it?

My hon. Friend is fighting hard for his constituents and planning is an emotive issue that people care passionately about. It shapes the future of the environments in which we live. Every planning application, no matter how silly it might seem, will have unique characteristics and will therefore potentially lead to different decisions.