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Planning applications in Richmond Park

Volume 700: debated on Monday 6 September 2021

The petition of the residents of the United Kingdom,

Declares that localist planning principles must be applied to the former Stag Brewery planning application, GLA references 4172, 4172a & 4172b and the Homebase, Manor Road planning application, GLA reference 4795; further that weakening the planning decisions made by local authorities at local level risks allowing unsuitable development, including architecturally displeasing development, environmentally damaging development, and development that is not primarily designed to meet the need of the local community; further that the former Stag Brewery planning application cannot be seen in isolation from the Homebase, Manor Road application, the partial closure of Hammersmith Bridge and other relevant issues; further that GLA must institute a holistic approach by assessing the former Stag Brewery application and then reviewing the Homebase, Manor Road application accordingly.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government, and in particular the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government of the United Kingdom, to meet with Sarah Olney, MP for Richmond Park, to discuss the implications of the former Stag Brewery planning application and the Homebase, Manor Road planning application.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Sarah Olney, Official Report, 22 July 2021; Vol. 699, c. 1241.]


Observations from The Minister for Housing (Christopher Pincher):

The Government are committed to give more power to councils and communities to make their own decisions on planning issues and believe planning decisions should be made at the local level wherever possible.

With regard to the former Stag Brewery planning application, GLA references 4172, 4172a & 4172b, a resolution was reached at the GLA’s representation hearing that the planning applications be refused.

In respect of the Homebase, Manor Road planning application, GLA reference 4795, this application was considered against the call-in policy which is set out in the written ministerial statement made on 26 October 2012 by Nick Boles. After carefully considering the issues raised, it was decided that the intervention of Ministers would not be justified, and the application therefore remains for determination by the Mayor of London.

The Government are concerned that all local authorities should administer the planning system with the utmost propriety. However, local authorities act independently of central Government. Ministers, even the Prime Minister, have no remit to intervene in the day-to-day affairs of local authorities, except where specific provision has been made in an Act of Parliament. Local authorities are accountable for their actions to their electorate and must act within their statutory powers. Therefore, I cannot comment on local authorities’—including the GLA—handling of this matter.

Due to the Secretary of State’s quasi-judicial role in the planning system, it would not be appropriate to meet to discuss individual planning applications, particularly in circumstances where they remain undetermined by a local planning authority, or where proposals may be revisited and returned to in the future.