Planning Question

Many constituents have contacted me about the Planning Inspector’s decision to overturn the refusal of the application for Swanwick crematorium by AVBC. Regrettably, work on the crematorium has started.

I do think that it’s time we review the rules about inspectors’ powers to overturn local decisions, so I I took the opportunity in Parliament to ask Nick Boles, Planning Minister, about the matter.

Topical Questions – Planning – 7th April 2014

Nigel Mills MP: Work recently started on a new crematorium in my constituency that was turned down by the local council but approved by the Government inspector. Is it not time to look again at when inspectors should be allowed to overturn local decisions and make it the exception rather than the rule?

Nicholas Boles MP (Grantham and Stamford, Conservative): My hon. Friend has been a vocal advocate for his constituents on particular applications in his area. As a result, we have clarified in recent planning guidance the time that a plan can be deemed to be sufficiently advanced but not yet sound, in order to enable a local authority to make a decision to refuse an application even if it does not have a sound plan. We believe that that is a step forward that gives councils the ability to make those decisions in such circumstances.