Clause 10

Crossrail Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:15 am ar 22 Tachwedd 2007.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Planning: general

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

I beg to move amendment No. 11, in clause 10, page 7, line 7, at end insert—

‘(c) the development falls within the limits of deviation for the scheduled works.’.

The Minister has often said that I might anticipate what he is about to say, but he might equally anticipate what I am about to say. Clauses 10 to 15 deal with the planning issues that affect Crossrail. The general presumption is that planning permission will be granted unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Clause 10 provides for the deemed planning permission to exist under part III of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Subsection (1) provides that planning permission be granted for the development except where limited by subsection (2). The amendment would put a further restriction on the process. At line 7, it would insert new paragraph (c), which states that

“the development falls within the limits of deviation for the scheduled works.”

The effect of subsections (1) and (2) is that any land stated for the use of the Crossrail development will be deemed to have planning permission. Why should it be any land? The amendment would impose a reasonable restriction on the Secretary of State or the nominated undertaker.

As I have said before, there is a deemed route and a schedule of works. There are agreed limitations of deviation to that route. As with previous amendments, I contend that the limits of deviation are a fair restriction on those powers. By adding that the development must fall within those limits of deviation, the amendment would have the effect of deeming planning permission for developments on the deemed route and land outside the route that is within the deemed limits of deviation, but not on land beyond that. In my opinion, that is fair.

As the Minister will remember, we have gone through the arguments as to why there ought to be some restriction on the powers, while still giving flexibility. I think that the amendment satisfies both those tests. I trust that he will find it reasonable and fair.

Photo of Tom Harris Tom Harris Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

I stand reluctantly to disappoint the hon. Gentleman once again. The amendment would require separate planning permission to be sought for any works authorised by the Bill that were not scheduled works and which fell outside the limits of deviation. In practice, that would affect a wide category of works—for example, alterations to existing stations, electrification and signalling works on the existing  network, and works to mitigate settlement impacts. All those things often take place outside the limits of deviation of works.

Requiring separate planning permission to be sought for such works would undermine the very purpose of the Bill, which is to obtain deemed planning permission for the works reasonably required to enable Crossrail to be built, where there has been appropriate environmental assessment. The amendment would expose the project to the risk of severe delays as local authorities considered applications for such works under the 1990 Act regime. That would include the possibility of public inquiries. Works other than scheduled works are, like the scheduled works themselves, subject to the detailed consent regime set out in schedule 7. The Government believe that that provides for the appropriate scrutiny.

Photo of Mark Field Mark Field Ceidwadwyr, Cities of London and Westminster

I am very curious about this issue. Can the Minister give examples of any stations that are outside the limits of deviation? Given the importance of stations within a railway project, I cannot foresee any of the stations being outside the limits of deviation. That puts a coach and horses through his argument on the works in the vicinity of stations themselves.

Photo of Tom Harris Tom Harris Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

No doubt inspiration will descend upon me shortly, but I can reassure the hon. Gentleman—for example, on the issue of signalling works. Crossrail will result in a large step change in the number of through trains going through the capital city. That will have a knock-on effect on capacity demands elsewhere on the network. Therefore, if we are to accommodate the extra people travelling through the centre of the city, works might be needed at stations not associated with Crossrail.

We anticipate significant increases in passenger numbers throughout London. If we have to make changes to signalling, tracks or stations that do not lie directly within the Crossrail line, it is incumbent on us to ensure that we can carry out those improvements without imposing undue delay on the construction of Crossrail.

The Government believe that the Bill provides for the appropriate scrutiny of detailed matters, given the deemed planning permission that will have been given to these works.

It being twenty-five minutes past Ten o’clock, The Chairman adjourned the Committee without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Adjourned till this day at One o’clock.