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PLANNING ENQUIRY REPORT ON NORTH CORNWALL PUBLISHED

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The report of the special enquiry into planning in North Cornwall, published tomorrow, contains many important less...
The report of the special enquiry into planning in North Cornwall, published tomorrow, contains many important lessons, Planning Minister David Curry said yesterday.

The enquiry, undertaken by Miss Audrey Lees, was designed to restore public confidence in the operation of the planning system in North Cornwall which had been undermined by numerous complaints about particular planning decisions.

In a written answer to a Parliamentary Question from David Nicholson MP (Taunton), Mr Curry said: 'Miss Lees concludes that many of the complaints about the District Council were justified. North Cornwall have granted planning permission for sporadic developments in the open countryside, on an inconsistent basis, contrary to national planning guidance and the structure plan. Some councillors seem to have also favoured certain applicants, often local people, because of their personal circumstances.

'Miss Lees suggests that the practices and procedures of the Council in publicising, assessing and deciding planning applications should be improved. She recommends that priority is given to completing the local plan to provide the basis for consistent decisions in the future.

'I am seeing North Cornwall District Councillors today to emphasise the Government's concern and to seek a positive comitment from the Council. I know that some improvements have been made already but I will be seeking a full response to Miss Lees recommendations when the Council have considered her report.

'The report also provides a valuable reminder of the need for all local planning authorities to follow proper procedures when dealing with applications for planning permission. I have arranged for each authority to recieve a copy.'

A further planning application for a new dwelling in the open countryside at Week St Mary in North Cornwall, contrary to the structure plan, has been called-in for the Secretary of State's decision.

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