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Hansard 27 July: Column 153 ...
Hansard 27 July: Column 153

The change of use of shops into funeral parlours without the need for planning permission was again challenged in the commons.

Oliver Letwin, Conservative MP for West Dorset, was given permission to introduce a 10-minute rule Bill which would remove funeral parlours from class A1 of the Town and Country Planning (Use Class) Order 1987. Class A1 allows shops and other premises to be converted into a different kind of business without planning permission, so long as the the transformation was to a business listed in class A1.

Mr Letwin said his Bill arose from the same perplexity - mentioned last month in an adjournment debate by Stephen Pound, Labour MP for Ealing North - where constituents living next door to 'an entirely innocuous shop' went to bed to discover it was about to be turned into a funeral parlour.

Of his constituent Mr Letwin said: 'She thought that she had the usual remedies available to her: that she could go to the district council and ask that her case be put. She expected that the funeral parlour proprietor would then be adjudicated in the ordinary way'.

But that was not the case. Class A1 allowed the transformation of premises into any of a 'long list of kinds of business premises to be achieved without planning permission'.

Mr Letwin said: 'I am a profound proponent and supporter of the order in general, and there is a desperate need to allow businesses to be flexible and change their premises and for different kinds of businesses to emerge on our high streets. But funeral parlours are not quite like other forms of shop. They bear rather more resemblance to other things, which are not included in that list and which cause concern to constituents. Hence, they have to go through the planning procedure.

'This modest Bill is entirely intended to bring to the attention of officials and ministers responsible the urgent need to remove paragraph (f) from class A1'.

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