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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Ivor Caplin): The business process review of the six principal service museums has been completed. The review confirmed the value of the museums and recommended their continued support by the MOD. The review also recommended a number of measures to improve communication between the museums and their relevant sponsor branch, to provide assurance of value for money and to facilitate longer term planning. These will be taken forward by the Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (personnel) in conjunction with the three service sponsor branches.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Ivor Caplin): The 2003 defence estate stewardship report is published today. This report outlines the continuing progress that the Ministry of Defence is making in implementing the estate strategy that was launched in 2000.
The Ministry of Defence is continually examining ways of improving military capability and value for money for the taxpayer. As part of this approach, we want to keep the size and location of our bases under review. Building on initial work that has been done to identify the MOD's core sites, the Department is now undertaking further work to examine where estate rationalisation may be possible. This work is consistent with the Department's contribution to the Government's independent review of public sector rationalisationthe "Lyons Review".
The work now underway is looking at consolidating defence activity at a smaller number of more densely utilised locations in order to achieve the optimum use of land and facilities. This on-going review will necessarily involve the examination of a number of proposals for the potential collocation and relocation of units. It will also take into account existing relocation studies that have already been announced. It is important to recognise that any options that are considered will need to meet operational requirements as well as representing value for money.
The Department is currently at an early stage of this wider review and each proposal that emerges from this work will be subject to full consultation in the normal way. This consultation is essential to determine whether the options under consideration are viable in the widest sense, for instance, in relation to transport, education, health and the future use of potential surplus MOD sites.
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The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Tessa Jowell): I am today laying before Parliament a draft of the guidance to be issued by me under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003. I am also placing copies in the Libraries of both Houses, the Vote Office, and the Printed Paper Office. Copies will be made available to the public on the DCMS website at:
The guidance makes clear our determination to enable licensing authorities and the police to bring the minority of badly run premises into line with the best. The police and other responsible authorities should make full use of existing, and new powers under the Act, proactively tackling alcohol-related crime and disorder and badly run premises.
In carrying out their functions under the Act, licensing authorities have a clear responsibility to promote the prevention of crime and disorder, and the prevention of public nuisance, as well as promote public safety, and protect children from harm.
The Minister for Housing and Planning (Keith Hill): On 15 December I issued a statement noting that I had received significant representations from organisations representing housebuilders and other major developers indicating their concerns about the potential removal from planning legislation of outline planning permission and its effect on proposed developments. I said that I would consider further the removal of the provision from the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill that abolishes outline planning permission.
My statement said that if outline planning permission were to be retained this could only be on the basis that it provided the opportunity for greater community involvement and a level of information which will enable local authorities to assess all the significant environmental impacts. I indicated my willingness to consider proposals on the scope and extent of the further information needed to achieve these objectives.
Discussions have been held with the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment and representatives of developers. We have received letters from the British Property Federation (BPF) and the House Builders Federation (HBF) indicating their willingness for their members to provide sufficient information with applications for outline planning permission to satisfy our objectives. The information would meet the requirements of environmental impact assessments and would comprise elements to be included
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in a design statement. These elements would be massing, layout, relationship to public space, density (as defined by units for residential developments or floorspace for commercial developments), building heights, access and movements, landscape strategy, mix of use and response to context. The level of information provided would be appropriate to the complexity of the scheme. We see this information as providing the foundation for greater community involvement.
Following the discussions with developers and the receipt of the letters from the BPF and the HBF I am pleased to announce that the Government are now prepared to retain outline planning permission as part of
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the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. We will table an amendment to achieve this for consideration on 25 March during third reading in the House of Lords of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill.
We propose to use the standard application form proposed in the Bill as the means for the submission of the additional information to be required to accompany an application for outline planning permission. The details would be set out in secondary legislation, in an amendment to the General Permitted Development Order and in guidance accompanying the standard application form. We aim to consult on this package in June.