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Town and Country Planning Act 1971

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49Procedure on reference to a Planning Inquiry Commission

(1)A reference to a Planning Inquiry Commission of a proposal that development should be carried out by or on behalf of a government department may be made at any time and a reference of any other matter mentioned in section 48 of this Act may be made at any time before, but not after, the determination of the relevant application referred under section 35 of this Act or the relevant appeal under section 36 of this Act or, as the case may be, the giving of the relevant direction under section 40 of this Act, notwithstanding that an inquiry or other hearing has been held into the proposal by a person appointed by any Minister for the purpose.

(2)Notice of the making of a reference to any such commission shall be published in the prescribed manner, and a copy of the notice shall be served on the local planning authority for the area in which it is proposed that the relevant development shall be carried out, and—

(a)in the case of an application for planning permission referred under section 35 of this Act or an appeal under section 36 of this Act, on the applicant and any person who has made representations relating to the subject matter of the application or appeal which the authority are required to take into account under section 29 (2) or (3) of this Act;

(b)in the case of a proposal that a direction should be given under section 40 of this Act with respect to any development, on the local authority or statutory undertakers applying for authorisation to carry out that development.

(3)A Planning Inquiry Commission shall, for the purpose of complying with section 48(6)(b) of this Act, hold a local inquiry; and they may hold such an inquiry, if they think it necessary for the proper discharge of their functions, notwithstanding that neither the applicant nor the local planning authority desire an opportunity of appearing and being heard.

(4)Where a Planning Inquiry Commission are to hold a local inquiry under subsection (3) of this section in connection with a matter referred to them, and it appears to the responsible Minister or Ministers, in the case of some other matter falling to be determined by a Minister of the Crown and required or authorised by an enactment other than this section to be the subject of a local inquiry, that the two matters are so far cognate that they should be considered together, he or, as the case may be, they may direct that the two inquiries be held concurrently or combined as one inquiry.

(5)An inquiry held by such a commission under this section shall be treated for the purposes of the Tribunals and Inquiries Act 1971 as one held by a Minister in pursuance of a duty imposed by a statutory provision.

(6)Subsections (2) to (5) of section 290 of the Local Government Act 1933 (evidence and costs at local inquiries) shall apply in relation to an inquiry held under subsection (3) of this section as they apply in relation to an inquiry caused to be held by a department under subsection (1) of that section, with the substitution for references to a department (other than the first reference in subsection (4)) of references to the responsible Minister or Ministers.

(7)Subject to the provisions of this section and to any directions given to them by the responsible Minister or Ministers, a Planning Inquiry Commission shall have power to regulate their own procedure.

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