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Greater London Authority Act 1999

Sections 334 to 338: The Mayor's spatial development strategy

515.Sections 334 to 338 of the Act contain provisions relating to the preparation of a spatial development strategy. The Act provides that the Mayor should produce a spatial development strategy setting out strategic planning policies for London. This will provide a framework for the boroughs' UDPs, and also set out the spatial context for the Mayor's other policies and strategies. The strategy will replace the current guidance issued by the Secretary of State. It is incorporated into the planning system established by the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, but it will not be a development plan within the meaning of that Act. Boroughs will remain the designated planning authorities for their areas.

516.Sections 334 to 337 set out the procedures for producing the strategy. These provisions are closely modelled on those for development plans contained in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The Secretary of State will be able to prescribe in regulations the matters to be covered in the strategy, and the inclusion of, for example, a key diagram. The strategy must deal only with matters of strategic importance to London. The Secretary of State may prescribe bodies or persons to be consulted by the Mayor before publishing his strategy in addition to those otherwise required to be consulted included in the Act.

517.Section 338 makes provision, as part of the consultation process, for holding a public examination of the Mayor's proposals. This is a procedure which applies at present for county structure plans and for regional planning guidance. In this case, however, the chairman or panel appointed by the Secretary of State to conduct the examination is responsible for deciding which matters need to covered, and will report their findings to the Mayor. The Secretary of State will be able to make regulations or publish guidance concerning the conduct of the examination. The intention is that the examination should provide a non-adversarial opportunity for the discussion and testing in public of the justification for selected policies and proposals; it will not be a hearing of objections, nor need it cover every aspect of the proposals.

518.Section 336 provides for the withdrawal of any proposed strategy. Because a draft strategy might well be a "material consideration" to be taken into account in a planning decision, the Act specifically provides for the formal withdrawal of a draft strategy by the Mayor at any time before it is published so that it will be clear it no longer can be a material consideration.

519.Section 337 covers conditions to be satisfied before publication of the strategy. The Mayor will not be able to publish his final strategy until he has considered representations made in response to the consultation exercise, received the report from the examination in public, and complied with any directions given by the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State is able to give directions requiring the modification of the Mayor's proposals where he may consider this necessary to secure consistency with national policies, including relevant planning policy guidance, or to avoid harm to the interests of areas outside Greater London.

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