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Harlequins planning decision not to be called in by government

Published: 4 January 2021

Harlequins Harlequins

An application to redevelop Harlequins Shopping Centre will not be decided by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Exeter City Council approved plans to turn the Centre into co-living apartments, along with a hotel and other facilities, back in October.

However, requests were then made to the government calling on the Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick, to make the final decision because of the impact on the historic environment.

Now the Secretary of State has said he is satisfied that in this case it was appropriate that the decision was made at local level.

Cllr Emma Morse, Exeter City Council’s Lead Councillor for Planning, said she was pleased that the Secretary of State had decided not to get involved.

“We always believe that local decisions should be made by those who understand the local communities the most – local authorities via the democratic planning process.

“I’m glad that the government has deferred to the council and accepted our original decision for this application to go ahead,” she added.   

In deciding not to call the application in, the government said: “The Secretary of State has carefully considered this case against call-in policy, as set out in the Written Ministerial Statement by Nick Boles on 26 October 2012.  The policy makes it clear that the power to call in a case will only be used very selectively.

“The Government is committed to give more power to councils and communities to make their own decisions on planning issues, and believes planning decisions should be made at the local level wherever possible.”

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