Page last updated at 20:43 GMT, Monday, 17 December 2012

Growth and Infrastructure Bill part one

MPs concluded report stage of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill on 17 December 2012.

The bill is intended to promote investment in infrastructure projects and reduce delays in the planning system.

Some infrastructure projects would be referred to the secretary of state, rather than local planning authorities, to be determined within a 12-month timetable.

Conservative former minister Nick Herbert sought to add to the bill a requirement for planners to consider infrastructure around new housing projects.

He agreed with the need for more housing but said the Localism Act stipulates that development should be "sustainable".

"The concern expressed to me by many of my constituents is that the level of local infrastructure at the moment is insufficient to support additional development which has already been undertaken," he said.

Mr Herbert's amendment was supported by a number of senior Conservative MPs including former chief whip Andrew Mitchell.

Planning Minister Nick Boles insisted that the government's national planning policy framework already told planning authorities to take such matters into consideration. He claimed it was a lack of money which actually caused the problems.

"Local authorities have not been in a position to adequately provide over the past 10, 20, 30 years the infrastructure improvements required to support housing development and other kinds of economic development," he said.

Labour's Roberta Blackman-Woods said her party continued to have concerns about the bill as it neared the end of its Common stages.

The shadow communities and local government minister said plans to allow larger extensions without planning permission had caused "huge outrage".

"The minister has given people up and down the country a licence to build completely inappropriate extensions that will have to be sorted out by a planning authority at some future date," she claimed.

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